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uncanny valley

[ uhn-kan-ee val-ee ]

noun

    1. a psychological concept that describes the feelings of unease or revulsion that people tend to have toward artificial representations of human beings, as robots or computer animations, that closely imitate many but not all the features and behaviors of actual human beings.
    2. the dip in positive feelings toward such artificial representations.


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Word History and Origins

Origin of uncanny valley1

1970; coined by Masahiro Mori, Japanese roboticist (born 1927), from Japanese bukimi no tani (genshō) “uncanny valley (phenomenon)”

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Example Sentences

With video, that uncanny valley of almost being there tends to make you long for the real thing.

From Time

As mysterious as the uncanny valley phenomenon is, we do have some theories about why we might find almost-human things unsettling.

There are two full-on song-and-dance numbers in this movie — only two, not enough to make it a movie musical, but two more than you’ll find in your average feature film, which means it enters a kind of movie-musical uncanny valley.

From Vox

It seems that games are beginning to reach the uncanny valley, because the dead eyes just made me feel uncomfortable.

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