In the 1970s, the Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori introduced the concept of the “uncanny valley.” The valley effect occurs, he believed, when an artificial form is almost—but not quite—authentic enough to feel like the reality it is emulating. People experience an unpleasant disconnect when viewing such objects, and they become fearful and repelled. Technical perfection adds to, rather than subtracts from, the feeling; a perfect robotic face can leave the viewer disquieted and nauseated. Imperfections are sometimes added to mitigate This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-Four Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 19 Going Incognito We all secretly wonder what mischief we’d make if invisible: When our identity is hidden, everything seems possible. Arts & Culture Issue 19 The Best Policy Sometimes we talk to each other without feeling heard. Honesty—a most intimate interaction—can be just as thrilling as its more devious inverse. Arts & Culture Issue 19 A Sense of Suspense With unhinged imaginations and mountains of cliff-hangers, the filmmakers behind the sci-fi podcast Limetown have all the makings of a scary story. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Like Clockwork In this new column about time, we learn how slipping off our watches makes us feel like deadline-damning renegades. Arts & Culture Music Issue 19 On a Grander Scale Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna now may live on the opposite side of the globe, but she’s determined to evolve while staying true to her roots. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Neighborhood: Fire Stations The firefighting profession has evolved over time from Ancient Rome’s rudimentary bucket brigades to today’s sleek life-saving departments.