Friday, 9 December 2011

Summary of Freud's Principle Ideas

"One such is the 'uncanny'. There is no doubt that this belongs to the realm of the frightening, of what evokes fear of dread." (Page 123)

Anything thatrelates the feeling of both fear and dread can be compared to the uncanny in a way. The original hypothesis states that as the appearence of something is made more and more human, observer's emotional response to the robot will become increasingly positive and empathic, until a point is reached beyond which the response becomes that of strong revulsion. However, as the robot's appearence continues to become less distinguishable from that of a human being, the emotional response becomes positive once more and approaches human-to-human empathy levels.

This area of repulsive response aroused by a robot with appearance and motion between a 'barely-human' and a 'fully-human' entity is called the uncanny valley. The name captures the idea that an almost human-looking robot will seem overly 'strange' to a human being and thus will fail to evoke the empathic response.

For example, in film media,  The 1972 film 'The Strepford Wivesand' bear the strong concepts of the uncanny valley. As the story's protagonist moves to a suburban residence, she notices increasingly uncharacteristic behavior by the women in her community. As they become more and more docile and subject their behavior and ambitions to the needs of their partners, this leads to the protagonist beginning to see a conspiracy where the women are replaced by robots.

Speaking of the concept of the double, Freud mentions repitition, almost like that of a doppleganger."In another set of experiences we have no difficulty in recognizing that it is only the factor of unintended repitition that transforms what would otherwise seem harmless into something uncanny."
In fiction and folklore, a doppelgänger is a double of a living person, typically representing evil or misfortune. In the vernacular, the word has come to refer to any double or look-alike of a person.

This creature spurs directly from the concept of the uncanny valley in that we know it is not human but yet looks so much like us that we cannot help but feel repulsion.

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