Talk to your kids about…
Robot and Frank
Several high tech companies have started thinking seriously about developing robots to care for the aging baby boomers. For more information read: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=robot-elder-care
A rare copy of Don Quixote is one of the items Frank and Robot steal. How does Frank’s life mirror that of the literary character? What similarities do Robot and Quixote’s sidekick Sancho Panza share? Read the full text of Don Quixote online at Project Gutenberg or visit your local library.
What care giving challenges does this film raise? How do Hunter and Madison’s involvement in their parent’s life differ? Should Hunter be able to make a decision to introduce robotic care despite his sister’s objections since she is not providing any help? How does their differing opinions about Robot affect their sibling relationship? What similar issues do real families face when considering care for their aging parents?
Although Robot repeatedly reminds Frank that he is a machine and not a real person, what does the script do to make Robot seem more human? How does Frank project his desires for human contact onto Robot? What adaptive technology would have to be in place for a robot to be able to provide this kind of care to a client? How do you feel about the ethics of robot vs. human care? Would you be willing to take orders from a machine?
Although technologies such as text messaging make for quick and easy communication, they are yet one more way human contact is declining. What other ways does this film portray? Are Madison’s brief calls (even though they contain a visual) the same as a visit? How are people developing “relationships” with their technology today? What impact is that having on real friendships? Consider all the ways you can go about your daily activities without ever having to have direct interaction with another human being. (I can go the bank, buy gas and groceries, check out books from the library, get supplies at the hardware store and wash my car without ever having to talk to a person.) Do you think this is healthy or not?