As modern technology develops, and robots move from factories into our homes, how will human beings interact with these machines? Can lifelike robots provide a substitute for human affection and even stimulate emotions of love in human beings? In this new science-fiction world that blends psychology and engineering, what actually defines human presence?
MECHANICAL LOVE examines the contemporary interrelationship between robots and humans, explaining the differences between a "humanoid" (a robot in the shape of a human being), an "android" (a robot that looks and moves like a human) and a "geminoid" (a copy of an actual human being). The film profiles Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, an engineer at Osaka University who has created an eerily lifelike robot facsimile of himself, which he introduces to his wife and daughter; meets with Professor Takanori Shibata, the inventor of "Paro," an electronic baby seal; and interviews a physiotherapist who explains how such interactive "pets" are being used as therapy in retirement homes.
Filmed in Japan, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the U.S., MECHANICAL LOVE reveals the amazing worldwide advances in robot technology, the changing nature of the relationships between humans and their machines, the social benefits and dangers, and the universal human desires to love and be loved.
★★★ “Thought-provoking... a film that may be nonfiction, but feels as if it could have sprung from the minds of sci-fi scribes Philip K. Dick or Brian Aldiss. Recommended.” —K. Fennessy, Video Librarian
Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival
2008 Seattle International Film Festival
2008 One World Human Rights Film Festival
2007 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
"Intriguing... compelling."—Leslie Felperin, Variety
"Fascinating... the technology is jaw-dropping."—Washington City Paper
"A solid stepping stone for further thought and discussion... captures a future possibility where robots aren't cold, killing Terminators, but rather tools for people to find happiness, focus, and purpose."—Cinematical.com
"Fascinating... an unsettling and enthralling look toward the future of the human heart."—Doug Jones, Los Angeles Film Festival
"The kinds of experiments shown in the documentary return us to the origins and myths of artificial intelligence." —Artificial Life