Steins;Gate 0 Ep. 2: Signs and representation

I personally think Amadeus is dangerous to Rintaro. I’m jumping the gun, though. Let’s get started… 

— Someone in the audience wants to know if it “[crosses] the limits of medical science” to transfer a person’s memories to an AI. I thought he meant ethical limits, but apparently not. He continues, “It’s impossible to transfer digital data back to a human brain.” First, why is this is a concern? If we’re only worried about crafting a realistic AI, then why do we care about putting the data back into a person’s brain? Second, nobody thought it was possible to transfer human memories to an AI in the first place. Why would you automatically rule out the possibility of going in the opposite direction?

— The objector then incredulously asks, “What’s more, the lead writer was a 17-year-old woman?” Ah. He’s not actually a genuine skeptic. He’s just in the story to represent some farcical strawman of a skeptic. A real scientist would just test the AI and come to his own conclusions rather than make a fool of himself in front of everyone.

— Nevertheless, Rintaro leaps to Kurisu’s defense, which makes this guy wear a really dumb look on his face.

— Anyways, an image of Maho appears on the big screen, because these researchers have also placed her memories into Amadeus. I’m not sure why it also needs her face, but I suppose this adds to the simulation.

— Afterwards, Rintaro marvels over Amadeus’s capabilities: “It even reacted emotionally and had an imperfect memory for no reason.” Hmmm. Hmm. I have a lot to say about this, but I’ll wait till the end of the episode.

— I’m actually quite interested in the concepts being thrown around thus far, so I kinda missed why Maho starts blushing around Rintaro. I guess it doesn’t really matter. I don’t really care how she feels about him on a personal level. Steins;Gate can be pretty interesting at times, but the Rintaro’s relationship to anyone other than Kurisu has never really interested me whatsoever.

— Anyways, Maho admits that it isn’t possible at the moment for them to transfer digital memories to the brain, but Rintaro remembers something that Kurisu had mentioned to him. He repeats this back to Maho, which makes the girl wonder how he could’ve come up with such a theory. He finally reveals to her that he had known Kurisu.

— As the two reminisce over Kurisu, our hero can be found genuinely laughing. This might even be a mini-breakthrough for him. On the other hand, Maho is suddenly in tears. But don’t instantly assume that this is bad for Maho. Everyone copes with loss in their own way, and maybe she still needed to cry over Kurisu. We shouldn’t deny our emotions; we just have to make sure they don’t negatively impact our lives.

— At this point, the foreign professor walks up and asks if Rintaro had done something to Maho. He even asks our hero if he could see a “Japanese dogeza.” Yeah, I had to look up the word “dogeza.” It’s already a Japanese thing, so I’m not sure why the subs added in “Japanese” as an adjective.

— Anyways, after learning that Rintaro had known Kurisu, the foreign professor suggests that our hero go ahead and meet “her.” Oh, you know “her.” At this point, you have to wonder if this is wise. Rintaro hasn’t exactly gotten over her death. There’s a danger that he could become fixated with a copy of the real thing. And a copy is just a copy… actually, it could be worse.

— Maho warns that Amadeus has a the potential to hurt Rintaro, especially if he was particularly close to Kurisu. That’s ominous. Still, the memories it has of Kurisu are old. In other words, even if it’s copying Kurisu, it’s copying a Kurisu that has never met Rintaro. Ah, but what if the AI catches onto the fact that some other version of Kurisu had met Rintaro, so it can still take advantage of him anyway? Ooh, the plot thickens.

— Maho: “You’ll be made to realize that you can’t change the fact that she’s gone.” There’s where you’re wrong, bucko! Rintaro can change that fact! He just gave up in this alternate timeline!

— Meanwhile, Rintaro speaks from experience when he adds, “…people who spend all their time experimenting lack a human touch.”

— Finally, Rintaro gets to meet the AI Kurisu… and like before, it has her face and voice. Again, that’s a bit odd and not odd at the same time. Like, does it really need to copy those traits about her? Only if it really wants to copy the real deal as close as it can, huh?

— This AI can even tease Maho about Rintaro, much to the short girl’s chagrin.

— Right off the bat, Rintaro asks Amadeus if it’s possible to build a time machine, and the AI gives a different answer than what we had previously heard from the real deal. See, therein lies the rub. The AI simply has her memories and from that her personality, but it doesn’t mean it also has her reasoning, her intellect, her brain. It has its own brain and its own capabilities… just simply flavored with Kurisu’s memories. This is not Kurisu. To a certain extent, it’s not even close to the real Kurisu. You could give me Einstein’s memories, but that doesn’t mean I can start lecturing about theoretical physics.

— When the AI makes fun of Rintaro’s English, he slips back into his old self: “Shut up, Christina!” But nobody in the room knows why he just called her Christina. This is supposed to be a humorous moment, but I think it also gives the AI a very important clue. Even though it has no memories of Rintaro, it can reasonably guess that he must have been very close to a version of Kurisu. Knowledge is power.

— So the professor wants Rintaro to talk to Amadeus regularly in order to gather data. He allows Rintaro to opt out, but really, you know there’s no way that our hero would. Is this healthy for Rintaro, though? Hm.

— As a result, Rintaro now has a pocket tsunderekko. He can simply converse with Amadeus by tapping on an app on his phone. How convenient.

The amount of icons on that desktop bothers me.

— Afterwards, Mayuri tells Rintaro all about her plans to cheer Suzuha up. It apparently involves a Christmas party, which seems a bit vacuous to me. Rintaro, however, is a bit distracted for obvious reasons, and the girl can sense it too.

— Eventually, Amadeus rings him up and gives him attitude over the fact that it took eight tries before Rintaro finally picked up. Nevertheless, AI Kurisu’s tsundere attitude brings back a flood of happy memories, and the guy can’t help but weep in public. He gets to have the girl back, but does he? Ooh, it’s dangerous to think that he does.

— Porn is often called hyperreal, because although it is a simulation of sex, it is a representation that can distort our own perception of the real thing. This is different from, say, an impressionist painting, because you’d never look at a Monet and go, “Man, that’s what real landscapes should look like!” But we do look at porn, and go, “Oh man, I totally wanna call my partner a dirty, little whore while plunging my 10-inch shaft into her holes!” Real six isn’t like that. Even porn stars don’t go home and have porn sex. So what am I getting at? It’s important to distinguish between a simulation of Kurisu and the real thing. Presumably, Amadeus has its own needs, wants, and thought processes. After all, it has its own “brain.” It doesn’t have Kurisu’s brain. Again, it has its own “brain.” All it has simply done is borrow Kurisu’s memories and personality traits.

Rintaro thinks he’s talking to Kurisu, but he’s talking to something that is quickly gathering data about him. The AI knows that if it exhibits certain aspects of Kurisu’s personalities, it can draw out certain responses from Rintaro. Whereas Maho is careful to treat Amadeus as its own thing, Rintaro is understandably not so cautious. When he goes, “Yeah, this moody, blusterous, and exceptionally curious sore loser is without a doubt Makise Kurisu,” I just wanna go, “Whoa there, buddy! Hold your horses!” Granted, he’s still dealing with a lot of baggage. He still misses the real Kurisu terribly and bears the guilt of allowing her to stay dead when he could have kept trying to save her. Nevertheless, this is what makes Amadeus so dangerous. How smart is it? More importantly, what does it want? Can it use Kurisu’s appearance to further its own aims? Is it advanced enough to do that? Amadeus can become even more Kurisu than Kurisu ever was. If it knows that certain aspects of her personality can have such a powerful effect on Rintaro, what’s preventing it from amplifying those aspects to an exaggerated degree? So like porn, Amadeus can become hyperreal. It can become a distorted version of Kurisu that is its own truth… meanwhile, Rintaro can’t help but think he still carries a bit of Kurisu around with him. He can be fooled into forgetting what Kurisu was really like, because he’s so happy with the simulation.

— It looks as though Mayuri can sense that Rintaro is keeping something from her, and she seems dejected. I wonder what’s truly bothering her, though. I get the sense that maybe she wants him to lean on her more, but I could be wrong about that.

— I think the ED could be alright with a faster tempo.

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One Reply to “Steins;Gate 0 Ep. 2: Signs and representation”

  1. Welp; this is turning into an anime version of the movie “her;” which is a good thing mind you as that means this season of Steins;gate can be potentially compelling

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