In this episode, our guest is combat tech expert Peter W. Singer, author of Wired for War and strategist at the New America Foundation.
Topics discussed: Whether it's inevitable that humans will use robots for violence as Ford says (a philosophy question that goes back centuries), how the robots in Westworld are like military robots in the real world (creepy parallels abound), how you program a robot to be ethical in war (it's much harder than you think), why it matters that Westworld's war is a mashup of several wars during the 19th century (these wars were especially lawless), what's really scary about AI in the real world (no it's not superintelligence), and our guest Peter W. Singer's theory about how Westworld is a robot preserve because they've been banned outside (love that idea).
This week, we explore episode 3 of Westworld with guest Kyle Orland, Ars Technica's games editor.
Topics discussed include: Julian Jaynes' theory of the bicameral mind (you must do LSD to fully understand it), robot consciousness (it ain't your grandmother's three laws of robotics), Teddy's new backstory with Wyatt (holy crap Wyatt's gang is scary and confusing), Ford's anti-robot racism (he's got issues), the Westworld gameplay (why are there no consequences to getting shot?), the kinds of quests available to guests (they seem very hack-and-slash), whether the MIB is going on fan forums late at night to compare notes about clues he's found in Westworld (definitely maybe he is), moderation and griefers in Westworld (it's complicated), and who among the so-called humans is actually a robot (Bernard? Ford? Lee?).
On this episode, I'm joined by Ars Technica's video editor Jennifer Hahn, who is a documentary filmmaker and editor. We talk about the recent episode, as well as how it fits into the world established in the original Westworld movie, its sequel Futureworld, and the short-lived 1980 TV series Westworld. Jen also talks to us about Westworld's cinematography and design.
Topics discussed: Whether the Westworld theme park is underground (maybe?), William's white hat status (dubious), the robot UX (command line mode and analysis mode are fascinating), the clash between Lee and Ford over why people come to the park (revealing), the plots of the original Westworld movies and TV series (they involve robots taking over the park and creating clone versions of world leaders so they can control humanity), and why it matters that the series is shot on 35 mm film (you can control the shadows). Also: holy crap was that scene in the robot repair area with Maeve ever creepy!
In our debut episode of Decrypted: Westworld, we talk about the show's many layers of conspiracies, and its overarching themes. We're joined by award-winning science fiction author Charlie Jane Anders, who talks to us about how the series grapples with the idea that memory is key to identity, and wonders whether Westworld can achieve the same mainstream popularity as Game of Thrones.
Other topics discussed include: Anthony Hopkins (annoying or not?), Ed Harris (holy crap scary), the big reveal (very cool), Westerns and backstage musicals (key to thinking about the action), the future of game design (obviously), and why Bernard makes the Professor/Mr. Abernathy cry. Also: what is up with all the flies?
Ars Technica continues our Decrypted podcast with the first season HBO's Westworld created by Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan. Based on Michael Crichton's novel and the 1973 film with Yul Brynner of the same name, this drama about robots in a wild west theme park will fascinate, make you (extremely) uncomfortable, and generally creep you out. Join us each week as we explore the latest episode with colleagues, writers, and technology experts to discover and decrypt this complex, psychological world.
The Decrypted podcast began with season 2 of Mr. Robot, hosted and produced by Nathan Mattise. Visit us from Decrypted episode 1 and join Nathan as he explores the complexities of the fascinating, hit hacker drama.