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I was wondering why the lifespan of Giftia is only 10 years, is there any specific reason for that? Something happens to their OS or what when their lifespan is complete?

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According to the Plastic Memories wikia the Giftias' programming becomes corrupt as it fails to overwrite old information after 81,920 hours of service.

There aren't any specifics for why this happens, but from an IT viewpoint this could happen either because the data storage in Giftias are designed to work for this long and it starts to break down (in today's terms, the drive starts to have bad sectors), or the storage can only be written once while the data fills it up at a steady pace over 81,920 hours, and after it's full the OS makes attempts at overwiting old data which isn't possible, but this process might the old data or even the storage itself. But of course, this is just guesswork.

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  • So it all depends upon the storage haha – Germa Vinsmoke Feb 7 '18 at 1:59
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81920 hours equates to 9 years and 4 months. Numbers that the characters explicitly state.

9, or 九, pronounced ku, in Japanese is symbolically linked to 苦. It is also pronounced as ku. It is the kanji for suffering. 9 is the number of eternal suffering in the occult, for it always returns to itself mathematically. 9x1=9, 9x2=18 1+8=9, etc.

4, or 四, is pronounced shi. It is symbolically linked to 死, death. Also pronounced shi.

In life, we suffer, then die.

In Plastic Memories, these are 2 central themes that are ever present. The overall message is a spiritual one, however. The takeaway is that the giftias have souls, consciousnesses. The giftias shortened lifespans cause the suffering of the humans who love them that are left behind to grieve. However, since they have souls, they may one day be reunited with the ones they cherish. The words Tsukasa tells Isla before he gives her the kiss of death.

In the title opening, we see Isla in darkness along with many other people. That's her soul along with all the other giftia souls that were retrieved making their underground journey to be washed of all it's previous suffering and then reincarnated as someone else... as in Shintoism and Ancient Greek belief.

When Isla dies, her body is returned to the terminal station with a new soul... 9 months later. The gestation time for a new human being. Is it Isla's consciousness spiritually returning back to her origin?

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They might have the time limit to avoid a 3 very unpleasant outcomes:

  1. The Androids' hardware starts to become obsolete and fail and you have to exchange parts until the Android becomes arguably another Android. Thus starting a pretty frustrating ethics debate about the Ship of Theseus.

  2. The removal of the time limit may be removing the only handicapp placed on the Android. With the handicapp, Giftias can't replace humans as effectively as they can and it also gives the humans a reason to sympathize with the Android. It made owning a Giftia more akin to caring a dying relative than employing someone who is a threat to your jobs. So removing the limit may become a threat to social stability.

  3. Lost of profit as planned obsolescence is what keeps SAI's Giftia business profitable and 9 years is already pretty generous considering that Giftia is essentially a special tech.

So yeah, if I am the person designing the Giftia I might have intentionally put in the time-limit out of a cruel love. I can prevent Giftia from suffering a slow and painful death of obsolescence. I can have a much better chance in lobbying the government to accept Giftia as a sentient being and implement Android Protection Laws if they aren't a threat to the voters jobs. And I can keep supporting the giftia by lessening the chance of the bankruptcy of SAI.

With that said I would really like to see Tsukasa meeting the creator of the Giftias in a OVA or a sequel.

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From a technological point of view, the limit exists, as stated by one of the characters, as "Giftias aren't programmed to forget", meaning that following what Gorzius said previously,

... the storage can only be written once while the data fills it up at a steady pace over 81,920 hours, and after it's full the OS makes attempts at overwriting old data which isn't possible ...

...

...this could happen either because the data storage in Giftias are designed to work for this long and it starts to break down (in today's terms, the drive starts to have bad sectors)

the Giftias stop working once their memories are full, and replacing the OS resets the storage, thus erasing the personality and memories of the Giftia, and freeing room for new memories with the tradeoff of having all the Giftia's existing memories, and thus personality destroyed. However, the storage begins to deteriorate before this stage, as shown where Isla's mental statistics decrease over time, which the technician says is irreversible. This deterioration does not affect the lifespan of the Gifta, which we know as, despite this, Isla's memory does not expire any earlier than it normally would.

The exact timing of the turning is determined by the point in time in which the entirety of the Giftia's memory is consumed, with slight variations, presumably caused by either the initial size of the OS which was written to it, or the weight of the memories the Giftia creates. On this theory, the memory of a Giftia must be consumed at a constant rate, including during sleep, at which time the data being stored would be the equivalent to plain 0s on a computer hard drive, resulting in a simple blank memory of the event, which still takes up space in the Giftia's memory.

The exact size of the Giftias memory storage is probably what it is for the sole purpose of having it expire after 9 years and 4 months, which is only of significance as an external reference to contribute to the story's morals as mentioned previously by user Tony Dutra, and hasn't intentionally been implemented by SAI.

... 81920 hours equates to 9 years and 4 months. Numbers that the characters explicitly state.

9, or 九, pronounced ku, in Japanese is symbolically linked to 苦. It is also pronounced as ku. It is the kanji for suffering. 9 is the number of eternal suffering in the occult, for it always returns to itself mathematically. 9x1=9, 9x2=18 1+8=9, etc.

4, or 四, is pronounced shi. It is symbolically linked to 死, death. Also pronounced shi....

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