Categories
TV Shows

Westworld – Season 2 & 3

There is no doubt about it, Westworld is probably the best TV show we’ve been watching over the past few years. While the second season brilliantly brings the western story to an end, the third season completely blew my mind in a Blade Runner kind of way.

Warning, what comes next contains a few spoilers.

When the android that was created to be abused for entertainement in a theme park manages to break free, it puts its new found freedom and very existence at risk to free human kind from the chains of its own condition.

I wanted to share my thoughts about simulation theory, but philosophical skepticism is pretty heavy and I gave up half way writing about it.

I just think that the androids in Westworld and mankind in our reality have a lot in common.

Androids don’t have the power to get out of the loops for which they’ve been created.

You could argue that, unlike androids, we’re free, we can escape our loops and change our lives. But, could you really say, from one day to another: I quit my job, my family, I let my half-paid house behind, I walk into a train and go to live in Paris? While some people manage to escape their loops, most people don’t. Our routines create a false sense of security that pressure us to stay who we are until the end.

I know, this is heavy stuff but that’s what Westworld got me thinking and those thoughts aren’t from yesterday, wasn’t the entire punk movement built on the anti “work-consume-die”?

Categories
TV Shows

Westworld – Season 1

Dolores on a rampage.

This TV-show brought me back to the time I’ve played “Detroit: become Human”, I remember going crazy by the way humans were treating the androids in this game. Westworld does the exact same thing, all I wanted was for the robots to have their revenge.

Imagine being stuck in a park where rich creeps can play out their rapist and murder fantasies on you over and over again, this is downright atrocious. I strongly believe that from the moment you create a life, whether it’s a robot, AI, or android, this very being needs to be treated with respect. Humans tend to treat everything that is different from them as a threat, an enemy. They are so afraid to loose control, that they would rather destroy anything that is different from them than learning to coexist.

This is such a deep and philosophical subject, Chris and I can talk for hours about this, but I’m not going to go there because this post would become an insanely long rant. The true plot of the story is that they uploaded “reveries” which means that the robots can have memories, these memories create emotions, and because of these emotions, they can deviate from the paths that were coded and uploaded in their system. An intricate topic with tons of plot twists that I didn’t see coming.

The casting is excellent, Anthony Hopkins (Dr. Robert Ford), Evan Rachel Wood (Dolores Abernathy), and especially Thandie Newton, a complete badass in her role as Maeve Millay. Here’s one of her quotes:

Maeve Millay: [to Sylvester and Lutz] All my life, I’ve prided myself on being a survivor. But surviving is just another loop. I’m getting out of here. You two are going to help me.

Sylvester: No. Do, do you know how far these people will go to protect their IP? Every part of this building, including the skin on your back, is made to keep you here. It, it’d be a suicide mission.

Maeve Millay: At first, I thought you and the others were gods. Then I realized you’re just men. And I know men. You think I’m scared of death? I’ve done it a million times. I’m fucking great at it. How many times have you died? Because if you don’t help me I’ll kill you.

The show reminds me somehow of a real life MMORPG, where NPC’s relive their same fate over and over again. Humans are just guests in the NPC’s home world which is nothing more than an amusement park that provides an escapism from those guests’ real life.

On another note, I also absolutely loved the music and the player piano rolls used throughout the entire season. Some of the instrumental covers include songs of The Cure, Soundgarden, The Rolling Stones, Radiohead,… I’ve read on IMDb that the repetitive three-chord phrase, often heard in the background music, comes from¬†Westworld¬†(1973), where it underscored the Gunslinger’s slow but relentless pursuit of the hero. I really like this tune, it reminds me a lot of Carpenters’ music. It makes me wonder if season 2 will be as musical as the first one!

There is so much more that I could elaborate and mention about this topic, but I need to draw a line somewhere so, I’ll end this post with one more quote that is mentioned repeatedly throughout this season:

“These violent delights have violent ends” – Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Categories
Video Games

AI in Adventure Games

Yesterday, while watching an episode of Westworld, I thought about how cool it would be if point-and-click games would use an AI… Instead of scripted characters who are always at the same place, saying the same things, we could find them speaking to each other, wander around, have different dialog lines following their moods.

For example, we would enter Thimbleweed Park and Delores could be home but she could also be at the arcade or at the dinner, living her own life.

Of course, there would be boundaries, for the sake of the story, but everything else would be left to the AI. I could spend days looking at game characters interact with the environment and with each other in a completely unpredictable and unscripted way.