A good-looking artificial intelligence robot is to debut on the small screen in Korea, asking what it really means to be a human.
KBS2’s new drama series “Are You Human?” takes a step into the future, featuring an AI robot as a main character. The robot -- who looks like a human -- thinks and feels emotions like a human.
Actor Seo Kang-joon will play two characters in the series: a young and rich troublemaker and an identical-looking AI robot. The robot is a stand-in for a comatose man and falls in love with actress Gong Seung-yeon’s character, the man’s bodyguard.
Gong Seung-yeon (left) and Seo Kang-joon pose for photos at a media event held Thursday at Times Square mall in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul. (Herald DB)
“During the production, I came to understand the robot, its worries and desires. Perhaps, the robot was the most humane character among all the real human characters,” director Cha Young-hoon said at a press event held Thursday in western Seoul.
He added, “By the end of shooting, I even had to ask myself, ‘How can we really tell a robot and a human apart? And what should I think if a robot really has feelings like us and loves a human?”
In the Monday-Tuesday series, the robot character is warmhearted and caring. Seo even said it is “as innocent as a newborn baby.” But the human character is cold and ignorant, with scars from the past.
“Many actors, including myself, dream of playing two different characters in one production. But I learned that it is a very confusing and difficult job,” Seo said. “In the series, sometimes the robot has to act like the human, the human has to act like the robot. They have to be different but also similar.”
Seo revealed he received a lot of help from his partner Gong. When he was confused with playing the robot and the human, Gong helped him differentiate the two, building the characters with him.
“I first wondered if I would really be able to love a robot. But as I shot the series, I came to believe in the possibility. It is realistic. I think I could love a robot,” Gong said.
Poster of "Are You Human?" (KBS2)
It has been a while since the production was planned. The director met the scriptwriter in October 2016 and decided to work on the project. The pre-produced series was supposed to air in January, but was delayed due to additional technical works.
“The series has computer graphic works like that of a film. Also, being a large-scale production, it took almost a year to film the series,” the director said. Viewers will also be able to enjoy the scenery of the Czech Republic, where the drama was shot.
The 18-part series will air its first episode on Monday at 10 p.m.
By Im Eun-byel (firstname.lastname@example.org)