Have you already read the review of episode 5 of Alicization? You can find it Thu
Following the premises thrown in Ocean Turtle, the viewer is subjected to an in-depth explanation of the context of this narrative arc, proposing various controversies and revelations that clearly distance the series from the "videogame" aspect and bringing it closer to the science fiction aspect .
The last episode ended with Asuna in comparison with Kikuoka at Ocean Turtle, the operational base of the Rath in which they are conducting experiments with the technology of the Soul Translator and it is with this comparison that the narration of this episode opens, with an understandably angry Asuna about to question the government official about the current situation.
Kikuoka tells how Kazuto's brain damage is irreparable for modern medicine, explaining how Rath, through the Soul Translator, actually has the only technology in the world that can repair the young man.
The basic idea is to use the Soul Translator to stimulate Kazuto's Fluctlight by inducing it to generate a new neural network, effectively repairing the previously damaged one. However, the process takes time, state-of-the-art technologies and constant high-level medical care, which Rath is dealing with directly.
Once reassured Asuna, it is up to Rinko to ask his questions, this time regarding the actual work of Kikuoka and his structure and the reason why this work required Kazuto's specific participation in the project.
Having verified that both women are familiar with how, in principle, the Soul Translator works, Kikuoka proceeds to explain to Rinko, Asuna and to us the public what the goal of the entire project is: the creation of a bottom- AI multipurpose up.
Kikuoka elaborates further on the concept, broadly explaining the difference between top-down and bottom-up approaches in the development of artificial intelligence: the first replicates intelligence through the preventive programming of experiences and knowledge according to which artificial intelligence acts and approaches situations, essentially representing the most common type of AI.
The top-down AI, however, being programmed through previous knowledge and experience, are unable to react appropriately to anything that is not part of them, therefore their intelligence is limited.
The bottom-down approach, on the other hand, consists in building a neural network that replicates the constitution of a biological brain, using billions of "neurons" that generate autonomous intelligence, in the same way as a human being, so as to be able to react to situations unexpected and new learning from them and creating experiences and knowledge through natural evolution over time.
This structure is, however, practically impossible to reach from a technological point of view except thanks to the discovery of the Fluctlight, the biological essence of consciousness and the human soul, which the Soul Translator can scan and copy digitally.
Kikuoka therefore reveals that thanks to their research Rath has successfully managed to copy the soul of a human being.
Discovering this Rinko is surprised and confused about the reason why his experience in the field is required at that point of the project, since he seems to have already reached a decisive phase of his goals.
Here we are explained the unexpected error that the company had not considered, an error represented by the substantial difference between the copy of a human being and a real AI.
Rather than with words, however, Kikuoka decides to show what he intends to say with his words, making us witness a conversation between Higa, his collaborator, and the copy of his Fluctlight.
In a disturbing and gruesome scenario, we see the researcher trying to explain to his copy that the latter is not trapped in the Soul Translator but that it is, in fact, a digital copy of the real Higa.
Being a perfect and total copy, however, the Fluctlight is unable to accept this reality, being unable to conceive the existence of two copies of itself and to be a digital version, with memories and feelings of the original, of another person .
This causes the artificial neural network to collapse autonomously in just over a minute.
Kikuoka explains that this process was repeated with absolute certainty in each digitally copied Fluctlight, regardless of the person who served as the original sample, thus defining it impossible to create a functioning AI by copying an already existing consciousness.
The logical conclusion, therefore, is not to use the fully formed conscience of a human being for one's project, but to grow one from the beginning.
Rinko immediately disputes the possibility of doing such a thing, as it is impossible to create an exact copy of the real world that can act as an environment in which these consciences can develop autonomously, a challenge to which Kikuoka responds immediately by emphasizing that the ideal technologies that can compensate and act as a solution to this problem are already existing and widespread: the VRMMO worlds.
Using the Seed Rath he created villages and geographic landscapes by converting them to be used by the Soul Tranlsator, to then use four staff members as parents who grew up to the age of 16 3 Fluctlights copied from as many babies and then reproduce in turn creating, in accelerated time of 300 weeks corresponding to XNUMX years in Underworld, a real simulated civilization.
Despite the maturity reached by the Fluctlights was more than optimal to produce the bottom-up AI that Rath desired, however, during his civilization Underworld saw the birth of the Church of Axiom which created inviolable laws and rules such as the already seen imposition of do not cross the border into the Dark Territory, the ban on murder, and so on, collected in a code that we know is the Index of Taboos.
What Kikuoka highlights is that unlike the real world, where despite the existence of laws, they are occasionally broken by some individuals, the inhabitants of Underworld diligently observe and respect every item of the Index without ever leaving the parameters set by the Church, creating an almost perfect utopia.
While Rinko does not understand the problem of this type of behavior, Asuna deduces that the intention of Kikuoka was to create AI capable of carrying out murders, contrary to what Kazuto previously deduced about their use for training purposes, an end too trivial to require such a structure and such use of resources.
Kikuoka confirms the girl's suspicions, stating that the intent of the project, which has occurred since the moment the Nerve Gear was proposed to the public, is actually to replace the use of human beings in war situations, entrusting autonomous vehicle driving to AI and mobile paraphernalia.
Kikuoka continues his explanation on how the perplexity of the reasons why the citizens of Underworld blindly followed the Taboo Index led him to devise an experiment to verify what in Fluctlight pushed this behavior: blocking the memories of a real human being. , causing him to regress to his childhood and then insert it and grow it into the Underworld to see if he would be able to violate the code of law of the Church.
