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Hello! I'm a writer from central New York who has bipolar disorder. Among other topics, I write about mental illness and writing. I have short stories published in Lynx Eye, Lost Coast Review, The Outrider Review, Sliver of Stone Magazine, The Mondegreen, The Linnet's Wings, Cobalt Review, Breath & Shadow, The Round Up, Postscripts to Darkness, Masque & Spectacle, and several other journals. I have a poem in The Poeming Pigeon, essays about mental illness in The Ram Boutique and Amygdala Literary Magazine, and an essay in Parts Unbound: Narratives of Mental Illness & Health, a book that was published by Lime Hawk Literary Arts Collective. My story "Santa Lucia" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. I've written three novels entitled Purple Loosestrife, Hoping It Might Be So, and Dark and Bright, all of which are as yet unpublished. I'm working on a memoir about my experiences with bipolar disorder. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Buffalo and an M.A. in English from SUNY College at Brockport. I hope you enjoy your visit to my blog!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Uncanny Valley

In 1970, Japanese robotics professor Masahiro Mori coined the term "the uncanny valley".  The uncanny valley hypothesis maintains that as a robot becomes more human-like in appearance, a human being's emotional response to that robot will become more and more empathic and positive, until a point is reached beyond which a human being's response rapidly becomes one of revulsion.  When demonstrated on a graph, the area of revulsion in the response of a human being to an "almost human" entity is called "the uncanny valley".  Because the response dips from highly positive down to highly negative, the graph contains a "valley"--the uncanny valley.

The uncanny valley hypothesis has fascinated me for years.  Robots, androids, computer-generated humans (i.e., in movies and video games), mannequins, dolls--all can fall into the uncanny valley depending on how close, but not yet close enough, they are to human beings.  Because of this fascination, I have written two short stories that, in roundabout ways, deal with the uncanny valley--a futuristic story called "Carlsbad Caverns" and a Cold War era story called "The Pattersons".

I'm still working on "Carlsbad Caverns", whereas I've sent "The Pattersons" to several journals and have received rejections in return.  I think I'd like to take a new look at "The Pattersons" and tweak some things about the story, hence making it a work in progress as well.  I'd like to get these stories finished and out there for anyone who enjoys subjects dealing with the uncanny valley as much as I do.


3 comments:

  1. this is a very cool phenomenon. the stories sound fascinating!!!

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    1. Arley, I agree that it's so cool, the way that people react to that which is "almost human" but not quite there. Thanks for thinking my stories sound fascinating. Hopefully some journals will agree and publish them! But first I have to get them all edited and polished up. :)

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