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In this future world it turns out that global warming has caused the polar ice caps to completely melt. This in turn has caused the sea levels to rise by quite a lot, submerging most major coastal cities. I did a quick fact check and found that if all the ice on Antarctica and Greenland were to melt into the sea, it would raise ocean levels by about 220 feet (or 67 meters). That could put a good chunk of New York City and the coastal rim of Los Angeles under water, but the point is that a lot of people would be displaced. This along with climate upheaval causes massive demographic changes which somehow leads to tight governmental population control where families are only allowed a certain number of children. Robots become useful as replacements for human functions without needing food, or for that matter much clothing or shelter. Ok, so maybe the back story is a bit shady but it sets us up for the main plot line, which revolves around the concept of a child replacement mecha.
WORM memory), does the couple have the same responsibility to it as to a real child?
The Sixth Sense. The implication is that the mecha never had time enough in this world to learn the difference between fairy tales and real life. All considered, I don't think you could ask for a better conceived plot set up than that.
One of the fun aspects of creating a new world in science fiction is exploring all the possible consequences that it might entail. We encounter pleasure mechas designed to be perfect sex partners. Inevitably, some will be abandoned to themselves and they end up in red light districts where they have taken over the prostitution business because customers prefer the robots to humans. It is also natural to expect that many people would be threatened by these robots which can so easily replace them, and so groups form which put on rodeo like shows called flesh fairs where abandoned mechas are destroyed in various ways as a hateful crowd boos and cheers. And mechas can easily be framed for crimes too.
The interaction between humans and robots has been a recurring motif in science fiction literature going all the way back to Asimov's I, Robot. This film presents a fresh and updated look at it with highly polished direction and cinematography that we've come to expect from Mr. Speilberg. It did not make my collection, but I would definitely recommend it to those who share my interest in "think" pieces.