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Can We Cross the Uncanny Valley?


Is fake too real?

Ah science, the application of what was once considered magic. The explanation behind the forces of the Universe and our connection to something greater than ourselves. But amidst the physics, the quantum mechanics, the chemistry, exists a goal that all have been looking towards…at least since sci-fi came to be. Robots. These marvels of machination are, depending on what sci-fi you’ve seen, are either a blessing or the eventual end of us all. But I digress. Allow me to step away from the hypotheticals and the vague philosophy and provide a real example of this concept. To introduce you to the subject of this article. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Asuna.

At this years Tokyo Genius Expo, the brains at A-Lab Co. Ltd presented their hyper-realistic creation to the public. Each an every detail of Asuna, from eyes, to hair, to skin were designed with the sole purpose of looking real. Surprisingly enough, public reaction was mixed. Whilst some found themselves creeped out by the “too real” creation, others noted Asuna as cute. Some even went as far as to note her as the “companion of the future” owing to speculation regarding advancements in Artificial Intelligence. Naturally, A-Lab Co. Ltd is interested in the more positive reaction to the android, hoping that in the future this will be the prevalent opinion, with people having moved passed the hesitance of the Uncanny Valley.

Well there you have it, the future. A quite creepy, oddly realistic, honestly unbelievable future that draws ever closer. Does it excite you? Does it unnerve you? Does it leave you wondering why they designed Asuna to look like a 15 year old girl? Because I have no idea about any of it really. Though the concept of an AI does interest me greatly, because I believe that the reason androids are so unnerving, the reason that the Uncanny Valley exists isn’t that they appear too real, it’s that there’s no personality behind their visage. That the truly ominous factor isn’t their appearance, but the emptiness within.


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