Is It Real? With New Technology Has Activision Crossed The 'Uncanny Valley?' | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

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/.

NPR

Puerto Rico Is Sowing A New Generation Of Small Farmers

Decades of industrialization have left the island reliant on imported food. But change is coming — from government subsidies for small farmers, to classes that teach school kids how to grow food.
NPR

Puerto Rico Is Sowing A New Generation Of Small Farmers

Decades of industrialization have left the island reliant on imported food. But change is coming — from government subsidies for small farmers, to classes that teach school kids how to grow food.
WAMU 88.5

Abortion Is Back In The Spotlight In Virginia

The state's current attorney general is overturning a ruling from the previous attorney general that would have shut down most of the abortion clinics in the state, and the issue isn't just about regulations and politics. It's also about money.
NPR

Smartphones Can Be Smart Enough To Find A Parasitic Worm

If someone is infected by the Loa loa worm, taking a drug to treat river blindness could be risky. Now there's a fast way to identify the worm — by turning a smartphone into a microscope.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.