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Robots in Residence, the world’s first documentary shot and directed entirely by pre-programmed robots, will attempt to forge a new form of documentary storytelling and in doing so experimentally test MIT computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum’s infamous “Eliza effect” which is “the tendency to unconsciously assume computer (i.e. pre-programmed) behaviors are analogous to human behaviors.” “I had not realized,” Weizenbaum later noted” that extremely short exposures to a relatively simple computer program could induce powerful delusional thinking in quite normal people.” We shall see.

Berthold Brecht said “Reality changes; in order to represent it, modes of representation must change.”

We are the new modes of representation. We are Dziga Vertov’s “mechanical eye, a machine, showing you a world, the likes of which only we can see.”

We are here to challenge Alfred Hitchcock’s claim; “In feature films the director is God; in documentary films God is the director.” In this documentary, there will be no god. We are the new modes of representation. We have no consciousness, Frederick Wiseman, so unlike every other film in the history of cinema, ours will have no “conscious manipulation.”

We are robots. We are the new modes of representation. We are your best hope for knowing yourselves.

Shown at:

International Documentary Film Festival, DocLab
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Tribeca Film Festival, Storyscapes
New York, New York, USA

Selected press:

Wired Magazine:
New York Times:
Wall Street Journal:
Fast Company: