「Political Strife in the Colosseum」
Honestly I don’t know whether it’s good or bad that I have no idea where Psycho Pass’ latest season is heading. Halfway through (and several fights later) and it’s still unclear just what the specific point of contention is going to be or how Sibyl will be challenged yet again. Not as though the ride isn’t immensely satisfying obviously, but with so much unknown and only so much remaining time hard thinking something won’t give.
Considering how deviously Psycho Pass was playing up the mystery surrounding Karina I was suspecting a twist of some variety, but going full AI doppleganger? Now that’s something I never saw coming. For a series embodying the purest strains of cyberpunk—monolithic, totalitarian-esque control, the minimization of individual human life—it’s a good fit however; similar to Deus Ex’s Eliza Cassan, Ma-Karina is the logical outcome of social science and media influence. If people can be prodded into a certain direction by charismatic individuals through certain words, ques, and visual appearances, why even bother with the flesh and blood middleman and not just go straight for automation? It’s the very thing near-future Manchurian candidate and alien imposter nightmares are made of, and given the electorate choice here it’s not hard seeing why. When all it takes are a few pleasant words and a pretty face to gloss over the awkward truth, you can get a good idea for how critically minded human societies can be in practice.
Of course Karina and her AI “assistant” are only the tip of the iceberg as our veiled trio in Bifrost increase in prominence. Thanks to some name dropping we know they’re tightly linked with Akane’s incarceration for example, and that it involved the death of another currently unknown Inspector. Even now it’s unclear just what Bifrost’s objective is, but their deliberate public reveal of Ma-Karina and desire to notify Sibyl of its existence certainly raises some interesting thoughts. Will Sibyl tolerate the existence of an artificial mind capable of doing what it does? Can Sibyl simply let Karina be after that reveal? It’s a tough call, because rejecting Karina’s election would imply Sibyl’s fallibility—i.e. can make uniformed or incorrect decisions—while accepting it shows tacit approval for competing systems. In either case it opens the door for someone to offer a different system, one which may (or may not) improve upon Sibyl’s demonstrated weaknesses. This probably isn’t what Bifrost is exactly after mind you (total control doesn’t seem to be their main interest given shady gambling and choice of meeting location), but considering their movement in this direction and Akane’s involvement, you can bet the truth is not that far out of sight.
We’ll just have to see what our inspector duo and their newfound evidence wind up revealing.