[Editorial Tuesday] Technology in Anime - Looking Forward for Tomorrow

Good evening and welcome! Today we will be talking about the technology that is used in Anime. Specifically, we’ll be looking at the anime that can be helpful in our real lives.
Starting out with, where it is seen in Anime and how it works in their world. Then we'll be looking at real life examples of that technology or how that technology can be implemented in today’s society with a positive effect.

A Little Bit of Sad Truth

Starting off this short list, we will look at Giant Mecha or more commonly known as Gundam, since I know you’ll whine if I don’t address them at all. In anime like Gundam, Full Metal Panic, Code Zero and the Macross series, the Giant Mecha is used for fighting and war. When they are boiled down to the core of their existence, it is not for more than war.

However, in real life, these Giant Mecha would cost millions of dollars to build, have huge upkeep costs, and be virtually useless. I know that we are all excited about the upcoming Japan vs USA Giant Mecha battle, but don’t be holding your breath to get your own Giant Mecha anytime soon.

Okay, now onto the real part of the editorial, where we will look at the technology that can and will benefit mankind when it is finally dragged from its Anime cage and breaks into our world finally.

Our Current Level of Technology

We are currently living on the edge of a technological bubble and don’t know if it is popping or just getting started. It hasn’t been thirty years since computers have really started coming into everyone lives and mankind has been adapting to it each year. Have you got your iFruit 7 pre-ordered yet? But in this world of ever expanding technology, basic facts are being lost in the ether, never to be found again.

ghost in the shell stand alone complex wallpaper

We use Google and Wikipedia like a modern day encyclopedia, but instead of shifting through pages to find what we need to know, we look up information about what we already have. We don’t find obscure information that we never would have thought about looking for. If only there was something to give us random information or facts about a place that we see. Well, Eden of the East has an App for that.

The bad joke aside, the App in Eden of the East was able to access its database, the internet and possibly the hidden web to find out information about what the camera was pointing at. They do this by viewing the image with the phones camera, flip phone may I add, and the image that is viewed has the information displayed around the objects viewed on the screen.

A World with Eden

Now, let’s look at how this technology can be useful in real life. First, let’s start with fun applications for this App. Everyone likes games and some people like puzzles too, you could build a puzzle a scavenger hunt from this app that those who don’t have the app will be scratching their heads for hours trying to figure out the clues. This may be a little trickery and conceded, but it is fun.

A more practical use of the App would be before you move into a new town or area; you can use that same App to look at the history of the neighborhood and your new neighbors. You can find out if there are any criminals living next door. What, if any, gangs are in the area and how they have influenced your safety. This App could help you be safe and secure in your new life.

The Eden of the East’s App is something that could be really useful, and it’s not even new technology. The App is just programming on already existing technology. Currently, you can scan barcodes and find out the history of a product. Just think of that on a broader scale and you have the App from Eden of the East.

Mr. A.I. … or would it be Ms. A.I.

The next thing that we will look at is something we have already been seeing a little of, but we haven’t been able to see what it would be like if it was allowed to evolve to its fullest potential. If you haven’t guessed what I will be talking about next, I hope you are sitting in your chair biting you nails as slowly the intelligence behind your eyes meets the intelligence behind the screen and realize that the artificial intelligence that we have been seeing in Anime is only a few short years away.

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We can see how an A.I. can go terribly wrong in Anime like Ghost in the Shell, where our Major faces an opponent she can’t beat outright. When they merge in the Ethernet, we are able to find out that this foe is an Artificial Intelligence that came into existence by accident. We can see another A.I. in Cowboy Bebop when a mad satellite starts to carve up images into the Earth.

The A.I.'s mentioned above are not the worst A.I. can become. Scientists and wackjobs alike have predicted a tipping point in where the intelligence of a computer will become self aware and start learning on a curve that is currently unpredictable. We can see an example of this in Ghost in the Shell as well with the Tachikomas, Tachikomai, Tachikomadachi… hard making Japanese nouns plural… anyways, back on topic.

The Tachikomas have gained self-awareness and eventually become smart enough to worry about their own existence and eventually evolved past what they were originally designed to become.

Harnessing the potential of the A.I.

With a powerful A.I., humans can achieve great feats of discovery and invention. Earlier today, I watched as a probe from Earth passed the furthest planet in our solar system, Pluto, and the excitement of the people watching this historical event at NASA, as mankind has made another step out into the rest of the universe. A.I.’s could take over for mankind and travel among the stars, beaming back information about their discoveries.

Currently, we still have to wait 4 hours for transmissions from Earth to reach Pluto and vise versa. If something were to go wrong with the New Horizons probe, we would have been helpless to give it assistance in its time of need. If an A.I. were on board, that A.I. could take actions to help the probe and report back its situation to NASA.

The A.I. is something that we really can’t tell where it will go and drag us along. It might take us to a world worse than the Terminator and the A.I. believes that we, humans, need to be killed for their safety. Even with Asimov’s three laws of robotics, we see that robots will eventually become too smart for those laws and might see keeping us locked up as helping us.

