[Our Sunday Visitor, July 2004]
Robotics designers have a problem; it's called the "uncanny valley." Humans like humans, and we like robots, but we want to know which is which. A robot can be made to look increasingly human, and for awhile we find it appealing. But if its skin texture becomes too realistic and movements too lifelike, suddenly it becomes horrifying. Instead of seeing a clever human-like contraption, we think we're seeing a disturbed, distorted human. It has fallen into the uncanny valley.
This is the creep-factor behind a lot of sci-fi and horror, from Frankenstein to "Blade Runner."