Summit on the Uncanny Valley
A Special Session at the
IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Robots and Intelligent Systems (IROS).
Tokyo International Exhibition Center, Room 703, Nov 6, 2013, 1:30-3pm

The Uncanny Valley Revisited: A Tribute to Masahiro Mori

Video Presentations and article by Erico Guizzo in IEEE Spectrum

Masahiro Mori's influential 1970 article, Bukimi no Tani Gensho, describes a phenomenon where the appeal of animated beings undergoes a steep non-linearity as they become increasingly similar to humans. Subsequently labeled the "Uncanny Valley" as a reference to Sigmund Freud's 1916 essay on the Uncanny, the Uncanny Valley continues to have widespread influence in the fields of robotics, design, gaming, computer animation, art, and plastic surgery. For this special event, Emeritus Professor Mori will address an audience of international researchers in Robotics to comment on the thinking behind his article and how it has evolved over the past 40 years, followed by responses from a panel of roboticists and media theorists.

(Left to Right: Ishiguru, Asada, Michalowski,Murphey,Khatib,Jochum,Mori,Goldberg,Kageki,Lunenfeld,Inoue,Fujihata)
Featured Speaker: Masahiro Mori, Prof. Emeritus, Tokyo Institute of Technology
(with simultaneous translation by Ms. Norri Kageki)


  • Masaki Fujihata, Tokyo U. of the Arts
  • Hiroshi Ishiguro, Osaka U.
  • David Hanson, Hanson Robotics
  • Elizabeth Jochum, University of Copenhagen
  • Oussama Khatib, Stanford U.
  • Peter Lunenfeld, UCLA
  • Marek Michalowski, BeatBot
  • Todd Murphey, Northwestern U.
  • Daniela Rus, MIT


  • Minoru Asada, Osaka U.
  • Ken Goldberg, UC Berkeley

Special thanks to Hirochika Inoue and Shigeki Sugano and Erico Guizzo for help organizing and the co-chairs, speakers, and attendees of the Workshop below.

Previous Workshop:

Art and Robots: Freud's Unheimlich and the Uncanny Valley

An International Workshop at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Kongresszentrum Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany, May 10, 2013.

This one-day workshop at the premier conference for robotics researchers brought together technologists, artists, and theorists to explore past and future relationships between art and robotics. Artworks involving robots have a rich and extensive history dating back to the ancient Greeks, through da Vinci, Jean Tinguely, Nam June Paik, Survival Research Labs, Jonathon Borofsky, and Stelarc. The workshop references Freud's 1919 aesthetic essay on E.T.A. Hoffman's 1816 horror tale The Sandman (which includes an automaton as a central character). Freud's term "Der Unheimliche" is usually translated as "The Uncanny". Freud's concept of the Uncanny is familiar in art history and has been applied to many novels, paintings, sculptures, and films. The term was later applied to a phenomenon noted by Masahiro Mori in 1970 where the human psychological experience of being unnerved by robots that are highly similar to humans.