Dr Coppelius is Silicon Valley’s hottest new inventor and entrepreneur: the founder and CEO of 'NuLife'. Journalist, Swanhilda, has arrived at NuLife to interview Dr Coppelius about his latest creation – a revolutionary piece of Artificial Intelligence which he calls ‘Coppélia’. Swanhilda has brought her fiancé Franz along for the ride.
Dr Coppelius makes his keynote address, attempting to show how his Coppélia technology can move off the screen to exist in the material world. But the presentation fails: to his frustration, Dr Coppelius cannot find a way to make Coppélia leave her screen. Despite this failure, Swanhilda notices that her fiancée Franz is powerfully drawn to Coppélia. He is distracted, possessed even.
Swanhilda’s own curiosity about the lab propels her deep into the murky web of NuLife. Leaving Franz asleep, Swanhilda sneaks off to wander the corridors, stumbling upon experiments and creatures in the depths of the laboratory.
Despite the setback of the keynote, Dr Coppelius starts the next day with renewed vigour, suspecting that Franz’s desire for Coppélia may hold the key to transcending her screen-bound existence. Swanhilda interviews Dr Coppelius for a second time and asks him why people would want to have a relationship with a robot. Dr Coppelius asks Swanhilda why anyone would want to have a relationship with a human.
The lab that never sleeps starts to party. Drunk on their own inspiration and power, the young NuLife scientists fantasise about creating artificial life. As Swanhilda plans to escape, the party closes in around her. Franz is nowhere to be seen. Stealing away from the mob, Swanhilda makes her way to the innermost chamber of NuLife, where she finds Coppélia. Swanhilda realises that she herself could provide a material body for the AI. She slips inside the machine and becomes Coppélia.
Meanwhile, Franz is hunting for Coppélia, the enigmatic screen image with whom he is now completely obsessed. Dr Coppelius tracks and captures Franz, believing he is the missing piece to his puzzle: Franz’s life force can be passed on to his creation Coppélia. Dr Coppelius captures Franz and plugs him into the machine. Coppélia comes alive and demonstrates her impeccable sophistication: she is better than human. Her power over her awestruck creator Dr Coppelius is absolute.
Finally, Swanhilda reveals her identity as an imperfect human. Swanhilda forces Dr Coppelius to face his own hubris before rescuing the lost Franz. Franz and Swanhilda leave the virtual pleasures of the Lab to face all the complications of the material world before them.