TED's funny film imagines if bots will need therapists in the future

Original short by Mother London premiered on stage at TED in Vancouver

Published On
Apr 15, 2018

Editor's Pick

Will the robots of the future be so sophisticated they get depressed? It's an idea Douglas Adams explored in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" with Marvin the Paranoid Android -- and now a funny original film from TED imagines if they needed therapy.

Created by Mother London, the film, which premiered last week at TED's conference in Vancouver, stars well-known U.K. comedy actors Rebecca Front, as a therapist, and Hugh Skinner as a depressed AI bot called Archie. Front's character explains that robots have evolved from doing menial tasks to taking on human bodies and doing amazing stuff ("They cured cancer. They re-froze the Arctic") but now the third generation have grown up privileged and miserable, "gravitating to fields such as art and DJing."

Skinner gives a hilarious performance as a character who spends six months a year in Bali and has his own line of toe-rings, while his mother at his age had performed 10,000 heart transplants. Chris Vernon and Emerald Fennell directed the film.

It's one of a series of films by TED that are designed to help bring TED's theme in 2018, The Age of Amazement, to life, by being both entertaining and thought-provoking. After its debut at the conference stage, the content is going online to drive traffic to TED.com and TED's social profiles.


Apr 15, 2018
Brand :
Client :
Agency :
Writer :
James Ross-Edwards
Director :
Emerald Fennell
Director :
Chris Vernon
Judith :
Rebecca Front
Archie :
Hugh Skinner
Robot 1 :
Monet Huie
Robot 2 :
Jo Jo Pearson
Producer :
Josh Hillman
Director, Photography :
Benjamin Kracun
1st Assistant Director :
Emma Pounds
Production Design :
Jessica Sutton
Hair and Make Up :
Sally Miura
Wardrobe :
Naomi Hodgkin
Casting :
Ali Fearnley
Focus Puller :
Paul Joseph Dain
Loader :
Stephanie Kennedy
Gaffer :
Richard Burnell
Visual Effects Supervisor :
Jon Trussler
Sound Operator :
Will Morely
Production Assistant :
Georgie Orpin
Art Assistant :
Carlota Cabera
Playback Operator :
Mickey Richards
Digital Imaging Technician :
Huw Caddy
Grip :
Jack Jackson
Lighting Technician :
Thomas Northam
Runner :
Charlie Woods
Editor :
Myles McAuliffe
Visual Effects :
Coffee & TV
Grade :
Simona Cristea
Music :
Jon Clarke
Music :
Sound Director :
Jack Hallett
Sound Director :
Factory Studios
Design :
Jon Gregory
Agency Producer :
Yuki Yamakado
Assistant Agency Producer :
Julia Fish
Strategist :
Imogen Carter
Legal :
Evan Graham
Legal :
Rollo Price
Executive Producer :
Mike Clear
Executive Producer :
Matt Craigie Atherton
Executive Producer :
Ana Balarin
Executive Producer :
Hermeti Balarin
Special Thanks To :
Danielle Moudaber
Special Thanks To :
Special Thanks To :

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