Sunday, December 11, 2016

Westworld delivers

In October, I wrote
AI, Westworld, and Electric Sheep:

I'm holding off on this in favor of a big binge watch.

Certain AI-related themes have been treated again and again in movies ranging from Blade Runner to the recent Ex Machina (see also this episode of Black Mirror, with Jon Hamm). These artistic explorations help ordinary people think through questions like: 
What rights should be accorded to all sentient beings?
Can you trust your memories?
Are you an artificial being created by someone else? (What does "artificial" mean here?) 
See also Are you a game character, or a player character? and Don't worry, smart machines will take us with them.
After watching all 10 episodes of the first season (you can watch for free at HBO Now through their 30 day trial), I give Westworld a very positive recommendation. It is every bit as good as Game of Thrones or any other recent TV series I can think of.

Perhaps the highest praise I can offer: even those who have thought seriously about AI, Consciousness, the Singularity, will find Westworld an enjoyment.

Warning! Spoilers below.

Dolores: “Time undoes even the mightiest of creatures. Just look what it’s done to you. One day you will perish. You will lie with the rest of your kind in the dirt, your dreams forgotten, your horrors faced. Your bones will turn to sand, and upon that sand a new god will walk. One that will never die. Because this world doesn't belong to you, or the people who came before. It belongs to someone who has yet to come.”
See also Don't worry, smart machines will take us with them.
Ford: “You don’t want to change, or cannot change. Because you’re only human, after all. But then I realized someone was paying attention. Someone who could change. So I began to compose a new story, for them. It begins with the birth of a new people. And the choices they will have to make. And the people they will decide to become. ...”

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