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Living in a Robotic World

Alongside of the A.I. is another piece of technology that is currently evolving yearly. I have mentioned above Japan and USA will have a moch Giant Mecha battle in the next year or two. Well, that’s all because of how much robotics have grown over the last few years. Living in Japan, the very first piece of technology that I remembered seeing was the holographic woman who welcomed me to Japan, the land of tomorrow.

What we have seen of robotics in Anime is almost impossible to answer, since an easier question would be, what have we not seen about robotics in Anime? Well, I don’t think we have seen a robotic ant, not that I know why one would need to be built but I can almost guarantee that there is no robotic ant warrior in any Anime series. That being said, let’s look at some examples of robotics in Anime.

As mentioned above about the A.I. and their eventual rise to power, I mentioned a Tachikoma, but didn’t give you any more information on what one of those were. If you have already seen the Anime, you should be well informed on what a Tachokoma is. Basically, it is a Thinking Tank built to act like a spider with the capacity to carry a pilot or protect a victim. It would be good to have this in hostage negotiations, but outside of the police and army, I see no practical use for one.

The Importance of Robotics

So let’s look again at a different anime where robots have a heavy influence in daily lives. Edward Erick in Full Metal Alchemist is not a robot, nor is his brother the walking tin can. Ed lost his arm and leg in an alchemical accident and barely managed to make it through the night.

He had his childhood friend and Automail Mechanic make him a metallic arm and leg so he could get his brother’s body back. Automail is something that we need more than anything else in this editorial. It could help thousands of people who have lost a limb in an accident or while at war.

Unlike the technology that we currently have, the Automail acts like the owners original arm, after a little of therapy of course. It receives it’s instructions from the brain, just like a normal limb would and acts in accordance to what the user is telling it to.

Another piece of robotics that can aid our lives is the full body android, no not the phone. When humans make robots to take the place of humans, the typical idea is to make the robot more human, so it can interact with humanity without humanity being scared or intimidated by those robots. However, when we put together a robot that can look like us with an A.I. that can act like us, we can truly see where technology will lead as we soon won’t be able to tell one from another. Have you charged your batteries recently?

I find it hard sometimes to remember what I have scheduled to do today, when due dates of articles are and the name of my girlfriends mother. It doesn’t seem like a big thing to you, but she can get scary sometimes. When real life is too much to handle, I look at Kiss Anime and watch some new shows, but if I can’t find a good anime, I’ll pick up a book and read a few chapters. That’s where I saw the last item on the list and realized how it could be used in real life.

Living in a Virtual World

We mainly see this anime on game anime, where the anime characters are playing a game in a MMORPG, Massive Multiplayer Online Roll Playing Game, in a virtual world. Unlike World of Warcrack, these games have the characters interacting with their game characters through a virtual reality helmet, like the one seen on Sword Art Online. The creator of those helmets went insane and trapped all of the players in his game, great guy.

virtual reality sword art online (sao)

In the Anime Universe, we mainly see how virtual reality, VR, can be used in games for player’s enjoyment. We also see a VR in Ghost in the Shell that has replaced the traditional internet. Both states of VR take brainwaves from the user and then translates it into a digital format for the computer to understand what the user wants to do. We later see in Ghost in the Shell that virtual reality is capable of storing memories outside of the brain, encase the user has an accident or just forgets something.

The information is within virtual reach. While in SAO, we see that virtual reality can give a hospitalized child a chance to live a normal life and enjoy their last days on this world.

Currently, our virtual reality capability is the Oculus Rift and the limited number of virtual reality programs that are out there. Just like the internet, most of those programs are most likely porn. However, the Oculus Rift still requires a player to interact with a controller, or an outside medium to interact with their virtual world. Walking around in World of Warcraft while wearing the Oculus Rift may result in injury or death, no don’t jump.

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At the end of the day, we are only humans and our minds think faster than we can comprehend. They think of crazy ideas and others who you tell these ideas to will think that you’re crazy, insane or a genus, don’t know which is worse. When our ideas are shared with others, some will take your ideas and make something more out of them. Each of the technologies in this editorial were not originally set in Anime.

They were first written about in a book, you know the things that you use to prop up your iPhone when you’re watching YouTube, and yeah those have stories in them. Next year, we might see something new in Anime that may spark our imagination to create it. If it wasn’t for shows like Star Trek and Star Wars, we wouldn’t have cell phones and tablets. Anime is giving inspiration to the next generation of inventors and giving those inventors a challenge to create their childhood dream toy. I just hope that they don’t make HAL, that A.I. was a psycho.

Zack Ringler

Writer

Author: Zack Ringler

My name is Zack Ringler, just like it is written on all of my articles. I come from America, Indiana to be precise. I work for the Board of Education in Utsunomiya Japan. Heard of it? Didn’t think so. I am a teacher, writer and game designer with my first game “Moonshine Run” going on Kickstarter later this year. You can learn more about me on my facebook by looking up my name or just adding /zringler to the end of the facebook URL. Hope you like what you read, later.

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