Morning Screenings in Toldi Cinema for High-School Students

November 5-7, 2008

In 2008 once more, Student Verzio invites students to discuss and challenge contemporary issues via documentaries. Recent releases will be presented at special morning screenings with follow-up debates. This year’s selection of films puts forth complex issues which provide an excellent floor for discussions and debates: robot ethics, generation next, and globalization.

Mechanical Love
Phie Ambo / Denmark & Finland / 2007 / 79 min
Student perspective

I didn’ like this movie, because I think people are just waisting time with these robots. Robots cannot substitute people and they haven’t got real feelings. They can have a lot of problems all the time, and they don’t help the people, they just make so many problems. Sometimes they can help old people because they don’t feel alone, but I think a real pet is better than these robots.

I think a robot cannot substitute, for example, a friend or a parent because the robot isn’t real and it is not made of blood, it hasn’t got real emotions. I wouldn’t have a good relationship with a robot because it hasn’t got thoughts, it has a brain which is made of metal.
Personally, I think that is a very bad thing to make robots which look like humans.

When I saw the first minutes of this film, it was interesting for me to watch a human-like robot, how he acts, talks, moves. However, it was frightening too, because the film was operating with slow music, which made me feel a bit strange. It was also strange for me to see what our future will be 10 or 20 years later. I’m not sure that I would be happy if androids or geminoids were part of my daily life.

The idea is good to make a film about this thing. But I don’t think that’s the most important problem to solve. We don’t need androids, robots and things like those. As for me it’s about substituting people for robots, not just people, but animals and everything, and it doesn’t go a long way. So this topic is totally pointless.
Gergely KURCZ

It is indeed amazing what scientists can do nowadays. However, I think it’s also sad and unnatural that these old ladies need a baby-like robot to be happy. That’s too much. A seal can be lovely and funny, but if it’s someone’s greatest pleasure in his/her life, then it’s a sad thing. I don’t think that we should give up on these ladies and give them toys, rather we should try to find the reasons why they are sad or unsatisfied, and not treat them as if they were children.

In my opinion this film or movie was boring. What I’m trying to say is that for a person like me, who’d rather watch a humorous type of film or one with loads of action in it, it was not so interesting, and I was not amused. However, it may be just me and others had a good time watching it. These human-like robots made me feel weird and scared.

I don’t like the idea of people being replaced by robots. But people are curious and I too wonder how much such a contraption will be able to do in the future. The part with the granny and Paro was good for something though. I never wanna be like that. (I’m pleased my Japanese is improving. I could understand a lot.)

As for me, androids cannot replace humans. The robot toy called Paro was cute and I find it very useful, because it can really improve some elder people’s brain activity.
Although a seal robot is cute, the android is very embarassing, it can only show one feeling, and I couldn’t see that light in its eyes which all the humans have. No doubt the Japanese inventor of the android is clever, but at the same time I really feel sorry for him, because he wants the android to replace him in his own life, because he just cannot cope with the problems of his life (being a dad, being a husband and being a scientist at the same time).
To sum up, the film was very thoughtful, because we got a closer view of all the people’s lives who are so keen on working that they tend to forget to live normally.

The film was interesting. I think the new technologies are breathtaking. Paro was cute but I would kill it if it wasn’t quiet. As they said they have made lots of mistakes but I think in 20 years this technology will be perfect.

I think these kinds of robots will never be able to replace real humans, and I think about all the features – their appearance is too strange, it will hardly be more similar to humans in the future, I suppose.
Maybe the robot pet is a good idea for old people, but as I could see them I felt sorry that the robot had brought them ( or only her) more joy than real friends, real people.
Eszter TÓTH

The animal-robots shown in the film are a really good idea and in my opinion they can make sick or old people’s days better. But the human robot is a very useless and bad idea. If we start to create biorobots or cyborgs they will cause situations that we could’t solve.
László BARTA

I think this robot technology could be perfect in 20 years’ time. Humans won’t be afraid of the robots who look like an original human, but these robots will never become human.
I think the seal project could be a success in the future. And many grandmas and children will find their partners in these nice robots.

I think it’s all about feelings. For somebody it’s the same when you talk to a robot and live with it but for others it’s very different.
For old people it’s good when they have nothing and they live alone but they can’t take care, for example, about a pet. So for them it can be good because they can talk to them, they can pet them. But I would never buy a thing like that. For me it’s too strange.
I like animals, they have feelings, but this robot has no feelings. It’s a real object which can ’talk’.
And for little children it can be good too, because they love plush animals and talking babies. So it can be a nice present for them. But as I said I would never buy it.
Alexandra KÓMÁR

While I was watching this documentary I felt like a 25th century girl because I’ve never thought that the world includes these kinds of people who can develop a human-like robot, which fact is a little bit dangerous for me or disturbing, but I can say that it’s amazing... Congratulations!

