Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Uncanny Valley

I will start with the theory first to put to rest speculation about the seemingly incongruous title. In 1970, Masahiro Mori, a Japanese roboticist, described a phenomenon known as the 'Uncanny Valley'.

The discovery had to do with human response to a humanoid robot. He postulated that a contraption performing human feats evokes highly emotional responses from people. However, as one strives to make the machine more human-like, assigning facial features, and advanced mobility abilities, the response flip-flops and degenerates into one of repulsion. But the best part is, on working even further, to the point where the robot and human seem indistinguishable, a person begins to show enhanced empathy towards the robot, gradually accepting it as part of his own life.

The 'valley' phenomenon may be slightly hard to accept, but it is not without rhyme or reason. We all experience such pendulating mood-swings with regard to our dreams, our aspirations, endeavours and relationships. It all starts with a desire, a blue-print. Wouldn't be nice if I prepare for CAT and crack it, wouldn't be great to find a suitable mate, or for that matter, wouldn't be smart to write something and make the world read it ;)....the list goes on. Well, these are the sparks that fire our imagination and give us sleepless nights. Everything seems so rosy, so hunky-dory, when we even don't know where to start!

Then comes the crash. We start to realize our dreams, put a skeleton on a spirit...and that sure is scary. Little by little, the problems trickle in, the pressures and demands seem insurmountable. The more we strive to actualize our vision, the more distant it seems. So near yet so far. Disappointment, despair, desperation, apathy, revulsion...we all feel something or the other during this journey. We move through this dark valley and many of us are left stranded at the trough.

But a few of us are survivors, and as they say - "There is always light at the end of a tunnel" - we find that light. When we devote our all to our cause, and fulfill it in all its beauty and spirit, we feel one with our creation, our conception. And that is the most uplifting and satisfying feeling of all.

But the million dollar question is - Are we ready to make this journey, and complete it...Ask yourself.

1 comment:

Varun Prakash said...

Hope the readers derive some courage by reading this post as it emphasizes the all important saying, which can be the guiding principle of one's life.
"There is always light at the end of a tunnel" . True..isn't it.