Uncanny Valley of the Dolls

Found through Billmon. This new Neely O’Hara which is based on the girlfriend of creator, David Hanson.

OK/cancel makes note of what is called the Uncanny Valley, a principle of “robotics concerning the emotional response of humans to robots and other non-human entities.” The idea is the more human in appearance the robot is, the more positive and empathetic human response is, but as the robot approaches pinch me perfection then humans want to thrash the data out of it.

The side view of the robot is quite convincing, at least in this video, the lighting, and my inner chimp response is to want to take apart the black box she’s sitting on and find the rest of the human mannequin-mime. I consider how frustrated I get with attempts to take care of any business on the phone with companies that are supposedly providing me a service, but after the contract is signed the humans disappear and from then on one negotiates recordings prompting button pushing. I don’t get mad at the voice but I do get infuriated with the “Apply considerable aggravation so they leave you alone and forget you’re there” policy of “Buy but please don’t use our service!”

Humans being humans, set Neely up at the rail station directing traffic and whether she antagonized or not, she would be an uncomfortable sight in at most a couple of weeks.

Hopefully David has a solid relationship with the girlfriend who served as model. If he doesn’t, I envision him some night listening over and over to (download at Top Quality Rock & Roll!) Patty Duke singing the Valley of the Dolls theme (which assumes a pathos before lacking) and Duke’s Learn to Live with your Heartbreak, in which she chastizes him to y’know, learn to live with the heartbreak because she’s leaving. There’s no furniture in his apartment, he never having needed any because he had Neely. He’s drunk, mumbling at, berating, screaming at then crying over his Neely whose heavily made-up eyes, in a parting close-up, are running a teary mascara down her cheeks.

Or maybe she’s biting him. I haven’t decided yet.

Is this a dream, am I here, where are you, help me
–Patty Duke “Valley of the Dolls”


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Juli Kearns

Juli Kearns is the author of Thunderbird and the Ball of Twine and Unending Wonders of a Subatomic World (or) In Search of the Great Penguin. She is also an artist/photographer, and the person behind the web alter of "Idyllopus Press".

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