With technological advancements introduced by science, we can observe improvements in avatar, animation, or even android projection. Even though animators seek to create the perfect image of a human, there is still something unreal about the characters. Either the eye colour or overall face structure.
Did you ever experience seeing a human-like animation that does not quite seem to look right? They seem realistic and very much lifelike, but they are not human and somehow, we recognise that. This is an occurrence called “The uncanny valley” phenomenon.
The uncanny valley demonstrates the correlation between “human-like appearance of a robotic object and the emotional repose it evokes”. In simpler terms, it relates to the reaction we get when we encounter a robotic, human looking object. The feeling can be uneasy and unpleasant.
But why is the uncanny valley so scary?
Since the characters could not have sensors on their eyes, nor their mouths, those features are computer generated. This can evoke the impression that the rest of the human looks somewhat off. The name itself is a figurative language device, a metaphor, relating to the idea that the human appearance or behaviour can make something artificial more valuable, since its familiar. However, the familiarity drops sharply into the uncanny when the animation or any other artificial object fails to mimic a realistic human.
The graph bellow describes the human likeness by percentages of specific human-like objects. The uncanny valley is shown between toy robots and puppets. As a robot’s human likeliness increases, we are more inclined to feel comfortable around it, but only to a certain point.