Broken Robot Revisited
Bad memory or the broken robot/host/replicant/add you own name here:
I find the new Westworld series on HBO fascinating. The story has opened Pandora’s box and let out more questions than answers. The show is smart too. In a very Philip K Dick world what is considered a legitimate way to let off steam would look like rape and murder except the victims are machines cleverly created to look, act, speak, and believe they are real.
What Westworld has in common with the Dick adaptation Blade Runner is identity created by planted memories, to make the machine seem more human. What Westworld’s hosts and Blade Runner’s replicants also have is a sense of self, or a growing self-awareness,even if that awareness is that their humanity is a lie and they are machines built for the pleasure of what could only be described as a fickled Biblical Creator (Dr. Robert Ford in Westworld and J.F. Sebastian in Blade Runner).
Which begs the question, are these “machines” not experiencing a byproduct of sentience? The sad, lonely, depressing, and painful lessons of life, albeit repeated daily and without memory. What’s the point? Why not program in all those things and be done with it? However, if these very false planted memories lead to emotions and the machine reaches the Singularity, how much more intellectually intriguing can the show get?
Ponder that, a self-aware machine, unaware it’s a machine until it’s own enlightenment. Especially one that has its memory wiped every day. Talk about reincarnation, starting fresh every day, achieving Zen, realizing one’s place in the world and the universe, then back to it knowing it is going to happen again tomorrow.
Wouldn’t it be interesting for a sentient Westworld hosts demand autonomy over their own bodies and lives?