“I am Not a Robot” released in 2017-2018, has 32 episodes, and is currently streaming on Viki. This Korean drama series can be categorized as Rom-Com (Romantic-Comedy), Sci-Fi (Science Fiction), with elements of Crime and Mystery.
AI has become a popular theme and “I Am Not a Robot” was released ahead of this trend. If you liked “My Holo Love” you will probably enjoy watching this series even more. This K-drama series is about a human who is sent as a substitute for an AI humanoid robot to be tested by its owner. Matters get complicated when the owner becomes emotionally confused because he thinks he is in love with a robot.
♦ I Am Not a Robot, Just a Substitute
Kim Min-Kyu is a reclusive millionaire. He has to live by himself and when he does come out in public he covers himself including wearing gloves and carrying a baton. The baton is to make sure that people keep their distance and don’t touch him. It’s not that he is antisocial. It’s just that he’s allergic to humans. If a human touches him he has an extreme allergic reaction and it could even result in death.
Hong Baek-Gyun has built an AI robot using his ex-girlfriend, Jo Ji-A, as his model. That’s right. The AI humanoid robot called AG-3 looks exactly like Jo Ji-A.
Jo Ji-A is a young entrepreneur, bursting with ideas for products that she is certain people will love. The problem is that she can never get them to market because she lacks investment funds. She is so short on money that she lives with her brother who insists that she give up her fanciful dreams and get a real job.
Hong Baek-Gyun needs funding to continue his research and to perfect the AI humanoid robot he built. Kim Min-Kyu already owns the company that is in charge of the research project and tells Baek-Gyun that he will continue investing if he can test the robot himself. If the robot passes all of his tests, he will provide the funds needed to continue the research project.
However, the robot breaks on the day Baek-Gyun is supposed to send her over for testing. In desperation, he hires his ex-girlfriend, Ji-A, to pretend to be AG-3. Ji-A can finally tell her brother she has “a real job”; even though it’s temporary and part-time. However, neither Baek-Gyun nor Ji-A know that Min-Kyu is allergic to humans. They don’t find out about his ailment until much later. But by that time, Min-Kyu had become attached to AG-3. He even tells his doctor, who has been treating him for 15 years, that the robot has cured him of his allergy. He doesn’t realize that he has been interacting with and touching a human.
♦ It Was Supposed to Be a Temporary Fix
Baek-Gyu did not set out with ill intentions to deliberately deceive Min-Kyu. He just needed time to get the parts necessary to fix his robot. It was just a temporary fix. Nobody knew the AI robot would break and need parts that had to be shipped all the way from Africa! YIKES!
No worries. Just stay cool and calm. As long as Ji-A played her part as a robot convincingly enough, when the real robot was repaired, the research team would simply switch them out. Who would know that they had ever been substituted?
Perfect plans always seem like they will work perfectly fine until THEY DON’T!! A couple of major complications occur that cause the plan to start falling apart.
- Complication #1): There are some shady dealings taking place within Kim Min-Kyu’s company. There is white-collar crime, i.e. people try to steal the robot AG-3 and try to hack the research team’s computer system to steal all of their work. If that isn’t sinister enough, a murder occurred. Min-Kyu’s enemies want to cover up the murder, steal the research work, destroy his reputation, and kick him out of his own company.
- Complication #2): Both Ji-A and Min-Kyu start developing feelings for each other. But what will happen if Min-Kyu realizes that Ji-A has been deceiving him all along by pretending to be a robot? Furthermore, how will he react when he realizes that the entire research team knew all about the substitution/deception?
- Kim Min-Kyu (played by Yoo Seung-Ho, “The Deal”)
- AG-3 / Jo Ji-A (played by Chae Soo-Bin)
- Hong Baek-Gyun (played by Uhm Ki-Joon, “The Escape f the Seven”)
Viewership and Rating:
- IMDb: 8 out of 10 stars
- My Drama List: 7.5 out of 10 stars
- Letterboxd: 3.4 out of 5 stars
- Viki viewers rated this series 9.6 out of 10 stars
- Public reviews shared via Google: 4.8 out of 5 stars
My personal rating is the same as the Viki viewing audience. Initially, because there were 32 episodes, I thought it might become long and boring. But not so! Each episode was interesting and kept you wondering about what would happen next.
In the beginning (back in 2018), there was low viewership rating. But it’s December 2023 and this series is included in IMDb’s listing of Highest-Rated Korean Dramas. “I Am Not a Robot” was one of my most enjoyable K-drama binge-watching experiences.
LINKS OF INTEREST:
- Featured: A Review of the Korean Drama “I’m Not a Robot” | Charda Suuraj
- Real Talk about I am Not a Robot | Kdrama Kisses on Tumblr
- 4 Things We Loved And 3 Things We Hated About The “I Am Not A Robot” Premiere | Soompi
MAC Drama World. “I Am Not a Robot Trailer [Eng Sub] Official 2018 || Yoo Seung-Ho & Chae Soo-Bin || HD.” YouTube Video. YouTube, February 13, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D36QRCy9JCo.