AI no idenshi (Gene of AI)
This science fiction omnibus depicting a doctor who “treats” robot and humanoid problems takes place in the near future, when humanoids with artificial intelligence account for 10% of the population. The main character, Dr. SUDO Hikaru, also has the undercover name Moggadeet, under which he secretly takes on illegal medical procedures. For example, for a man who inadvertently infected his humanoid wife with a computer virus when illegally backing up her data, SUDO proposes an operation to rewrite her memory using backup data. Could an existence replaced by backup data truly be said to be the same as it was before? YAMADA depicts a theme that has been probed by many science fiction works over many years—the ambiguity that arises in the difference between humans and non-humans—from a doctor’s point of view. In today’s world, where AI is rapidly gaining attention, this story stimulates inquiry into the state of humanity and society. YAMADA also puts his knowledge from his past experiences as an IT journalist to good use in this book.
AI no idenshi is at once a science fiction story and a drama about the subtleties of life. The two are linked through necessity and never separated. It is incredible that this was achieved as a complete single story published in a weekly series. One would think such a premise would exhaust new story ideas, but one jurist was so impressed as to suggest adding another volume would make it even more interesting. Many jurists supported the selection of this story for an award. Each installment of this story deals with various social and domestic issues, but the adult spoken lines and panel layouts that keep a little distance from principles and opinion make it possible to read between the lines in various ways. The story can be read as a depiction of a future that has passed the point of AI singularity, and one can also see the sadness of we humans who live as a part of society in the form of the humanoids who have been obliged to live “like humans” with restrictions placed on their normally working functions. This is a science fiction manga that I believe should be read widely. (SHIRAI Yumiko)