'Artificial: Remote Intelligence' actor Justin Lee mulls over whether he would have voted to deactivate Sophie
Fans of podcaster Justin (played by Justin Lee) from 'Artificial' were in for a shock when he made his first appearance on the new season. The Covid-19 lockdown has not been treating him well — especially with the guilt he carries in the wake of Sophie's (Tiffany Chu) death. In an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide, Justin Lee talks about Season 2 and just where his character is heading.
Lee has already appeared on this season of the show, but as himself, helping the audience develop this season's new character Kira — though he has not yet had the chance to meet her. "I'm gonna be completely honest. I have no idea what Kira's back story is. I'm sure the writers are working crazy diligently on that." He continues, "All that I know is it's bringing more relationship and history to the show and my character, which I think is only gonna help make it better and have more depth."
That doesn't mean he hasn't been putting in the work, preparing for her appearance. "That's a part of my job, I have to go back and do the homework," he says. "I have to be careful about creating too much that isn't there. But just like going off of the evidence, and based on previous episodes, there are definitely things that I can draw upon, including what the Twitch audience created with Kira. For example, my character is archetypally a very specific person, right? I'm more on the optimistic end, and I would imagine that Kira is on the other spectrum of that."
He also confirms that, to the best of his knowledge, this season would not have another podcast. "I think we have enough interactivity dealing with being remote, and enough challenges with being remote, and with LifeScore being a part of this show now, I don't see us coming back for a podcast this season but if Bernie [Su] changes that then you'll know."
He notes that although he and his character share a name, there's not necessarily a lot of overlap between the two of them. "There are some similarities, but I say we're pretty different," he says. "Justin has kind of a sense of naivety to him. He's the hopeful optimistic. Whereas for me as, as fascinated as I am with AI, I do tend to be a little more cautious." As an example, he talked of Elon Musk's Neuralink. "I feel like the character Justin would jump right into doing Neuralink right away. Version one. Whereas me, personal Justin, as fascinating as Neuralink is — I'd probably want to wait until version nine or version ten before joining the robot."
He then talks about where Justin's head is at, for the new season. "He shoulders a lot of the blame of what happened last season on his shoulders. He takes a lot of that responsibility. And I think you're gonna see that at the beginning of Season 3. It's gonna take a little bit of time for Justin to get back to the old Justin."
He continues, "Even then it was such a dramatic, significant impact of what happened. You have a robot that actually killed someone right? And you were on the side of that robot. So, in a way, it's like you…I don't want to say you're an accessory to the murder but there's a sense of guilt where I may have helped this happen because of my stance and my position," he says.
"So, even if the optimism comes back, I think any person in life that deals with a trauma like that is going to have residual effects. I think it just makes them more real. So if and when the optimism does come back, I still think there's always gonna be this challenge and this battle within him of having to deal with what happened in the past, and am I being too optimistic at this point? Or am I going to make the same mistakes that I did?"
No matter what, things are going to be different for Justin going forward. "There's gonna be a lot more Justin putting himself in check. And if I could say, I don't know again where the writers are going with this, but me personally, it kinda makes you understand that maybe your ex Kira was right to think a certain way," he says. "I think there might be some room right there for, for some understanding between Justin and Kira."
Despite the character Justin's general optimism, Lee has a dark answer to the question of whether or not his character would have voted to deactivate Sophie. "I think he would have," he says, simply. "It's kinda like that saying — you don't ever want to meet your heroes 'cause you don't want to be disappointed? He had so much hope and was so Team Sophie, that I think there was a sense of disappointment — and really not much towards Sophie. There's a sense of insecurity that comes in again, it's a sense of responsibility, where it's like, 'I did not see this coming'. I was so, so confident that this could not happen that I may have effectively pushed this to happen. Whereas if I took a position that was a little more realistic or a little more cautious, maybe I could have avoided this, and maybe Sophie would still be around."
Lee can also be found on the upcoming 'Sneakerheads' series also starring Alan Modelnado and King Bach. The next episode of 'Artificial: Remote Intelligence' airs on June 18, at 6 pm PT on Twitch.tv/ArtificialNext.