Plastic Memories examines the possibility of humans bonding with artificial life (Anime)

By James Whittle
By James Whittle |

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In a futuristic world, human-like androids with emotions serve as companions to humans. The droids have an AI technology called Giftia that replicates human emotions perfectly. 

But they only have a lifespan of 81,920 hours (about nine years and four months); after that, they quickly deteriorate, losing their memories and personality in a way best be described as AI Alzheimer's. The company that makes them has a Terminal Department that retrieves androids nearing their expiration date, and deals with their owners. 

The show follows new recruit Tsukasa Mizugaki as he learns the duties and the incredible hardships that come with working in the department. His first case is heartbreaking, as an elderly woman refuses to give up the android that is like a grandchild to her.

The show is a bit of a tearjerker, but thought-provoking, too. While Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates have voiced their fear of AI, and the possibility of it meaning that humans aren't necessary, Plastic Memories examines the possibility of humans bonding emotionally with artificial life, and whether AI at this level equates to a living being. 

It will be interesting to see where this series will go in terms of the three laws of robotics that Isaac Asimov put forth so many decades ago (and if you haven't read Asimov, or watched Bicentennial Man, do so, stat; I mean it, go). 

The show is being streamed online for free on Crunchyroll. Make sure you have a box of tissues close by, as there will be tears.