As I mentioned in my first impressions post on Dive 1, the concept of artificial intelligence (AI) is a central concept to Baldr Sky. For a short background: artificial intelligence in Baldr Sky comes in two forms: the inorganic AI, represented by the Baldr System supercomputer in the basement of Midspire; and the biological AI, represented by Eve and her subunit in Seishuu Academy, Mother. Once artificial intelligence was discovered, a technological race began between the two AI systems, the goal being an AI possessing qualia, believed to be the mark of similar intelligence that humans also possess. By the time of protagonist Kadokura Kou’s high school days, the biological AI managed to obtain qualia, leaving the Baldr System obsolete while Eve becomes responsible for managing the daily lives of the Union’s citizens.
However, the distrust for artificial intelligence runs deep: sympathizers to the anti-AI cause have come up with “Alienist” as a slur for those who depend on AI in their daily lives. Even some those who rely on AI for their daily lives have doubts towards the AI. Things only get worse when the Grey Christmas occurs – did the AI governing the Assembler and Gungnir’s security system run berserk, leading to the tragedy in Kurahama City? Are the AI actually plotting against humanity?
If you haven’t caught on yet, Baldr Sky’s conflict hinges on a central argument in the philosophy of AI: the strong AI vs. weak AI debate. I’ll spare the details as I’m no expert myself, but the fundamental question is whether an artificially-intelligent machine can actually understand the decisions it makes – can a machine that responds to the user in Chinese sentences when spoken to in Chinese actually understand the conversation? Baldr Sky takes a step further and asks: can two completely different intelligent beings remove the gap in understanding between them?
The short answer that Baldr Sky gives is yes, humans and AI can come to an understanding. But there wouldn’t be a blog post if it was that simple, would there? What makes Baldr Sky special is how it arrives at that answer. And what a long ride it is.
(Spoiler Warning: I will be spoiling the whole of Sora’s route in this post. Needless to say, turn back now if you’re planning on reading Baldr Sky in the future.)