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Is It Real? With New Technology Has Activision Crossed The 'Uncanny Valley?'

You tell us. Is this man real or animated?

This rendering was presented by Jorge Jimenez of the video game company Activision Blizzard during the 2013 Game Developers Conference on Wednesday.

As he describes it on his blog, this is part of the company's "next-generation character rendering" and is the "culmination of many years of work in photorealistic characters."

We're no experts, but it seems we've crossed some kind of threshold in animation, where what's real and animated is close to impossible to tell apart.

Mashable asks the pertinent, philosophical question: Does this next-generation animation cross the so-called "uncanny valley?"

The term was coined in 1970 by the Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori. He said humans can relate to robots — think R2-D2 — but once they get too humanlike, but not close enough — think the animated Angelina Jolie in Beowulf — they feel disgust. That disgust — that "uncanny valley" — subsides at the other side: when the robot is indistinguishable from reality.

So, have we crossed that valley with this animation?

As Mashable reports, if you look closely the teeth are not quite right, but does it make the animation creepy?

If you want to dive in to the topic, there's a great talk given by NVIDIA Co-founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang during his keynote at the GPU Technology Conference in San Jose earlier this month:

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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