Masahiro Mori (森 政弘 Mori Masahiro?, born 1927) is a Japanese roboticist noted for his pioneering work on the emotional response of humans to non-human entities, as well as for his views on religion and robots. The ASIMO robot was designed by one of Masahiro's students.
In 1970, Mori published "Bukimi No Tani" (不気味の谷 The Uncanny Valley) in Energy. The article forwarded the hypothesis that as robots become more humanlike, they appear more familiar until a point is reached at which subtle imperfections of appearance make them look eerie. The observation led Mori to the belief that robot builders should not attempt to make their creations overly lifelike in appearance and motion.
In 1974, Mori published The Buddha in the Robot: a Robot Engineer's Thoughts on Science and Religion in which he discussed the metaphysical implications of robotics. In the book, he wrote "I believe robots have the buddha-nature within them--that is, the potential for attaining buddhahood."
In 1988, Mori founded the first nation-wide robot-building competition in Japan and has widely promoted robot competitions in the years since then. Of Robocon, Mori has said, "When we lose ourselves in an activity, we become creative, friendly and funny. Think of how children are when they are playing. They are completely absorbed in the game; their eyes shine and they are all smiles. They're into the game, not themselves. That's the message of Robocon, too: To not be self-centered, but to love others and share the joy of creating wonderful things."
Mori is currently president of the Mukta Research Institute, which he founded in Tokyo in order to promote his views on religion and robots. The institute also provides consultation on the use of automation and robotics in industry.
- Kawaguchi, Judit (10 March 2011). "Robocon founder Dr. Masahiro Mori". Words To Live By. Japan Times. p. 11. Archived from the original on 2011-03-13. Retrieved 2014-08-14.
Mori's influence on the world of robotics is immeasurable. His classic hypothesis, "The Uncanny Valley," published in 1970, is still a key work defining robotic design.
- "THE BUDDHA IN THE ROBOT".
- "MAN AND MACHINE: Robot gladiators give their makers an emotional charge". Archived from the original on 2004-04-12.
- Boyle, Kirsty (14 January 2008). "Robot Perspectives". Karakuri.info. Retrieved 2014-08-14.
- Mori, M. (1970/2012). The uncanny valley (K. F. MacDorman & N. Kageki, Trans.). IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine, 19(2), 98–100. doi:10.1109/MRA.2012.2192811
- Mori, M. (2005). On the uncanny valley. Proceedings of the Humanoids-2005 workshop: Views of the Uncanny Valley. 5 December 2005, Tsukuba, Japan.