The relationship between man and machine has always been a complex one. Humans seem to have an implicit need to create in our own image. Whilst at the same time, we’re profoundly suspicious that our designs will one day want to become our overlords. This love/hate relationship has been captured on the big screen many times. However, advancements in technology means that yesterday’s science-fiction is today’s reality. Hi, AI looks into the way humanoid robots are becoming part of everyday life.

Chuck is collecting his new sex robot partner, Harmony, from the factory. They’re going on a road trip together and he’s determined to establish a relationship between them. In Tokyo, grandma Sakurai is given a very special present by her son. Pepper is a companion robot who he hopes will keep his aging mother company. Whilst Chuck discovers that having a fully compliant ‘partner’ maybe isn’t actually what he wanted, Pepper is struggling to find stimulation.

Hi, AI is an interesting and thoughtful look at the role AI robots are set to play in our futures. Whilst most of the benefits are obvious, Isabella Willinger’s film also looks at the downside to this new relationship. Both for humans and the androids. The more life-like they become, the more ethical and moral questions they raise. It’s a difficult and complicated issue, but by using two examples and setting it against an overall narrative Hi, AI provides a fascinating insight.

Hi, AI screens at Sheffield Doc/Fest on 10 & 11 June.