Yesterday, co-creators of HBO’s sci-fi western thriller Westworld, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy appeared in WIRED’s 2017 Business Conference in New York to talk about the show. The duo joined WIRED senior editor Peter Rubin in a session called “How Storytelling Creates the Future”. And as it always happens they ended up weighing the possibility of artificial intelligence becoming like that of the Westworld hosts in the foreseeable future.
The afternoon panel that was aired live on the Wired Facebook page, focused on artificial intelligence in the Old West. Since most of the first season of Westworld showed humans in the most outrageously terrible light, Rubin began the panel with the question: “What the hell is wrong with us?”
“Everything is wrong with us,” Nolan answered. “We’re playing with questions about why humans understand the world, why our minds work the way they work and why we have these recurring bugs.”
Similarly, Joy sees the science fiction genre (in general) as an opportunity to tell stories about humanity, especially in a time when advancement in technologies has made AI more plausible than ever. “We’re leaping into the age of the unfathomable, the time when machines [can do things we can’t],” Joy said.
Speaking on whether there is a chance for artificial intelligence to pass off as humans like the Westworld hosts have, Joy said: “We anthropomorphized what the AI will look like. That’s not going to happen. It’s not going to be a beautiful lady or a beautiful man who is going to come and be your overlord.”
Joy who is currently writing the new film version of Battlestar Galactica also touched on the prominent women hosts of Westworld. “These are robot women in the Old West,” she said. “When you’re an outsider like that you see more of the darkness. You’re not sitting at the top of the hegemony thinking ‘Everything is peachy here.'”