Beyond the Uncanny Valley: A Theory of Eeriness for Android Science Research

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Creator: 

Redstone, Joshua

Date: 

2013

Abstract: 

The “Uncanny Valley” (UV) theory predicts that highly realistic human-like artifacts, e.g. robots and animated characters, sometimes elicit eeriness in human subjects. But in spite of a rapidly growing body of interdisciplinary research on the UV, a lack of consensus concerning the cause(s) of this phenomenon persists. Therefore in what follows, I undertake a conceptual “overhaul” of the UV theory in order to facilitate an account of the UV phenomenon. Drawing from philosophical and empirical research, I demonstrate that: (1) eeriness is best understood as anxiety caused by uncertainty
concerning the ontological nature of the artifact; and (2), that the misfiring of cognitive and affective empathic abilities – viz. an inconsistency between a subject’s perception of the artifact’s apparent animacy and mentation, and her knowledge that artifacts ought not possess such attributes – is the primary causal mechanism of the UV phenomenon. Finally, I revise the UV theory accordingly.

Subject: 

PHILOSOPHY, RELIGION, AND THEOLOGY Philosophy
PSYCHOLOGY Cognitive

Language: 

English

Publisher: 

Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 
M.A.

Thesis Degree Level: 

Master's

Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Philosophy

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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