Teachers: Éva Judit BALOGH and Anna HADZSY

I think this film was scary. If I think about the future I feel scared. I hope there is no more creation like that. The film tells us that there is emotional contact between robot and human. We saw the old grandmother who could not stop loving her robot seal. I think this is not real contact because a robot seal has no heart.

This film scared me. I could not live with a robot, what looks like me. I think developing technology is very scary. A few year from now the world will be full with robots, so the human emotions and normal human life will disappear. I am sure human feelings are not subtitutulable with technology.

I think this documentary film is about our life. And robots don't change human people. The robots haven't got emotions. And I think it is a bad idea to make human/like robots. A robot is a object and it isn't same as a person. Aif somebody creates a brain or a heart for the robot, the robot will still not live like people, because robots have no feelings.

The film was very interesting. In the film were a lot of questions, but were a lot of answer, too. It was about the relationship between the robot and man. I'm happy because the little girl did not like her robot father, because I did not like him, too. I don't want to live in a world, where the man and the robot live together, but when I saw how happy was the old lady with her robot seal I thought it would perhaps be good.

I think this film is giving us some questions about the future, the love and the being (ie. existence). Maybe in the future we will not be able to tell that somebody is flesh and blood or robot.
But at one time, when you grow old sometimes you can feel alone and think the robot is very lovely. You can love”someone” and it's enough to be happy.

I think the film showed to us that machines can't substitute the heart. Older people can be happy if they have a machine animal, but in real life they could not live with a machine. Robots just cannot substitute real people.

Robots cannot substitute human beings. I think there never will be real relationship between a machine and a human being, because inventors can do everything but they cannot program real human emotions in a machine. But there are people – mostly old and sick people – who believe they can receive love from a robot and this makes these lonely people happy. And I think this is the only good thing in this project.
Zoé Fanni ÉBER

In my opinion the film was very exciting, because I find the future with robots very interesting.I think the robot seal was not special, only the humans found it enjoyable. I think the Japanese are very smart and they will be able to a robot very similar like a real human.

I think if I meet an android I will be scared first. But I can imagine that I can make a human relationship with a robot. In future will the robots substitute the humans? In my opinion the love is a two way thing and love connects people so I think robots will never substitute the humans.
Bianka BÁNFI

I liked the film because the topic is really interesting but it was very scary too. The man who made the robot which looked like him was very breathtaking. It’s a very big breakthrough. It needs developments but I think it will happen in our generation. But one problem will never be solved: it can’t fell love. So I can’t imagine that it will live a full life. The seal is a good idea for old people or orphaned children who don’t want to be lonely.

I think that the film was quite interesting but after a while I felt bored on it. As they said in the end of the film they make mistakes in the research. That’s true because I would never imagine a robot without seeing eyes and these humanoids didn’t have webcams in their eyes. Weird.
Mihály SZABÓ

Well, I guess it’s quite hard to decide if robots are good or bad. The grandmother was cute with the robotic seal. In her age it’s very hard to live alone, but as she has got the seal she felt happy. The robot made her feel, she could communicate with it somehow, suddenly a deeper relationship was born between them. They could share their emotions. The gemeinoid was scary. It wouldn’t be good in the future if these controlled everything.

These geminoids are a major step forward in science. They are very realistic from outside but everybody knows that we can’t find a soul in a circuit. The robotic seal may substitute a pet, because the elders find it very impressive and loyal to them, and they don’t need any treatment. It’s a fact that robotic science is in its infancy, but its future is bright. We don’t know what scientists will achieve.
András SOÓS

The film made a lot of questions in my mind. These robots look like humans, but have they got human feelings? Outside they look like a human, but have they got a heart inside? The old woman looked like an orphan, she hasn’t got any relatives, but she loves a robot seal. She loved it, but does the robot love her too? These questions moved in my mind when the film ended.
Balázs KELE

To my mind, robots could be quite useful for people, but just for work. They are mechanical things, they will never have emotions like a human has. It’s unnecessary to make them more and more human-like. They are strange for people, they will never be able to move, articulate like us. Real animals can return feelings, mechanical ones never will.
Nikolett SZIRBIK

Robots are made of metal, electrical wires and a program. No matter what, they will never be able to make a robot feel. Of course they can write a program, big, complex and difficult, they can ’tell’ robots what emotions, reactions they must have in a situation, but that isn’t really what we call ’feeling’. Our emotions are instinctive and subconscious, we don’t need to learn them. We, human beings have a soul, robots don’t, and never will. That’s the big difference.
Szilvia LANTOS

The film was very interesting, it’s a big breakthrough that robots can replace humans. Some people can’t bear that a machine is alive, but on the other hand, for some people robots make life easier and happier.

