How does it make you feel when somebody stares at you?
An unflinching stare. Angry? Scared? Anxious? All of the above? How about when said eyes belong to a doll? Depends on the doll, really. If it’s obviously fake, then it’s not a problem, but what if it’s really life-like?
The “uncanny valley” is a term that refers to a graphic representation of how comfortable we are with unreal faces. They can get closer and closer to human and we like them more until….they cross a threshold and then…
let’s say we’re less than happy with them.
This is why people get creeped out by dolls or ventriloquist dummies, or human-styled robots or androids. This territory is great fodder for horror stories. The potential for dolls to come to life, or artificial intelligence (AI) or robots getting a software glitch (or even evolving) and turning on us is a great trope to scare people with.
We can also explore our relationship with humanity and technology with great story-telling. In this episode I talk about AI and the uncanny valley, and how horror has used these techniques to tell some interesting stories.
I hope you enjoy the episode.
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Blade Runner (1982)
Tourist Trap (1979)
Ex Machina (2014)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
The Terminator (1984)