Mori’s uncanny valley: when humanoid robots become too human, and thus scary

Mori’s original hypothesis states that as the appearance of a robot is made more human, a human observer’s emotional response to the robot will become increasingly positive and empathic, until a point is reached beyond which the response quickly becomes that of strong revulsion. However, as the appearance continues to become less distinguishable from a human being, the emotional response becomes positive once more and approaches human-to-human empathy levels.[8]

 

This area of repulsive response aroused by a robot with appearance and motion between a “barely human” and “fully human” entity is called the uncanny valley. The name captures the idea that an almost human-looking robot will seem overly “strange” to a human being and thus will fail to evoke the empathic response required for productive human-robot interaction.[8]

 

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