By the time the year 2054 rolls around in Warner Bros.' Surrogates, we'll all be relying on robotic avatars to take our place in the real world. But if you ask Radha Mitchell, who in the film teams up with Bruce Willis to portay FBI Agents who must solve a murder in this future utopia, she'll tell you that the film's robotic disguises aren't really that much different from what many of us are already involved with online today.
"The concept is so timely and related to how we live," explains Mitchell. "What I was impressed with was the social commentary in the script and graphic novel. It certainly comments on the way we live already in the way we spend so much time on Twitter, Facebook, and even the way we can now Skype with each other. If we substitute real connection or real communication, we'll lose some of our humanity. That is what the movie alludes to and challenges us to deal with."
Continued Mitchell, "How much of this technology do we want to accept and how do we want to use it? Those are the questions this movie asks. Actually, 10 minutes ago I was in a robotics lab at USC where they had real robots. It was kind of a relief to see they were still very rudimentary of where technology is right now. The potentiality is certainly there; it's the ethical questions we have to address now before we have the technology that changes the way we live as a species. Those are mind boggling issues."
It seems those are issues are moot by this future since surrogates are commonplace and literally run like well-oiled machines.
"They are very convenient to use," Mitchell says. "You can disguise yourself; the surrogate is a veneer between you and the worlds. Basically you can sit at home in your chair and a robot can perform all your menial tasks. It can go to work, go on a date, or anything you'd do in your normal life. As for why you'd want to do this, it's totally safe. You get the false sensory experience of what it must feel like because you are hooked up to this robot. The murder mystery of the story is where somebody figures out how to kill the operator by destroying the robot. It's the first time in the history of the surrogates that has occurred."