January 14th, 2004

breaking bad

The uncanny valley.

I found this paper interesting. The author argues, quite plausibly, that human beings emotional reaction to moving and living things (robots, animals, puppets) is increasingly positive as the thing/creature becomes more human-like. Thus (my interjection) we react more positively to a puppy than a fish, to a puppet with a face than to a machine with a dial.

Up to a point. This is the important caveat. We actually react quite badly to things that are almost human but not quite human enough. The author calls this the uncanny valley.

"The uncanny valley itself is where dwell monsters, in the classic sense of the word. Frankenstein’s creation, the undead, the ingeniously twisted demons of anime and their inspirations from legend and myth, and indeed all the walking terrors and horrors of man’s imagining belong here. In essence, they tend to be warped funhouse-mirror images of humanity.
... Unpleasant surface textures, exaggerated features or proportions, and incongruous, out-of-place additions or inclusions, even body parts that are not directly connected to one another yet move in concert, all reach deep into the primitive part of the human mind to draw forth fear."

via metafilter
breaking bad

Gargle Blaster

Nick points to a BBC article about casting a film version of Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy.

They are talking about casting Bill Nighy as Slartibartfast, and Martin Freeman (Tim from The Office) as Arthur Dent.

Has anyone got any other suggestions, for these or the other main characters? That would be Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ford Prefect, Trillion, and Marvin the Paranoid Android.