So many questions and I can’t quite work out my answers yet.
[Summary/no spoiler zone]
I’m aware that there are some negative issues with the first few episodes of the show but I confess to not having done any research on them because I wanted to watch this drama on a clean slate.
From a perfectly fresh start, I actually really enjoy this drama and I like how watching it brings so many questions to my mind about AI. It’s certainly not an original storyline, but the fact that it was pre-produced certainly shows through in the way that the pacing of the episodes is consistent. I’m also entertained by the constant AI vs Human debate that goes on in the comments section as well as in my brain.
If you enjoy a (for now) light-hearted rom-com, sci-fi kind of show, then this will be right up your alley. You will not find much to complain about the acting too! Just try and pull through Episodes 1 to 4 and tell yourself that while you may really want to punch Kang So Bong/disagree with her morals/whatever, Episode 5 and 6 wouldn’t be that difficult to stomach.
Right from the start, I think it’s interesting to see how Laura Oh is s a mother of both Shins – a natural mother for one and a creator for the other, and how her feelings for one takes precedence over the other.
Many of the comments I read pointed out that you never know when Shin will reprogramme himself and take on an evil agenda. But what I see right now is an AI robot that is build for love and functions on love – this is why he will never harm humans and he hugs them when they cry. He = compassion and he doesn’t know otherwise. Even in Episode 6 where the gym sidekicks fling themselves at him, he merely sidesteps and pushes them rather than exercises any real moves.
Therefore, is the situation of AI versus human, Robot Shin versus Human Shin really so simple as just a robot/a metal versus a human being and hence, necessarily inferior? Robot Shin being a stickler to the rules and driving safely – that is definitely one up the humans aint it? He will not speed, and he will not cut lanes dangerously. For this I will take Robot Shin over humans any day. Imagine roads full of Robot Shins – there will definitely be less accidents! No more drink and drive! No more impatient driving and hasty turns!
The danger in this show is making us fall in love with a robot while fearing its demise – and this emotion itself is the true highlight of the conundrum with working with AI. It is so ironic that our feelings towards each particular AI robot really depends on the stance which the drama or movie wants to take and to shape our views. If the AI is depicted as the enemy now, surely we will not be so sympathetic towards robots and even feel sad that there is a kill switch within Robot Shin. It is cruel yet realistic of the mother to remind herself that Robot Shin is just a robot. It is also maternal of her to feel guilty for neglecting her real son for 20 years while being consoled by a robotic one. But – in this whole scenario, no one has ever thought from the point of view of the ‘just-a-robot’ guy. Laura Oh was selfish towards her own son, but she was equally selfish towards Robot Shin, and that seems to be something she herself can’t grasp because he’s just a robot to her.
Actor-wise, this is my first Seo Kang Joon drama and he’s SO good. I love the little nuances in his eyes and I even replayed a few scenes just to watch his changes in expressions – from how he looks so forlorn when Young Hoon chastises him for turning on the lights in his room (omg Lee Joon Hyuk is such a gem here too), to how he feels left out and lost because his mother doesn’t care about him anymore, to how he switches from Robot Shin to Human Shin when the grandfather sees him and So Bong sprawled on the grass together right till that kiss at the end of Episode 6 where he himself feels something from the kiss. Can I just ask though – whose brilliant decision was it to combine these two actors with such mesmerising eyes??
And I’m not quite sure as well where is the line to be drawn between Robot Shin’s personality and Robot Shin’s algorithm. Could you say that his cheerful personality is merely a code input by the mother who always wanted an obedient son? Or the fact that he is so kind is in fact who he is as a metal rather than any true characteristic? But I’m sure that if anything, as the show develops, Robot Shin will also start to gain his own takes on life. The things that even his own mother/creator could not foresee, Robot Shin is starting to understand and learn for himself.
I love that little twist at the end of Episode 6, although I’ve already suspected from the little smirks Grandpa has been giving that he isn’t really senile. My guess is that he’s trying to be weak right now so as to weed out his enemies but we shall see his true plans as the drama unfolds!
I like where this is going and I’m SO GLAD we are over the phase of So Bong being utterly annoying (if this review was written for Episode 1 to 4, the tone would have been so much more focused on our female lead…but since it’s clear that it’s a stage to get her close to our male lead and also to set some backstory as to her ‘greed’ for money, I shall let it pass). Now, I shall hopefully sit back and watch as this romance story develops, all whilst pondering over my questions about AI.
To my mind right now, Robot Shin is just like Toothless in How to Train Your Dragon – eager to please, loyal and adorable like a puppy but with the swag and intellect of a dragon.