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experience management and the uncanny valley

James Cameron, in previewing scenes from his new movie Avatar during preproduction, was looking at a digitally-rendered version is his lead actor, who in the story had been transformed from a paralyzed human into a tall, strapping, blue-skinned alien. Above all else, James needed for this scene to feel real. 

It didn't. 

And so he found himself in what is called the uncanny valley, in the world of artificial intelligence and robotics. This is the place where things seem almost right, almost true - almost believable - but there's something weirdly wrong. And so the effect is ruined.

Sound familiar? 

It should, if you're in business trying really hard to create personalized, personal, interactions with your customers. There's a limit on how authentic your love for your customer will feel to the customer. And that's the standard, isn't it? You can fake love (most companies do), or you can really feel it (some companies do), but neither of those matter as much as what the customer him/herself believes.

How do you get customers to believe your passion for them is authentic?

I'd be happy if you joined the CEM Professionals Group (that's the exact name, not to be confused with the other Customer Experience Management Professionals Group) on LinkedIn, and tell me what you think.

Here is a hint of my point of view: mimicking "love" or "humanity" has the wrong goal. The goal should not be to mimic (copy), because the result will always be compared to what we know is authentic (consciously or unconsciously), and any consistent difference will be noted as a failure. The goal is not to copy "love" or "humanity", but to create a learning relationship where subsequent interactions combine relevance and surprise ... [Surprise? Well, that's a surprising addition.]

More about the uncanny valley here and here.

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