It’s not a horror movie if that’s what you are thinking about.
Finding Soul is a Chinese web drama aired on LeTV in Summer 2016. At first I watched the drama because of TFBoys. However it turned out to be a good one so I stayed up the whole night to finish all the episodes.
The story takes place in 2050 when Artificial Intelligence is highly developed, technology companies produce in mass robots that look exactly like humans except for their eye colors.
These AI robots are programmed to become assistants and servants in different fields and each of them has a built-in module which rules their behaviors towards human-beings. Those rules are indeed Three Laws of Robotics devised by Isaac Asimov, in which:
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
Then a group of scientists secretly implement a program called Soul where they create super AI robots with highest IQ and almost no physical constraints. Moreover, these robots are given the right to make their own choice and have their own feelings (“soul”). To avoid the AI takeover (a scenario that AI becomes the dominant form of intelligence on Earth and takes control of the planet away from the human race), the lab installs extra code called Anti-Maximal into these AI Robots. Once the robot’s ability is at maximum level, the code would automatically activate and deplete the battery to nil.
Let’s not talk about how it’s really possible for AI robots to have feelings and why the AI robots cannot break the Anti-Maximal code himself given the fact his IQ is much higher than that of the scientists. As I know we can never expect an entertaining web drama to be like a science documentary.
Let’s just zoom in on the life stories of three robots 249, 001, 002. Empathising with these characters left me a feeling of emptiness after watching the last episode.
249: is a normal AI robots with no feelings. A woman bought him as she didn’t have any child. When 249 first arrived home, “the mother” named him Sweet Heart and taught him what it meant when she was patting slightly on his head and how he could make her happy just by holding her hands. They lived happily for a month or so until “the mother” got irritated by the fact that 249 could never become a real son like what she wanted. She ruthlessly returned 249 to the manufacturing company and there people disposed him.
001: is the very first Soul AI robot. He inherited the memory of a 15-year old boy who passed away in an car accident and therefore lived a normal life of a high school student without knowing that he was a robot. So it was kinda frustrated for him to realise the truth later. Well it’s okay knowing that you’re not human (In Saiyuki, Goku was born in a rock egg that for centuries contained the Earth’s aura and he just simply accepted it). But I guess it’s extremely painful knowing that your awareness and perception are shaped by input parameters.
002: is the second Soul AI robot. He escaped from the lab after importing all the data about Soul Program and 001 into his “brain”. He got chased from the beginning until the end of the drama even though he didn’t do any harm to humans. Before dying (because of drained battery), he questioned the scientist that created him “Why did you give birth to me knowing that I would not have a family?”. Besides, his existence lasted only a month so he didn’t get to experience this world much. How sad.
Finding Soul has 25 episodes (390 minutes in total). After watching it you may want to look for Lo And Behold: Reveries Of The Connected World by Werner Herzog (available for rent on iTunes Store at 6.99USD). The film touches on artificial intelligence, technology, and our growing interconnectivity with the “Internet of Things”.
There is also a futurologian book called Life in 2050 by Ulrich Eberl which I plan to read next week during National Holiday.
For now I’m going to end this post by a conversation between Jackson and 249 when they’re playing Go.
Jackson: What’s the difference between you and AlphaGo?
249: We are programmed to serve different purposes.
Jackson: What do you mean?
249: AlphaGo’s sole purpose is to beat its opponents. My purpose is to detect your feelings and play in a way that makes you happy, even if it requires losing the game.