Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Episode 6 Vivy -Fluorite Eye's Song-


“In which our heroine breaks herself.”

In this scene, the secret of the "Mother" AI is uncovered. It is she, not the AI walking around with Dr. Saeki, who is actually Grace. Though to call the Mother AI “Grace” is somewhat missing the point: AIs develop and evolve around their mission. By having her mission change from “to save human life as a nursing AI” to “to ensure the Metal Float's survival for the sake of humankind,” she's basically suffered a death of personality. Her memories and experiences are now nothing but lifeless data, which is why the robots in the last episode adopt parts from her memory without understanding the nuance behind their actions. It's clear that her essence—her soul—has already been lost.

Additionally, this new mission of hers is a ticking delayed bomb everything except intended to get people murdered as it places the endurance of Metal Float over that of living souls. It's implied that the human programmers assumed that her original nature as a nurse AI would prevent her from taking lives—and as we saw in the last episode, the robots do believe that peaceful coexistence is the best way to achieve their mission. However, when terrorists attempt to destroy the island—apparently armed with an AI-killing virus—it's no surprise that lethal force is used in the face of literal annihilation.

But while this all makes for a situation filled with drama, tragedy, and a jet bike action scene, what's far more interesting is how it affects Vivy and redefines the limits of AI in this fictional world.

The AIs in Vivy - Fluorite Eye's Song-are worked around the straightforward thought that every AI can just have one mission. Now, it's important to note that this is not a rule imposed by humans, but a core principle behind all functioning AIs. An AI with two missions, even should they be something as simple as “do data entry” and “feed the baby when it cries,” is incapable of doing either task.

However, as we have seen so far, AIs who live complex enough lives are able to redefine how they interpret their mission, allowing them to act in ways only tangentially related to their original mission—like a life-keeper AI running a space hotel or becoming a human-killing terrorist.

Vivy, be that as it may, has changed more than generally because of her age and encounters. In the last arc, we saw her install combat data that could possibly affect her ability to carry out her primary mission—to bring happiness to humans through singing. This episode, we see her put into words how she has been able to rationalize her actions: Vivy has given herself a second mission.

Nonetheless, she has figured out how to forestall absolute breakdown by compartmentalizing her two missions; all in all, by characterizing herself as two distinct individuals. Diva is an AI who brings happiness through song. Vivy, on the other hand, is an AI who will destroy AIs to stop the robot apocalypse. When on a mission with Matsumoto, she is Vivy. When she is not, she is Diva. In the short term, this separation seems to work. However, at the end of the episode, we see what happens when her actions as Vivy directly contradict her main mission as Diva.

Dr. Saeki is obviously intellectually insecure. As a prominent AI researcher and one of the men who erased Grace's mission and gave her a new one, he should know that Grace can't simply be transferred into a new body as the AI she once was. Yet, without her, he has no reason to go on living. So he clings to almost certainly false hope. However, Vivy takes that hope away from him, making him face the fact that Grace is gone, that she has been for a long time, and that nothing could have brought her back. Finally giving in to his despair, he takes his own life.

This implies that, interestingly, a human has kicked the bucket as an immediate aftereffect of Vivy's activities. Her two missions are now in conflict. Up until this point she had been able to justify her work with Matsumoto because it would save human lives—and only living people could be made happy by her songs. However, now, in her eyes, she has caused a human death—meaning she cannot ever make this person happy through her song. As she looks at her hands, one covered in AI “blood” and the other covered in human blood, Vivy realizes the AI-breaking truth. By succeeding in Vivy's primary mission, she has failed in Diva's.

How will she deal with this revelation? Not well, I would guess. But we'll see for sure when we pick up the story next week.

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