Tag Archives: botox

Will Botox Flatten The Uncanny Valley?

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The ‘uncanny valley’ is a term used in robotics.  It refers to the fact that when humans are shown perfectly humanoid features, they feel calm and happy.   This indicates that the viewer can relate to the humanoid specimen.  The specimen can be understood.  Whether the humanoid features are actually human or robotic, doesn’t matter.  The same feelings are also elicited, when the viewer sees a robot that is obviously a robot. However, when shown a robot that is ‘almost’ human, the viewer enters the ‘uncanny valley’.  In the uncanny valley, viewers experience revulsion, dislike, fear and other iterations of distaste.

Graphing the Uncanny Valley goes something like this.

Reading this article and then this one, I thought about all the women I’ve seen recently.  The ones with their flattened nasolabial folds*, their artificially wide eyes, filled cheeks, tattooed eyebrows and lips.  When I meet these women, I have to try not to stare.  I’m not revolted, I’m just…disconcerted.  I find myself wondering what to say to them, which is strange because I can talk to anyone.

It occurs to me now, that these women, may well be humans who’ve inadvertently entered the ‘uncanny valley’.  Consider the face below.  Not entirely dissimilar, right?  Which one is more expressive?

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here’s the next question: will the current tide of Botox, Restilin, implants and surgery, actually flatten the ‘uncanny valley’?  Will we become so used to looking at ‘almost human’ faces on humans, that they’ll no longer worry us when they appear on robots?  If so, are we going to replace models, newsreaders and others in visual industries, with robots?

Is this just my writer’s mind making unrealistic leaps, or is it likely?  Who knows what dreams/nightmares may come!

*nasolabial folds are the cheek lines that run between nose and the corner of the mouth

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Cultural Exchange…

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People often talk about how difficult it is to move into a different culture.  I’ve never had that problem, in fact I’ve found the opposite to be true.  I pick up accents like other people pick up souvenir teaspoons.  Entirely new languages don’t even daunt me too badly.  New dress codes, religious beliefs, diets, modes of transport, forms of handwriting…no worries.  Been there, done that.

There is one problem though, the ease itself.  In moving to the Gold Coast recently, I found myself happily ensconced in a new community.  I make new friends relatively easily too.  This new community though, is glitzier, more youth oriented and more inclined toward gold sandals, than I have ever been. So it shouldn’t have surprised me that when having coffee with a new friend recently, she said “So I’ve been offered some discount rates on botox.  My friend Sharon** and I are going to get it done this afternoon.  Wanna come?”

Do you know, I almost said “yes”?  In my new world, this is what women do.  They get haircuts and they get botox.  They exercise where nobody can see them, until they think they look good enough to be seen.  So it wouldn’t have been odd for me to say “Sure, just let me grab my kryptonite credit card and I’ll be there in ten.”   It was odd for me to say “Nah, I think I’m right for now thanks.  You have fun though.”  I could tell I’d surprised her by the look on her face.

I’m thinking now, that it’s not the change of culture that is difficult, it’s the maintenance of self as you do so which can be come an issue.  Well, maintenance of self and maintenance of facial expression!

**not her real name!