The Japanese Roboticist Masahiro Mori’s Buddhist Inspired Concept of The Uncanny Valley

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Borody, W. A. "The Japanese Roboticist Masahiro Mori’s Buddhist Inspired Concept of The Uncanny Valley. "Journal of Evolution and Technology 23.1 (December 2013): 31-44.[1]

Deals explicitly with Mori's The Buddha in the Robot, which see. Note for relationships among AI, robotics, transhumanism, and a kind of dialog on applications of the teachings of the Buddha.

From "Conclusion: Masahiro Mori’s Buddhist-based transhumanism – human transformation or human transmogrification?"

[...A]ccording to Mori’s robotic-engineering-based Buddhist philosophical perspective, the Uncanny Valley is similar to the Buddhist concept of impermanence coupled with its concomitant quality, suffering (duḥkha). Like the Buddhist concept of suffering, the Uncanny Valley can be metamorphosed into something transformative. [...]

While it appears to be the case that all things are One, it also appears that all things are not One, as both Heraclitus and Lao Tzu would commiserate. Human beings appear to live in the dichotomy of being One with all that exists, while also existing as significantly separate from this Oneness. Mori clearly obfuscates this dichotomy, which is a serious philosophical flaw in his thinking when it comes to the existence of humanoid-like AI and robots, given the significance and dignity of self-identity qua individuality. As well, as a self-proclaimed practicing Buddhist, Mori appears predisposed to embracing humanoid-like robots and AI on the basis of his predilection for the anime-like figure of “the Buddha” as he exists as a phantasmagorical construct in Buddhist hagiography [...] and in Buddhist iconography. Mori’s openness towards the idea that humans ought to give up their humanity as “humans” to the “oneness of all things” in the guise of robots and AI exhibits the same naiveté that he displays in his book The Robot in the Buddha concerning the virtues of Buddhism as “the truest, the most perfect, the most universal, and the most magnanimous of religions.”

Masahiro Mori can be described as a Buddhist “transhumanist,” and as an advocate of transhumanism. Hence, he falls within the fuzzy crosshairs of the “Westernist” historian-of-ideas Francis Fukuyama, who has characterized the philosophy of transhumanism as the world’s most dangerous idea – one that aims to “deface humanity” (Fukayama 2004, 43). Whether the Buddhist-based transhumanism advocated by Masahiro Mori prefigures a utopian human transformation, a dystopian human transmogrification – or both, or neither – only time will tell. [...]

RDE, finishing, 27Nov20