If there’s one lesson you should take away from this episode, it’s this: don’t go on a hot air balloon ride. It just leads to an identity crisis. This week, The Gene of AI revisits some of the previous Humanoid concepts and their uniquely complex elements as they explore how they affect Risa in her past and present. What it lacks in novelty, the script makes up for in high drama, which for the most part works quite well. Risa was a lovable goof in the lion portion of the season, so I wouldn’t mind seeing her take on more of the emotional burden.
Sudo’s past as a patient clarifies their relationship a lot. Sudo is said to have crossed some professional boundaries by staying in touch with her previous physical therapy background. However, it makes sense that they would bond over their common mother issues. Risa’s anger (Yume Miyamoto emphasizes the reading “she created me without asking, changed me without asking, then died without asking”) reflects a general frustration that goes beyond the brain biological or synthetic. It is the cry of those left behind to pick up the pieces that parents/previous generations could not or would not pick up on their own. Changing her infant daughter’s hair color to not resemble her terrible ex-husband is hardly a cardinal sin, but it’s still her mother’s choice without Risa’s consent. . Regardless of her intentions, it meant her daughter had to deal with the consequences on her own for years afterward. That’s so unfair.
However, fairness has little to do with how life turns out. While The Gene of AI’s description highlights all sorts of injustices, Tu Phuc experiences some of the worst. Her life is a dark mirror of Risa’s – born illegally into an abusive family through no fault of her own. In the case of Nature and Nurture, Gene seems to lean towards nature here, as Tu Fui is still fundamentally a good person despite her terrible circumstances. Killing her father was an act of self-defense that had been years in the making, and while she approached Risa to take her life, she ultimately couldn’t bring herself to kill an innocent person.
This did not stop Tu Fui from being locked up, which further highlights how arbitrary the scale of justice can be. In the eyes of the law, this case is probably simple. Risa was born first and her father illegally copied her neural network to create Tu Fui. Risa is the original. However, Risa’s original body died and she only survived because Sudo was able to transplant her neural network into a completely new body. If we assume the persistence of identity in each individual’s brain print, then Risa would still be the “original,” but now things are fuzzier. Some procedures are acceptable, but others are not. Most people agree that having a clone of someone behind their back, especially by a terrible father for selfish purposes, is terrible. But it doesn’t seem right that the clone should be punished for that. Is detention the best solution here? You could argue that this harsh punishment made Tu Fui intend to kill Risa in the first place. If there had been more paths to recovery to help these clones accept their existence and integrate into society as their own selves, Risa could have had a healthy relationship with her “sister”.
These are issues Michi is pondering for his upcoming update, and perhaps that’s why he’s so keen to get Sudo’s input. Given the physical similarity, I half expected Michi to be a clone of Sudo or vice versa, but I think Gene might surprise me with something more realistic as well. The writing’s strength is its consistent ability to tie big ideas to real, near-future concerns. Sudo has all this direct experience from finding his mother’s clone, all his cases from the clinic, and his work as Moggadeet, so he definitely gets valuable input. We tend to imagine the evolution of super AI in terms of technological advances, but ethical and social developments are equally important. They are more important when considering the future of a flawed species like ours. No amount of artificial intelligence can overcome our necessary struggle to be better and kinder to each other.
I believe that Sudo and Risa’s breakup will only be temporary. He may have only taken on this gig to better probe his other mother’s whereabouts, but finding her doesn’t mean his client will disappear. Also, the movie was great because it finally made me care about the two of them enough to want to see Sudo and Risa continue working together. All they needed was a little shared childhood trauma, and boom, I was in too. I was also happy to see Risa meet Reon for lunch. Unsurprisingly, we didn’t get any answers about whether or not Reon’s procedure took place, but the important thing is that they remain friends. That means there is still room for hope to shine through the dark clouds of technology and society.
Gene of AI is now streaming on Crunchyroll.
Steve is still on Twitter until the day it completely succumbs to t-shirt bots. You can also see him chatting about trash and treasure on This Week in Anime.