Alice Cares

(Ik ben Alice)
Netherlands 2015. Dir: Sander Burger. 76 min. DCP

By 2050, there will be four times as many octogenarians in the world as there are today; the majority will require care. How can we continue to meet the health-care needs of our rapidly-aging population? Enter Alice, a prototype of a social robot, or “carebot,” developed by researchers in the Netherlands to provide companionship to the isolated elderly. Alice is just 60 centimetres tall, with a doll-like face, a robot body, and tiny cameras behind her blinking eyes. As part of a pilot study, Alice is taken on multiple visits to three elderly women living alone in Amsterdam. They are initially wary of Alice (“I don’t feel like having a robot in my home,” says one, “I prefer a living human being”) but as this fascinating documentary shows, the results are surprising, not least to the ladies themselves.

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Post-screening discussion with Dr. Mike Van der Loos. Dr. Van der Loos holds a PhD from Stanford University, and is Director of the Robotics for Rehabilitation, Exercise and Assessment in Collaborative Healthcare (RREACH) Lab, Associate Director of The Collaborative Advanced Robotics and Intelligent Systems (CARIS) Laboratory, and Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, at UBC.

Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.

 

REVIEWS

"[A] quiet charmer ... Unassumingly delightful."

Hollywood Reporter | full review

"Fascinating ... Brings science and sentiment together in an exceptionally moving way."

Variety | full review