Sunday, November 22, 2009

Uncany Valley explored

Remember the uncanny valley? Monkey's have it too:
New findings published in PNAS this September are putting some long-overdue experimental rigor behind the uncanny valley. Last spring at Princeton’s Neuroscience Institute, Asif Ghazanfar developed a computer model of a macaque monkey designed to interact with real macaques. But the monkeys weren’t fooled. Further testing revealed that, much to Ghazanfar’s surprise, his model was eliciting an uncanny valley response from the monkeys. It was the first time scientists had ever observed such a response in a non-human species.
The article is a pretty good history of the notion of the uncanny valley and various explanations for it. I didn't know Freud wrote about the uncanny, but it's not surprising.


Anonymous bill in minneapolis said...

The Nov. 2, 2009, issue of The New Yorker has an article "Robots that Care" by Jerome Groopman (subtitled: Medical Advances - Advances in technological therapy) on page 66. It discusses the 'uncanny valley' effect (page 72).

The term was coined by the Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori in 1970.

This effect is linked to Freud's 1919 essay "Das Unheimliche" ("The Uncanny") that explores the effect of objects that seem both familiar and alien, causing simutaneous attraction and repulsion.

4:45 AM, November 24, 2009  

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