Residents of the Uncanny Valley

My dear friend PS (who you may remember from the Zoloft egg conversation) introduced me to the idea of the Uncanny Valley. Yes, Uncanny in this context is meant to imply all the Freudian. In his own words, the Uncanny Valley is populated by, “things that are a certain distance away from us that are sort of creepy and yet we’re comfortable with them because they remind us of something…a nostalgia, perhaps…like cabbage patch dolls=our childhood. They remind us of ourselves, of humans, but a little too much to be comfortable so they create a sort of revulsion.”

He contradicted himself, I see, but I hope it makes some sense, nonetheless. We’re comfortable with them yet they create a sort of revulsion, a kind that might make us a little nauseated but we aren’t totally turned off. Like the visual/psychological equivalent of whole milk, for many.

Things that Exist in the Uncanny Valley

Amanda Bynes

Puppets that are human-like (the cast of the now-defunct Avenue Q, par example)

PS: Toy Story — approaching uncanny

Baby chimps in diapers

Artistic renderings of babies, and even just infants themselves, seem to fall quickly into the Uncanny Valley. Have you ever seen that infomercial for the program Your Baby Can Read? Absolutely the most uncanny thing I’ve ever seen. One year olds READING! Terrifying.

www.yourbabycanread.com

Boy bands

Dolls that come to life (Twilight Zone’s Talking Tina, Chuckie)

Stephen Hawking, and other computers that read
The guy next to me in this computer lab just audibly farted…

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