The Uncanny Valley

Notes on art, culture and preservation


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Name: Christopher W. Mote

Location: Philadelphia, United States

I am a freelance writer and occasional teacher of writing and English. I have written book reviews, worked on a travel guide while hanging out in South America, and even (as C.W. Mote) had a few short stories published over the years. Most recently, you may know me for my reporting on historic preservation issues for Philadelphia’s Hidden City Daily.

On this site, I write about:

  • Philadelphia
  • History
  • Preservation
  • Sustainability
  • Design
  • Books
  • Architecture
  • Street Art
  • Latin America
  • Music
  • Language & Linguistics
  • Culture
  • Random Internet Memes

…and plenty more that’s least expected.

Why The Uncanny Valley?

Masahiro Mori developed a theory on robotics which basically states that human beings express revulsion towards robots that look too human-like. In Japanese, he called this effect Bukimi no Tani Genshō, translated as “uncanny valley”. The valley refers to the dip in the graph of favorable emotional response, shown here.

I like the idea behind this term and its applicability to other disciplines — the idea that we feel our sense of authenticity endangered when artifice tries to pass as authentic, that occurrences in our lives can shock us back to recognition of our own being in and of itself. But besides that, I like the sound and placement of the words. Imagine a physical or a metaphysical realm where this uncanny feeling persists. My goal is not to dabble in horror or the macabre, but to observe the world with a mindset that strange things can and do always happen. The Internet and the blogosphere are making the uncanny easier to spot than ever before.

Hit me up: motecw at hotmail dotcom


Written by cwmote

December 29, 2009 at 2:48 am

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