Can robots substitute human affection and can robots make people feel love?
Mechanical Love is a documentary on the interrelationship between robots and humans. The film portrays a number of people who in different ways enjoy a close relationship with a robot. Among them is an engineer, who develops robots with the sole aim of making people love it. We meet a child who patiently nurses a demanding robot doll and we meet an old man who desperately seeks to keep his memories alive through talking with his robot Paro the baby seal.
The film takes us from the high temple of robot technology, Tokyo, Japan, to Genoa in Italy, to Uppsala, just north of Stockholm, and on to San Francisco, USA. This world tour seeks to highlight the human need for love and our craving to be loved by others – perhaps the two most important aspects of life. The film also examines the cultural differences in how we accept emotional robots in the East and the West.
Phie Ambo was awarded the world’s most prestigious documentary award at the Amsterdam Film Festival in 2001 for her documentary Family.