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Options March 27, 2012: Zepelim - The Uncanny Valley

ZEPELIM: THE UNCANNY VALLEY

In 1970, roboticist Masahiro Mori coined the term “The Uncanny Valley” in the Japanese magazine “Energy”.  From his experience in the field of designing human-like robots, he theorized that the more closely robots resemble human appearance and behavior, the more familiar they seem to be – up until the point where they seem almost-but-not-quite-real. At this point, their appearance and behavior triggers a negative human response, followed by feelings of eeriness or discomfort. Mori called this zone the “Uncanny Valley” because of the way a graph depicting the correlation between familiarity and human likeness would dip drastically just before reaching perfect mimicry of the human appearance. Scientists identified a diverse number of discrepancies that could explain this eeriness in a humanlike robot – for example, the timing of its speech, its gestures, or a lack of all the precise subtleties of a well-timed and natural social interaction. Freud referred to the first copies that humans made of ourselves with wooden and wax figures as an primitive attempt of humans to skirt death and secure a sense of immortality.  Are these scientific attempts to create the perfect robot a sophisticated denial of death?  In this episode of Zepelim, this intriguing and poetic concept is the basis of a sound exploration of the slow and fragile human quest to defy our perception of death through artificial life.  Recently, scientists from Geminoid Lab at Aalborg University have claimed that they have made an android that transcends the uncanny valley – the Geminoid-DK. 

Carlo Patrao is a 27 year-old native of Coimbra, Portugal. He attended the University of Coimbra and has been working in radio since 2007, when he became a member of the student-run radio station Rádio Universidade de Coimbra (RUC). His education at RUC immersed him in the independent spirit of exclusively author-oriented radio programs free from the pressure of ratings, advertising, and profit-earning. Carlo began his radio career covering several areas of radiophonic activity, ranging from weekly shows featuring pop and folk music to more topical programs presenting cultural events, reviewing books and music, and promoting the work of local artists. In 2008, he created the program Zepelim with his friend Afonso Biscaia in order to explore the diverse possibilities of radiophonic space through the use of field recordings, experimental music, musique concrete, drones, archived sound and live improvisation. Episodes of Zepelim are 60-minute sound collages based on specific themes every month. The tracklists of sounds featured in each program are annotated in his blog. In addition to his work at the radio, Carlo has a degree in Psychology and works as a therapist in the field of drug addiction.

http://zeppelinruc.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/zepelim-uncanny-valley/



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