The Technological Uncanny as a Permanent Dimension of Selfhood

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Abstract

“The uncanny valley” indicates that as a robot approaches a nearly human state, initial positive responses quickly turn to strong revulsion. After reviewing various explanations for this phenomenon, this chapter interprets the uncanny feeling towards humanoids not as a response to a lack of humanness but rather as a response to the inability to fathom and appropriate what makes the viewer of the robot different from the robot, that is, what makes the viewer human. The more technologies become intrusive, the more this in­ ability is intensified, making the technological uncanny a permanent dimension of self­ hood. As a result, technology cannot be simply externalized and conceived as an outside factor that can determine or liberate us, nor as something that can destroy or strengthen us. This insight calls for a more sophisticated account of how technology is shaping us, as well as how we would like to be shaped by it.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Technology
EditorsShannon Vallor
ISBN (Electronic)9780190851187
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - Jan 2021

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