To do this, however, someone with so much experience in moving and living within a virtual world would have been necessary to easily remain there even regressing to an infant, which is possible only with years and years of continuous experience, making Kazuto and his two consecutive and uninterrupted years of life within Sword Art Online the perfect candidates.
The scene shifts within Alfheim Online where Asuna explains to the remaining members of the group what Kikuoka explained to her, including what we have already seen in the first episode regarding Eugeo and Alice who, according to Kikuoka, managed to break the Index by circumventing the addresses of protection through his intent to help the dying knight, giving priority to another life rather than to the Index.
Alice is therefore the type of entity that Kikuoka and her team are looking for and which, coincidentally, bears the name of their goal: to transform a Fluctlight into an "Artificial Labile Intelligence Cybernated Existence" or, in short, ALICE, from which the name "Alicization Project".
At the end of the long explanation we find that in addition to Rinko, who joined the project team, Asuna was also given permission to stay in the facility to stay alongside Kazuto, together with the nurse Natsuki Aki, who already during the case Death Gun had assisted him clinically.
Rinko is however troubled by Sword Art Online's direct involvement in the situation and asks to be able to confer privately with Asuna, eager to confide her role in Kayaba's acts.
The woman reveals that she had a device inside her body that, officially, would have forced her to collaborate with the man but that, in reality, she knew it was not working but a deception hatched by the man to prevent Rinko ended up involved in lawsuits once the SAO matter was over.
He later began to tell his story, how their initially working relationship had become sentimental and how he had, because of his feelings, failed to kill Kayaba once he started Sword Art Online.
The episode ends with a sentimental note: Rinko, when he wakes up, sees Kayaba in front of him, only to disappear once he leaves the room, asking the woman if that was a dream or a hallucination.
Episode 6 is the classic episode of "big revelations", in which we are given explanations about the context of the series and how the protagonists fit into it. For this reason it does not present concrete tension or action nor does it advance the plot in a tangible way, but thanks to a good pace and well-judged directorial choices, the huge explanation is more engaging and less verbose than it could have been.
Compared to the original Light Novel, the possibility of connecting to a public network and entering Alfheim has been added, allowing Asuna to confide in her companions, a choice probably aimed at keeping the supporting actors involved, although it may clash with the high level of confidentiality of the information at stake, while the conversation with Higa's Fluctlight turns out to be much more chilling thanks to the use of distorted sounds and the visual change of the monitor that shows its conditions, effectively showing the rapid and violent collapse of the human mind , albeit only in a digital copy.
Regarding the actual content of the episode, three big questions are answered: why does Underworld exist, what is the purpose of the Soul Translator and why is the involvement of Kirito important.
The answers are quite realistic, and it is not difficult to imagine that in the face of such technology, a government could actually set in motion such a project to revolutionize the idea of war by removing the need for human soldiers.
The most important aspect of which we are aware in this episode is the fact that entities such as Eugeo, Alice, Selka and all the characters seen so far in Underworld are, in essence, real human beings, albeit in digital form, and for how abstract the concept may be, some ethical discussions emerge, which emerged from Asuna's episode.
Although many can make this "activist" side of the character turn up their noses, we must not forget the direct emotional involvement of both Asuna and Kirito, who have adopted a real AI as their "daughter" and therefore cannot that being in opposition to the cold and questionable idea that, despite being copies of human souls, Fluctlights are simple machines only because of their lack of a real body.
The name of Alicization is also explained in detail, although it sounds a little too convenient that Alice coincides with the name of the final phase of the experiment, ALICE, and it would not be surprising to find out that it is more than just a coincidence in the future.
Aki's presence again shows Alicization's willingness to put together and coordinate everything that was previously introduced. The most interesting scene of the last part of the episode is undoubtedly the conversation between Rinko and Asuna.
The conversation was certainly necessary, and it is not difficult to imagine why Rinko is persecuted by his past: his intention to kill Kayaba, which ended in nothing once it was time to act, makes her indirectly responsible for having authorized Kayaba to eliminate thousands of innocents .
Nonetheless, it's interesting to see how that single event parallels AI's inability to break the Taboo Index in Underworld and, realistically, killing someone should be difficult, especially if he's a loved one.
Even Asuna without rancor towards him is realistically understandable: the situation in Aincrad has allowed her to grow and live a part of her life with Kirito on the one hand, on the other is an event of the past that, however unforgivable, cannot be repaired.
Nothing told or the revelation of Kayaba's social isolation before Rinko entered his life changes the light on the tragedy that occurred, and the desire to redeem Kayaba even partially seems to be absent but, on the contrary, these flashbacks seem to suggest a emotional detachment such as to contribute to the decision to force other people to complete his childhood dream, making us discover more about a character who had been mostly sidelined in the first season, despite the great resonance throughout the series.
Being a totally expository episode, the technical quality of the anime is not able to become the protagonist of the episode, not presenting anything striking either from the point of view of the actions or from the visual or landscape point of view.
The same can be said of the sound that, apart from in some cases in which traces of the old seasons have been reused to recall the past where necessary, turns out to be here without infamy and without praise, doing well as an accessory to what the episode is in intent.
This episode marks the end of a small parenthesis in the real world, which according to the original material shouldn't be seen for a long time anymore. From episode 7 we will return to Underworld, this time in a new light, with a little more awareness of the situation.