It was a little bit scary, I think. I felt strange when I was watching this film. We know that a robot can’t feel anything, but we don’t know what this means, for example for an old, sick lady. She can love a little android. Most people have friends and family, but how is this ’love thing’ with the lonely people.

After watching the documentary, I feel a bit afraid. If I think about the fact that in the next hundred years on the streets there will walk robots that look like humans, I think it’s a bit unfair with real people. It woull be a bad game with people’s emotions. If a human falls in love with a robot, what then…? So I don’t think human-like robots would be a good idea.
About the other robot, Paro, I can say I liked it. In my opinion, it could help lonely people. It is not as serious as the geminoids. I liked it.
Péter SOÓS

I think this documentary asked an important question: Is it ethical to create a robot which looks like a human being? Well, I think it is not. Robots will never replace the human brain and humna feelings. Although these robots are practically smarter than people, they will never think, or consider a problem. Machines shouldn’t get into our private lives, because we will never be able to have a real relationship with a robot.

Teachers: Ms Anna Hadzsy and Katalin Gádoros

I think the problem which the film is about can become the problem of the future. Today we can distinguish a robot froma living creature, but the development of the robots is only beginning. In the film we saw that Paro can substitute a pet in some families. For me its a moral question because the robots have no feelings, they only have reactions. So in real life a Paro cannot take the place of a pet. People need love and robots cannot issue love.

I usually like robots but in this film I did not like them. This film changed my opinion about the Japanese. I never thought they were making geminoids or robot seals. It was a disgusting feeling to see the old woman emotionally connected so closely to that robot seal. The seal moved like a real thing and the old pensioner saw real feelings behind the robot programme. Those emotions drove her nutty and anti-social. Robots will never have real feeling, only humans can have them.

I think this film is terrible and frightening. I’m sorry for the people who do not have family and parents and they talk to robots. I agree with the little girls who does not accept the robot as her father. A robot will never be a man. Perhaps this film was made because other people suffer from loneliness and robots can help.
Henrietta GÉCZI

I think this film was not very interesting. I know much more about robots industry – the only interesting thing for me was the gemonoid with skin. The other robots were quite primitive. Otherwise it was terrible to see the way the old woman behaved with the robot seal. But the robot seal technically was no novelty. There are many similar toys in the market.

I think this film was interesting. It was interesting to see how the old woman behaved with the robot seal, Paro. The old lady was not interested in what the others thought about her. She loved the seal as it were her child.
The geminoids were also interesting but a little weird. And the women geminoids looked much more alive than the man geminoid.

I think this film was interesting. It was interesting to see how different people behaved with the robots. I think our future will depend on the robots. Maybe the humanoid/geminoid robots are not the best choice, because people are scared of them, but they might help us discover our world and our universe. I think we should not be afraid of the idea of robots.
Szilvia TÓTH

I find this movie grotesque and weird. The old lady is taking care of the toy seal as if it would be a real animal. The main issue in the film is whether robots can be living organisms? And whether people can love or have real feelings for a lifeless object/ Can robots substitute people?

The most interesting issue of this movie was that scientists started to find out about humans through robots. We all know how hard it is to know what a human being is. Otherwise the film also showed our future we are progressing towards: the future when the androids will look like humans.
On the other hand a robot can be annoying to somebody while it can be the last hope of happiness for others. Even so, in my opinion an android will never substitute a real person.

The film is about a science project. Japanese engineers and psychologists want to create a geminoid, a human-like android. For me the most interesting questions they asked while working on the project were “how do we create a smile?” or “how do we know we are talking to a human, when we are using a cell phone”. These questions lead us to the main question: “What is a human being? What makes a being human?” Over a cell phone, for example, appearance means nothing. Maybe there is something in the voice on the other end, or the order of the words and sentences. At the end of the film the project leader asks his daughter to meet with her father-look geminoid father. The father was talking to her but the girl could only see the geminoid. When the father asked her to touch “his” body, the girl could not do that – she was aware that the geminoid was not her father and she was afraid of the geminoid. The film made me think about the “human factor” and the robot world.
Márton FÖLDI

Teacher: Katalin GÁDOROS

End of the Rainbow
Robert Nugent / Australia & France / 2007 / 84 min

Kalinovski Square
Yuri Khashchevatski / Estonia & Belarus / 2007 / 73 min

Ideas and Summer Camps / Koreszmék és táborok
Klára Muhi & Ágota Varga / Hungary / 2007 / 57 min

Alone in Four Walls / Allein in vier Wänden
Alexandra Westmeier / Germany / 2007 / 85 min