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The Technium: Beyond the Uncanny Valley

I thought The Uncanny Valley was something that the writers of 30 Rock came up with. But it’s actually a thing. A real thing. In that 30 Rock episode Tracy Jordan is trying to make a pornographic video game, but it’s told by Frank that it can’t be done because of the Uncanny Valley: when fake things look a bit too real and start freaking us out. Tracy manages to get beyond the Uncanny Valley in that episode, but that’s fiction. Kevin Kelly argues in his post that the movie Tin Tin may have just cracked it.

In the first few minutes of the Tin Tin, there is a momentary hesitation when you first see the face of the characters; a feeling they are just a bit shy of something. But that moment passes quickly and thereafter the humans (and animals) seem totally real. Their movements, skin texture, hair, expressions, eyes, everything says they are real — even though they are only simulations. It helps that the environments are also 100% believable, including the elements of water, weather, atmosphere, sand, and city.

I’ve only seen the trailers for Tin Tin and think it still looks a bit too creepy.

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