Uncanny Valley
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Uncanny Valley
The unsettling sense that something is almost but not quite human...
Curated by Stephanie Lay
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Humans are broken - but that doesn't mean we need this.

Humans are broken - but that doesn't mean we need this. | Uncanny Valley | Scoop.it
I'm generally fond of chatting to press and media folks - I've done pieces for local, national and international BBC channels - but the one thing I've said all the way along is that I won't discuss the UVE relating to sex dolls. Today? It's in the first couple of lines of this article and it just makes me deeply uncomfortable and basically disgusted. So, to preempt any queries from the press - no, thanks. Find someone else to talk about this. 

I'm not quite sure whether it's the connotations of servitude, the promotion of unattainable body ideals or the squelchily repulsive practical elements that disgust me most, but the fact that there's a market for sex dolls makes me want to howl with despair and horror. 

It's abhorrent and wrong. Stop it. 
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The uncanny valley and virtual reality: where are we?

The uncanny valley and virtual reality: where are we? | Uncanny Valley | Scoop.it
BespokeVR
Stephanie Lay's insight:
It's a good question in more ways than one. I've tried out a few VR systems this year, and have started to think about research designs which could use VR to explore our perceptions of near-humans in more detail. This article is a really useful starting point.
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The Real Reason Clowns Creep Us Out

The Real Reason Clowns Creep Us Out | Uncanny Valley | Scoop.it
The “creepy clown crisis” is a case study in the science of the heebie-jeebies.
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This Neural Network Makes Faces From Scratch (And They're Terrifying)

This Neural Network Makes Faces From Scratch (And They're Terrifying) | Uncanny Valley | Scoop.it
Google's machine learning artist-in-residence trains a neural network to make portraitsand unleash demons on the Internet, apparently.
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Tactical Awareness: 100 100-word stories about the uneasy sense of living in the Uncanny Valley

Tactical Awareness: 100 100-word stories about the uneasy sense of living in the Uncanny Valley | Uncanny Valley | Scoop.it
TACTICAL AWARENESS is a collection of one hundred SF short stories, each of them one hundred words long.
Stephanie Lay's insight:
Nice. The one about your smart home and smart car forgetting who you are was particularly resonant.... 
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Scientists are teaching robots to avoid children — because kids can be surprisingly mean

Scientists are teaching robots to avoid children — because kids can be surprisingly mean | Uncanny Valley | Scoop.it
It's a sick, sad, humanoid robot-filled world.
Stephanie Lay's insight:
The article is obviously going for the scandalous angle here - small children forming gangs to attach innocent helper-bots are bound to cause outrage. And the video clips are disturbing. But I would have liked to have known more about the factors that stopped the children from 'attacking' the robot as well, plus some analysis of the background of the children involved. I think there's a risk with this study of seeing aggression and unpleasantness because it was being looked for... 
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RoBoHoN: Sharp's tiny robot is actually a phone (Wired UK)

RoBoHoN: Sharp's tiny robot is actually a phone (Wired UK) | Uncanny Valley | Scoop.it
RoBoHoN is a 19.5cm robot from Sharp that also doubles as a mobile phone and HD projector
Stephanie Lay's insight:
Companion robotics is a growing area at the moment and Sharp's latest launch neatly side-steps a severe UV effect with a combination of toy-like size, appealing features and lego-style arms and legs keeping him firmly on the cute side of the valley. Although I'm not sure I'd want him to watch me sleep. 
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How emotion research is pulling robots out of the uncanny valley and into our lives

How emotion research is pulling robots out of the uncanny valley and into our lives | Uncanny Valley | Scoop.it
Emotions may make the uncanny valley a little less deep.
Stephanie Lay's insight:
Good to see more examples of embodied robots being used in these projects, and interesting to reflect on the context of my research on the effect of congruent and incongruent emotions. 
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12 Of The Freakiest Face Swaps You'll Ever See

12 Of The Freakiest Face Swaps You'll Ever See | Uncanny Valley | Scoop.it
The internet has been awash with face swaps for years — here's our contribution to the art of creating nightmares with...
Stephanie Lay's insight:
I've seen a few face swap examples recently - thank you @JeFurry - but the ones where it's someone you know are definitely eerier than the ones taken by random strangers. And it's not just the gender swap, of course. 
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Neurologist explains why it’s hard to look at Ted Cruz’s creepy ‘unsettling’ face

Neurologist explains why it’s hard to look at Ted Cruz’s creepy ‘unsettling’ face | Uncanny Valley | Scoop.it
Stephanie Lay's insight:

A real-world example of my mismatch expression theory! Brilliant. But rather disturbing at the same time.... 

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Disney's FaceDirector: an example of real-time blending for emotional expressions

Disney's FaceDirector: an example of real-time blending for emotional expressions | Uncanny Valley | Scoop.it
Stephanie Lay's insight:

This is clever. The non-linear synchronisation does a nice job of bringing the image and audio together, and where the emotional transitions are relatively slow and subtle, the blending works well. The example above, where the emotion switches from happy to angry quickly and repeatedly, is definitely unsettling to watch. I'd have predicted as much from my research but seeing is happening in real time is quite chilling... 

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Hasbro’s Uncanny Valley Robotic Kitty

Hasbro’s Uncanny Valley Robotic Kitty | Uncanny Valley | Scoop.it
Called "Companion Pets," these kitties are made to offer companionship to older folks who might not have the time or the ability to tend to a real pet.
Stephanie Lay's insight:

I agree there's a sadness to this idea, but I can imagine these actually being appealing to a wider range of buyers than just the 'senior' market... people who can't have pets because of rental issues, or allergies. I'd quite like one! 

