Tuesday, April 03, 2007
從阿童木到大衛 From Astro Boy to David
阿童木中表達的對新科技的反思，令我想起另一部探討智能機械人與人類的微妙關係的經典，史提芬．史匹堡Steven Spielberg根據史丹利．寇比克生前所留下的80頁劇本改編的科幻電影作品《A.I. 》(Artificial Intelligence / 人工智能)。21世紀的地球，溫室效應令冰山溶化而被海水淹沒，人類只能依靠擁有人工智能的電腦系統和機械人來維持生命，小機械人大衛被其中的一個人類家庭收養，作為替代他們死去的兒子。大衛被貫注以人類的性格，在人類之間中長大，最後被養父母遺棄，經歷了一段非比尋常的心路歷程。
*【小白獅】：ジャングル大帝 / Jungle Emperor Leo / Kimba the White Lion。1950年開始在《漫畫少年》連載，1965年推出日本第一部彩色電視動畫片集(富士電視)， 1967年劇場版獲威尼斯影展銀獅獎。1997 年手塚製作室重新製作99分鐘日本版的劇場版，現時最新劇場版DVD是2001年版。2006年香港國際電影節中亦曾放影。
**【藍寶石王子】：リボンの騎士 / Princess Knight。1953年出品的日本第一部少女漫畫，在《少女組》連載，1967年開始播出電視動畫版，80年代香港無線電視430兒童時段重播。
***【小飛俠阿童木】：鉄腕アトム / Astro Boy / 鐵臂阿童木 / 原子小金剛。1952年，漫畫開始在《少年》雜誌長篇連載，直至1968年。1963年推出日本第一部國產電視(黑白)動畫片，在富士電視開播。
The shopping arcade near where I live always has a special decoration theme for each seasonal holiday, and this Easter is no exception. The place was transformed into an astro-fortress last week, ready for the opening of the "Osamu Tezuka Comic Classic" Show in April.
Among the famous Japanese comic and anime masters, Miyazaki Hayao is the one I know best and like most. On the other hand, Osamu Tezuka is a master of the previous generation to me. Except for the anime "Kimba the White Lion*" and "Princess Knight**", I did not have a chance to see any other of his work until recently, including the famous classic "Astro Boy***".
Osamu Tezuka is no doubt the greatest master and the most important figure in the comic and anime history of Japan. Humanism is the main theme through out all his works, and made him one of the most respected anime masters. His all time classic, "Astro Boy", was among the first to look at the interesting but strange relationship between intelligent robots and human in the future.
I studied Computer Science in University, and even had drilled into the topic on Information Retrieval using Artificial Intelligence in my Master degree thesis.Discussion related to A.I. robots would be my cup of tea. Recently I have browsed through the "Astro Boy" comic (2004 Hong Kong translated version) in the children"s library. Supposed to be born on 7 April 2003, Astro Boy is a steal-built robot child with human intelligence and emotion, and has all the human virtues including being innocent, kind, brave, and never give up. Not only can he communicate with human, but also helps human in solving all kinds of problem. However, as Osamu Tezuka himself has said, the main theme of "Astro Boy" is not about how new technology could benefit human, but how the negative impact due to the abuse of new technology destroy human relationships and create conflicts in the society.
The interesting points of view by Osamu Tezuka remind me of another movie classic on robot-human relationship, "A.I." (Artificial Intelligence) by Steven Spielberg based by the 80-page script by the late Stanley Kubrick. In the movie, the earth was flooded by the melted ice-bergs in the 21C due to global warming, and the mankind had to rely on the A.I. computer system and robots in order to survive. David the robot child was adopted by a human family as a replacemnt for a dead son. David had all the human characters and emotions, grew up with human beings, but was eventually abandoned by his human parents, a hard time and terrible experience to any human child.
The technology nowaday is still far from being able to create an intelligent robot like Astro Boy or David, but has been making good progress. I have known a few friends who are Robotic Engineers. They all feel excited bout and long for the coming of the A.I. Age. As a computer software engineer, I fully understand the excitement and contented feeling on the successful mastering on a new advance technology. I guess building a robot with close-to-human A.I. will be the ultimate dream of many engineers. Am I longing for the A.I. age to come? I really don't know. But what I am sure is that I would prefer real human beings as friend.
Advance in technology does make life much easier, and there is no right or wrong in technology itself. What worry me most are the human beings that master the new technology. From time to time, I could not stop wondering, what do we need an advanced robot for. As an expendable slave? an invincible war machine? or simply as a trustworthy friend or love to replace the human one? If they do have human intelligence and emotion, what will be their feeling towards their human masters ?
Towards the ending of the movie "A.I.", it was turly heart-broken to see the sad David waiting two thousand years for the lost love from his human mother.
* “Kimba the White Lion” : ジャングル大帝 / Jungle Emperor Leo. First published as a comic series in 1950 on the “Manga shonen (Comic Teen)” magazine, later a colour anime (the first colour TV anime series in Japan) in 1965 (Fuji TV). In 1967, “Jungle Emperor” the movie received a Silver Lion awards in the Venice Film Festival. A 99-minute-long Japanese version of the movie was re-made in 1997 by the Tezuka Studio, and was shown in the 2006 Hong Kong International Film Festival.
** “Princess Knight” : リボンの騎士. First published as a comic series in 1953 on the “Shojo club (Girl’s Club)” magazine, and a TV anime series started later in 1967. The series was broadcasted for the second time in Hong Kong in the 80’s on the TVB 430 childern’s channel.
*** “Astro Boy”：鉄腕アトム. Published as a comic series from 1952 to 1968 on the “Manga shonen (Comic Teen)” magazine, later a B/W anime (the first TV anime series in Japan) in 1963 on Fuji TV.