Project Alicization


Kikuoka explains that the soul translator is the only thing that can cure Kirito by stimulating and generating a new neural network in his brain that was damaged during the attack.

He then further explains what the purpose of the entire project is, which is to create, from the bottom up, an all-purpose AI. Conventional AI is a top down approach where intelligence is inputted into the AI and it then adapts. But because it was inputted to begin with it can’t learn anything new.

This approach is to ‘scan’ a human soul ‘fluctlight’ from a baby and then raise that soul to learn, develop and adapt to new situations so that it can think for itself like a human brain in a VR environment much like our world. They used the Seed to create this world calling it the Underworld. The staff personally raised an original small number of these fluctlights and then after time and procreation and a population of 80k grew from that into a new civilization.

At current 480 years have passed in the Underworld and something strange occurred, a governing body known as the Axiom Church created laws, known as the taboo index, forbidding murder etc. The issue is that the fluctlights obey these rules to a T and Kikuoka wants to create AI that has freedom of thought and most importantly, capable of murder so they can be used in war.

Kikuoka continues and explains they needed someone like Kirito because they wanted to see what would happen if they placed a human, without any memories, into this world and see if they’d break the Taboo Index. But they needed someone who’s used to moving around a virtual world and Kirito was the natural choice.

They eventually did come across a fluctlight that broke the Taboo Index, named Alice, but by the time they realised, she was already ‘corrected’ by the Axiom Church.


Six episodes in and we are finally treated to the background of premise of this series. I’m actually fairly impressed with how everything makes sense and I can’t really find any holes to poke at. Everything slotted in nicely, the concept, the method and means, the end goal and Kirito’s previous and current involvement. The only ‘hole’ and answer I’m still waiting for, if you will, is who is that group that Kirito and group faced at the start of the season in GGO.

Otherwise, it makes sense to recover Kirito’s brain in a machine and world that’s been used to build up tens of thousands of human like ‘brains’, and to continue keeping him involved means to continually have a disruption there to see how a human would deal with a set of laws from the Taboo Index. After all, everyone knows rules are meant to be broken. Though funnily enough it wasn’t Kirito that broke the rules the first time, but rather Alice.

Although I can’t poke any holes at this, I’m sure anyone can think of a plethora of ethical issues that this may cause. Asuna pointed out one, whether or not these fluctlights should have rights as they were originally human baby brains. Sure they’re AI, but this just reminds me of the ethical issues around cloning as it’s similar, just that one of them has a digital body and the other a ‘real’ one.

Then you can make it more complicated and create a real body for these adult fluctlights, at least that’s how I’m assuming they’ll be going into war as. Then they become a little more ‘real’ especially from everything so far shown in the Underworld, for example if you brought Eugeo out in front of someone else with a realistic artificial body, I think you’d have an issue sending him off to die. Though I’m not going to discuss about what I think as I believe it’s down to who and what the majority think should have rights, perhaps more deeply who and what is human? I could envisage an entire PhD based on that…

This reminds me of that world that Lisa in the Simpsons created with her finger and a jolt of electricity on a tooth in some coke, anyone else remember that specific episode? I guess to add a little more into the discussion of ethics, would you give those tooth people rights? Very much alive and human like, only difference is that they’re tiny.

In other news, we go back to Kayaba’s backstory and how Rinko planned to kill him but couldn’t. I guess that’s why we need AI to do that for us right? Regardless, I feel that the anime has emphasised how distant Kayaba was from the real world, being a typical nerd recluse didn’t help. Perhaps that did desensitise him enough to continue with him plans of mass murder. Anyways as explained last episode, the original series was too long ago and I’m still not fussed over Kayaba’s background.

Moving on, looks like we’ll be diving back into the Underworld to continue Kirito’s journey.