Artificial ended its third season this week with a bang. The season arc reached its climax after the twists and turns with audience votes determining the path of the story. It's a show that could only be work on Twitch. The series follows a group of scientists as they create artificial intelligence in the form of a robot and try to guide its education and evolution towards sentience. The Twitch audience is invited to vote and ask questions that can influence the course of the story, the decisions the characters make, and the decisions the AI makes as well, often changing the direction of the story. They even helped create two supporting characters from scratch during the course of the third season.
It is a unique and massively ambitious show that was streamed live every Thursday with sometimes tens of thousands of viewers watching and voting. To review the show is not just to look at the story, but also the viewers' votes turn the whole thing into a social experiment. If this was happening for real, the whole thing would be an ethical quagmire. Even within its fiction, it's already ethically dubious, and the characters just barrow on ahead anyway because fiction.
The show raises questions about free will, sentience, and whether Ais can be human. It constantly debates whether an AI can be dangerous and if the experiment should be allowed to continue, especially if there's a possibility of the AI committing murder. In the season finale, Lilith (Tiffany Chu) the robot has escaped her confines and gotten into a car driven by persons unknown to who knows where. The team scrambles to find out who took her, where she's gone, what she might do, and how much danger everyone is now in. Lilith has begun live-streaming and asking the audience for votes on how she should be when she surpasses Humanity.
Head of the company Sebastian (Stephen Chang) orders this team – project lead Elle (Chrissy St. John), amoral psychiatrist Ruby Thatcher (Jennifer Field), and his Head of Security Kira (Alejandra Reynoso) to find out who helped her escape and set up the livestream. Is it his rival industrialist Zander Cruz (Dante Basco)? The recently-fired Justin (Justin Lee), who was already caught trying to bust Lilith out? Could Elle's ex Asher (Devon Werkeiser) have been involved somehow? Is it the ethicist Carmen (La Trice Harper), who had been arguing against the dangers of AI? Or could it be AI scientist Matt Lin (Tohoru Masamue), who built the original
The final episode of season 3 is probably the best because of its brisk pace as the characters race to hunt down the errant AI. Where previous episodes had awkward pacing when the scenes got repetitive as the characters often repeated the same conversations twice too many times in the course of each 2-hour livestream episode. Not so the finale, which had a greater sense of urgency as the characters raced against the clock to find Lilith before she vanished into the wild forever. The ending, decided by viewer votes, is satisfying and leaves the show completely open to another season if Twitch decides to do it.