Uncanny Valley


I was hanging out in the “uncanny valley” today. In film terms it refers “to the phenomenon whereby a computer-generated figure or humanoid robot bearing a near-identical resemblance to a human being arouses a sense of unease or revulsion in the person viewing it.” This idea lead me down the dark valley-of-the-shadow-trail of memories including “The Thunderbirds” (you know, those characters jiggling on marionette strings with a clinking drink in their hands), “The Polar Express” (beloved to many, but there is something about the film version . . . just something not quite right), and a new one I discovered called the Lynx chocolate man.

I had always wondered what made close to human but not quite human figures tilt toward the disturbing side in live action film and animation (WestWorld just came to mind), and now, at least I have a term for it uncanny valley. Settling in an unsettling way.

You may be tempted to ask, what does all this have to do with a blog about “thresholds” and “shining bridges”? Simply this. It is a reminder to be truly human. The real deal. All you all the time (working, of course to become the more wonderful true you you really are), and not to get stuck in the uncanny valley.

All the wrinkles. All the foibles. All the quirks. Uncannily you. Beloved you. Real skin, crooked teeth, and all.

And now . . . back to our regularly scheduled program . . . .