Season 2 begins with a story that clearly reflects our current technology and its possible future iterations. We are introduced to a couple. Martha and Ash, that moves to a countryside. The story unravels fast as within minutes of watching, Ash dies from a, presumably, car accident. Martha is left in despair as she tries to cope with her loss. However, Martha’s friend, Sara, tells her of a new online service that is able to replicate Ash digitally and then proceeds to sign Martha up without informing her. On the other hand, Martha finds out about her pregnancy and decides to test out the App and things start to get ‘creepy’.
This episode portrays about the advancement of technology, of which the first level is actually being realised in today’s world. The first level is called Intelligence Texting, where an AI uses all of the online information from a human account to predict and replicate their way of texting. When Martha uses the service at first, she is chatting only through texts with Digital Ash. Our current technology has already managed to achieve 90% of this with Siri and online chatbot able to have conversation with humans through texting.
Then, the story increases the advancement with Calling. Martha tries to initiate a call from Digital Ash, of which it requires many private videos that she has to share with the AI. When Digital Ash calls her, it sounds just like him and almost nails his manner of speech.This second level is currently being in progress, with the most realistic voice being only a generic robotic voice. Martha begins to obsessively calls Digital Ash, especially when she starts going through her early pregnancy period. Her obsession causes her to ignore calls from families and her sister, essentially creating an isolation around herself.
Finally, Martha is introduced to the last stage of replication : Android. An android is sent to her house of which when activated in a bath, becomes Ash physically. He is able to replicate skin textures according to Martha’s memories. At first, Martha is exhilarated to see a physical Ash, to the point of having nights of intimacy with him. However, this is the point of change and theme of the story: that technology can never replace a living human, no matter how precise the replication is. Martha begins to realise this when Android Ash shows many traits of non-human like fake sleeping and the lack of human characters. At the end, she decides to live her and daughter life separate from him, as this is for the best.
What I love about this piece is that it depicts such a simple situation of losing a love ones and trying to replace it with technology. By the end of each part, we can see that Martha suffers due to her being unable to move on. Sometimes, moving on proves to be much better choice though a very difficult one to overcome. Every scene, storyflow and pacing is directed with attention to the mood and atmosphere. I am impressed with the director who managed to create such impactful episode from a simple theme. He also manages to relate it to us, who are currently getting more reliant on technology and isolation begins to occur between us and other humans. This also serves as a warning over our perception that technology being able to replace nature and human’s love.