In recent years, the world has witnessed technological innovations and advancements that seem to get more and more sophisticated each day. The resulting merging of technology and humanity often leads to widespread philosophical and ethical ramifications. Artificial intelligence development has superseded levels that only remained a dream in yesteryears. Every aspect of human life is seemingly being influenced by computer operations, though to differing degrees. The movie Ghost in the Shell triggers one to consider and re-evaluate human uniqueness and identity in this context.
In the movie, as is in real life today, the vision of advanced artificial intelligence overrunning the human race is entranced in a fairly realistic way. The complex film, astonishingly animated and resonant redefines cyber-punk genre. It elevates the notion of artificial intelligence to the level of human reality. By so doing, it highlights the turmoil of existence that revolves around emotions. To a great extent, it explores what makes human beings and in that regard depicts why they are unique. By taking the viewer through an existential journey of the future, it succeeds as a thought-provoking piece of work that inspires through its characteristic visual mastery.
In almost every generation, works of art including books and motion pictures, have been created to help understand the reality better. Other producers of works in science fiction have produced pieces that warned of the possibility of human beings creating sentient and intelligent supercomputers that could even threaten the very existence of their creators. In this breath, Ghost in the Shell tells of a computer program in the future, dubbed ‘Project 2501’ which becomes self-aware, and starts working towards the fulfillment of basic needs it feels are essential for life (Shirow 200). In a bid to achieve its goals, it controls people and computers, dominating every aspect of life. The fulmination concerning the cycle of life and death is just one instance of the fascinating dialog that characterizes the film. By stating that an identical image is what defines a copy, it is implied that it is very possible for a single virus to destroy a whole set of systems. That duplication does not yield variety and originality is a statement that needs a deeper understanding in order to effectively link it with what the film is about. It becomes necessary for life to sacrifice itself in a bid to perpetuate itself, something it does in diverse ways (Mizuo et al. 1998). Does this explain death? Are computers given superiority over human beings when it is stated that death leads to loss of an entire system of information and memory? It is depicted that since genes remain, the cycle is necessary for survival since the weaknesses of a system that never change are avoided (Shirow et al. 107).
Rather than just give a warning or prediction about the future, the movie largely aids in understanding reality. It breaks down existence into biological terms and through the characters therein makes one wonder if anyone really has a soul. The said characters are characteristically deep as opposed to most one-dimensional stereotypes that mainly define modern media. In a big way, the movie is a successful cyber-punk fiction which successfully explores far-fetched philosophical ideas with a well thought-out plot that critics would easily term as confusing. It brings out the nightmares of a society largely dominated by cyber-space. By questioning the meaning of life, Ghost in the Shell proves to be philosophical indeed. One would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone interested in understanding through science fiction that is not just mindless.
Mizuo, Yoshimasa and Mamoru Oshii et al. Ghost in the Shell. Lincolnshire, IL: Manga Entertainment, 1998. DVD
Shirow, Masamune, and David Leishman. Ghost in the Shell: Ii. Grenoble: Glénat, 1996. Print.
Shirow, Masamune, Frederik Schoot, Toren Smith, Tom Orzechowski, and Susie Lee. Ghost in the Shell =: Kōkaku Kidōtai. Milwaukie, Or: Dark Horse Manga, 2004. Print.