A scientist in charge of a project that could usher in a bold new era of technology begins experiencing signs of mental illness that may indicate the onset of schizophrenia, but could be the bold first step in merging man and machine in Rainer Werner Fassbinder's mind-bending sci-fi classic. The "Simulacron 1" project was designed by The Institute for Cybernetics and Futurology to predict the events of the future with uncanny accuracy. Though the benevolent scientists in charge of the project envision the "Simulacron 1" being used to improve living conditions for all the people of planet Earth, other, less altruistic people see it as a source of unparalleled power. The future of the project comes into question, however, when its mastermind, Professor Vollmer, dies unexpectedly. Attributing his death to suicide due to his strange behavior in recent weeks, institute head Herbert Siskins quickly places the capable Dr. Fred Stiller in charge of the project. But it isn't long before Dr. Stiller, too, begins to display signs of mental instability that seem to indicate the early stages of schizophrenia. Now, the deeper Dr. Stiller immerses himself in the project, the more he begins to see signs of life in the electronic 'identity units' of the "Simulacron 1." As the "identity units" begin to take on the appearance of someone he knows, the line between technology and humanity becomes indistinguishable.