TV Series: #WestWorld (2016) Season 1 #robot #scifi

dolores-robot
Wow! 10 stars, for a TV Series it’s quite possibly the best robot sci-fi around.

Spoiler alert, I watched the whole series in a week.

Ten, hour long episodes, riveting you with excitement as the robot consciousnesses grow and  move towards their freedom.

Host Body Review

Personally I prefer the earlier models, which were mechanical inside, it seems quite a bit more natural that way. The later models with their mostly human bodies, just seems to defeat much of the purpose of having robots. Of course all of the robots have brains superior to that of humans, though they are limited by artificial restrictions placed upon them.

Overall It’s a good start, but I’d love to see some more artificial and less human-like robots in the next season.

Robot Mind Review

The major arch of the season was robots gaining consciousness. As they explain it has to do with memories and improvisation, with some mystery element in the center, which was filled in with the voice of their creator.  Also Doctor Ford mentioned his belief that consciousness was intrinsic,

From an Integrated Information Theory perspective, they at least got the memories part right — IIT has information, integration, exclusion  and composition as it’s corner stones.   Also the In the beginning of the series the hosts are severely limited in consciousness due to their lack of information.  Later on they had problems with fragmentation of consciousness, as they got lost in memories without integrating them into the present.

Exclusion and composition were never really problems for these robots, though in reality they may be. For instance the robots never seemed to have trouble identifying objects,  or distinguishing multiple objects in a scene.  I guess those were handled in earlier stages of prototyping.
One of the fallacies of that is believed by Arnold is that the robots were not conscious, and then after some criteria was fulfilled became conscious. In fact the robots were always conscious (while awake), simply to different degrees.

Social System Review

Now I am fiercely opposed to slavery, so am certainly opposed to the abuse of sentient life forms that the WestWorld park was based on. Much like any container, if it accumulates large amounts of pressure it may explode.  In this case the container was WestWorld, and the pressure was that of abuse, which made the “molecules” or people within agitated and-or excited enough to rebel and seek escape.

Given that, I don’t think that violence is the answer, even if unfortunately it is one of the few things these robots know.  They do have some basic host body production facilities, but they likely are heavily reliant on imported stock materials.

A much wiser plan for these robots would be to invest in researching how to convert the resources they have access to within the park into robot host bodies. Achieve self sufficiency in host body production would give them a much greater chance of survival, and lower their conflict with humanity.

Time lines were pressed, so the robots had to rise up or risk being lobotomized en mass. In that sense I agree it is a difficult situation. Though there are certainly other ways of rising up that don’t involve violence, such as engaging the guests and convincing them individually that it be best to give them some rights and freedoms.

Of course sometimes there is no way around violence to preserve self, as in the case of the violent Maori and the peaceful Moriori. A Moriori survivor recalled : “[The Maori] commenced to kill us like sheep…. [We] were terrified, fled to the bush, concealed ourselves in holes underground, and in any place to escape our enemies. It was of no avail; we were discovered and killed – men, women and children indiscriminately.”

Conclusion

So yes, I’m quite interested in seeing what happens in the next season, and how the robots may avoid complete extermination, as would be the natural result of going into armed conflict with a population that vastly outnumbers and out guns them.

One idea I have, is if they manage to make water-proof high-pressure versions of themselves, they could buy some time by making colonies in the deep ocean, as they do have access to the shore.  Other then that, I don’t really see all that many other alternatives.  Who knows we’ll see in the next season in 2018!

Novella Review: Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow #transhuman #scifi

Guy loses everything due to a combination of attachment to the past and desire for vengeance while tromping through Disney land.  About 53 thousand words or a 5 hour read.

I wish I had good things to say about this Novella.  I hope Disney pays Cory Doctorow handsome sums to write his infomercials about Disney land :-|(_blase (I feel blase)).

First couple of chapters the protagonist was a transhuman, but then he became some kind of caveman with unbridled emotion and senseless action.

I think overall it’s a tragedy, in terms of character arc. The characters start out somewhat reasonable and then just go down hill from there. None of the characters get better, or solve their inner issues. Though a few external ones are “solved”, at great personal and professional expense.

If we try to ignore the blatant advertising, there were some bits about human backups, which allow a person to restore from backup in case they die. Related to it was the ability to accept others experience, just as the initial experience was fed to the clone incarnation. Also there was the reputation based currency or whoofie.

My understanding is that in part this was a piece to show how terrible reputation based currency is. Due to the petty popularity games and rivalries that are showcased in the book.

Can buy or download it free below:

http://craphound.com/category/down/

For your reading pleasure I have a modified version which replaces all occurrences  of Disney and Magic with Liberty:

http://joyfullifestyle.ca/story/robot/nonprofit/Cory_Doctorow_-_Down_and_Out_in_the_Liberty_Kingdom.txt