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Not quite human enough: exploring the uncanny valley

Not quite human enough: exploring the uncanny valley | Uncanny Valley | Scoop.it
Psychologist Stephanie Lay discusses her research into the uncanny valley - the point at which a near-human face changes from attractive to creepy.
Stephanie Lay's insight:

It's great to see this available online - I really enjoyed working with Frances on the article. Good to reflect on how my thinking has changed over the last year too! 

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Baby heads in unexpected places

Baby heads in unexpected places | Uncanny Valley | Scoop.it
Always fascinated with “creepy-cute” art, Qixuan Lim makes unsettling yet adorable tiny sculptures.
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A delightful collection of twisted faces

A delightful collection of twisted faces | Uncanny Valley | Scoop.it
Scientists have created a "nightmare machine" to teach AI systems how to be scary.
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It's getting harder to tell real from not real... 

It's getting harder to tell real from not real...  | Uncanny Valley | Scoop.it
Empty description
Stephanie Lay's insight:
I'd be confident in saying 'fake' if it wasn't for recent make-up artists doing amazing things to fake-ify real faces...  
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Why Are We Afraid of Robots? The Why Factor - BBC World Service

Why Are We Afraid of Robots? The Why Factor - BBC World Service | Uncanny Valley | Scoop.it
"Robots are in our homes, our factories, on battlefields and in hospitals. Some are smarter than us, some are faster. Some are here to help us, others not. Science fiction is filled with malign machines which rise against humanity. In the Why Factor this week, Mike Williams asks if we have reason to fear the machines we are creating."
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Eerily lifelike 'robot goddess' wants to make eyes at you

Eerily lifelike 'robot goddess' wants to make eyes at you | Uncanny Valley | Scoop.it
Meet Jia Jia, a new humanoid robot out of China that looks a lot like a real woman until you get closer and listen to the dulcet yet mechanical tones coming out of her mouth.
Stephanie Lay's insight:
A good example of expressions that are just subtly too mismatched for comfort... 
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Could you fall in love with robot Sophia?

Could you fall in love with robot Sophia? | Uncanny Valley | Scoop.it
Can humans and robots coexist? Meet Sophia and Geminoid, two humanlike robots that may embody the androids of our future.
Stephanie Lay's insight:
I couldn't, but it's fascinating to see how far Hanson's robots have come in recent years. His 'Eva' was much eerier, and even though this one is based on the same real human, it's much closer to believable. However, definitely still too eerie as far as I'm concerned! (Thanks to @_valeriei for the link.) 
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Jennifer's curator insight, March 24, 2016 11:12 PM
The title of the article “Could you fall in love with this robot,” gives the readers an idea of what the paper will be about. By reading the title the readers will understand that the author will talk about robots and humans may have an opportunity to work among each or even forming a relationship. The author explains the details about the creation of the robots, which are going to help people in all sorts of way. The author provided examples on how to show how the robots will help people. Some examples were helping the elder and kids with disabilities. I believe the article is a reliable source. I find it to be reliable because it can be found on Consumer News and Business Channel. I believe that the network will not provide false information to people. I believe the writer’s main focus in the writing is to let the people see what might happen in the future with robots. I believe this article is towards the general readers because I believe it’s an overall situation.
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Ningyo kuyo: A Japanese doll funeral

Ningyo kuyo: A Japanese doll funeral | Uncanny Valley | Scoop.it
A photograph from the Ningyo Kuyo event at Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine -- a doll funeral of sorts. Thousands of people bring their old dolls so that the priests can say praters and cleanse them, as some people believe dolls contain memories, or even have souls.
Stephanie Lay's insight:
Would the idea of dolls having souls make them more or less uncanny than if we view them as inanimate, but intimate objects? 
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“The tradition of the uncanny valley continues…to the un-canine valley!” says Venture Capitalist Steve Jurvetson – MicroCap Magazine

“The tradition of the uncanny valley continues…to the un-canine valley!” says Venture Capitalist Steve Jurvetson – MicroCap Magazine | Uncanny Valley | Scoop.it
Stephanie Lay's insight:
There is already some research with primates suggesting that the UVE is not an inherently human experience so this makes interesting reading. However, some of the dog's reaction may be explained by the headless nature of his new robot friend - also size, scale and movement! 
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The Uncanny Valley is Uncanny

The Uncanny Valley is Uncanny | Uncanny Valley | Scoop.it
As we build a world where our technologies talk to us, how "realistic" do we want them to be? This week, author Nicholas Bowman addresses this concern and the very real problems that occur when our devices become a little too human.
Stephanie Lay's insight:

Some good examples here of how the UVE idea can be applied to real-world settings, and the importance of cognitive anchoring.

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Here's why there's a creepy pair of Victorian dolls wandering around London

Here's why there's a creepy pair of Victorian dolls wandering around London | Uncanny Valley | Scoop.it
Come on, the Northern Line is scary enough.
Stephanie Lay's insight:

What more can I possibly say?! :) 

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Robots: fun and games in the uncanny valley

Robots: fun and games in the uncanny valley | Uncanny Valley | Scoop.it
Charlotte Gifford takes a look at the unnerving world of humanoid robots
Stephanie Lay's insight:

A very accessible walk through the valley. 

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