The Uncanny Valley and Why Boca Burgers Are Disgusting

Have you heard of the uncanny valley? It’s a concept from robotics that as an artificial lifeform gets closer and closer to looking like a real human, it gets creepier and creepier. The explanation is that if something looks almost human, but isn’t quite there, we feel an instinctive sense of disgust towards it.

Take, for instance, this Cabbage Patch doll:

cabbage patch doll

 

The doll represents a human child, but it’s so far from what an actual human child looks like that we don’t register it as human, so we’re fine with it.

Now, take a look at this robot:

800px-Repliee_Q2

 

It’s close enough to an actual human that we may mistake it for a human. But if we assume it’s an actual human, there’s something slightly “off” about it, and so it ends up looking creepy in some way.

Basically, the closer something gets to an actual human being, without being an actual human being, the creepier it looks. That’s what the uncanny valley refers to — this dip in our emotional response to a human likeness.

Anyway, I had another dumb epiphany recently, so here’s my second post in a row about food:

The concept of the uncanny valley totally applies to meat substitutes!

Take these, for instance:

garden burger.jpg

Gardenburgers don’t even try to taste like real meat. They’re shaped like burger patties, but no one is ever going to mistake them for actual ground beef. And hey, I love them. (Well… as long as I’m not craving an actual burger.)

But these guys, on the other hand:

boca burger.jpg

Ugh. I think they’re supposed to taste like actual burgers. And hey, maybe they even come somewhat close. But there’s just something “off” about them — the texture, the flavors, all of it. They just don’t taste right.

Yeah, they’re disgusting. And now, I have scientific proof why:

It’s because of the Uncanny Valley of Meat.

One thought on “The Uncanny Valley and Why Boca Burgers Are Disgusting

  1. I would have to disagree with you on your perception of the taste of Boca Burgers and Garden Burgers. It is all in the eye of the beholder. I have been a vegan for just over 30 days, and have come to love the substitutes afforded to me. Before, back 20 years from now, you could only maybe find maybe a stale rice cake. Now a days there are so much more varieties and add ons that can be created to give the burgers more flavor. Veganaisse (instead of mayonnaise), vegan cheese, lettuce tomato and avocado along with other toppings, like 3 bean chili and hot sauce that can make almost anything edible. Of course, if you spent your life eating mostly meat, than this will be a big transformation to undertake. However, if you leave yourself open to trying and experiencing new things, might just be shocked what you may find. There are endless possibilities. Most recently I switched from a Ben an Jerry;s brand quart ice cream to a So Delicious vegan brand that would put Ben and jerry to shame. As with anything new, it will definitely take tome and research to find the products that work best with you. Good luck brother,

    Mike

    P.S.
    when cooking these purgers, you need t tee out of your comfort box snd find ways, or lack of better words, beef it up. It can be done and the taste will impress you.

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