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John Byrne
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Posted: 15 June 2018 at 5:55am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

The problem, for me, all along, has been the requirement that we accept the robots as viable characters. But they're not. They're robots. Incredibly sophisticated robots, to be sure, but robots nonetheless. All of their memories, for instance, are programmed in. Maeve does not really have a daughter. Her "daughter" is another robot, with another set of programs, convergeant with Maeve's. The whole place is the mechanical version of false memory syndrome.

So.... who cares?

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Trevor Krysak
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Posted: 15 June 2018 at 7:03am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

That was my problem with the series. I gave up part-way through season one. I have no idea who I am supposed to root for in the series. The humans. The robots. The robots we though were really humans.

Most shows you have someone you can focus on and invest in. A show like Game of Thrones can lead to you doing that for multiple characters. Sometimes those characters are even on opposite sides of one conflict or another.

Westworld I have no clue who I should be interested in. They all seemed very boring.

It might be an all-time great series but I just had no "in" to it. It was as lifeless as one of the robots laying on a slab waiting for repair.
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 16 June 2018 at 9:00pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I think this show is brilliantly made, but I have to agree with JB's complaints about dragging the story out so much. Seems that decompression isn't just a problem with modern comics.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 17 June 2018 at 5:00am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

A significant problem lies in the way the human staff reacts to the robots. When the series started, we were shown how the "Hosts" went thru the same routines over and over. Dolores going sketching. Teddy picking up that can. Etc. Modified as new "Guests" brought new perturbations, but still the same general program over and over.

Then they start doing different things, and alarms don't go off all over the Park. Instead, we get Bernard fussing about one of the Hosts having developed a nearly microscopic variant in her program. A tiny gesture.

"Padding" would be a kind word.

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Lionel Faure
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Posted: 17 June 2018 at 6:55pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I think the intent of the show’s creators is to make us wonder where we should set the limit between consiousless machines and self-aware creatures like ourseves. In a way our DNA is our own programming and if these robots are so sofitically mimicking every one of our biological functions even to the point of having feelings and being concious, then the difference between them and us becomes less obvious. Maybe they are trying to parallel how our perception of the difference between human beings and animals has evolved. There were a time when people thought animals didn’t have feelings nor any conscience and were merely machines reacting to stimuli. Once we suspend our disbelief then we can accept that those robots can have feelings for other robots based on their implanted memories. From their point of view they experienced those feelings for real and even when they discover those memories were fake, they can’t get rid of their feelings.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 18 June 2018 at 5:40am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

In some respects, this is similar to what Arthur C. Clarke said about technology elevated to the point that it is indistinguishable from magic. The key, of course, is that it is NOT magic.

The same is true with A.I. Although robots may be built that have "brains" that perfectly mimic the operations of a human brain, mimicry is all it is, and all it will every be.

In the case of the Hosts, or the droids in STAR WARS, or the Terminator, or Robbie the Robot, our natural tendency to anthropomorphize compels us to read more into the mechanisms than is really there. WESTWORLD is playing with that big time, but in the end it is "only" super sophisticated programming, not actual personalities evolving.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 18 June 2018 at 1:21pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Here's an interesting ARTICLE.

Makes some good points -- BUT turns, still, on the notion that the Hosts really are becoming conscious and self aware. But read it assuming that NOT to be the case, and the writer's thesis falls apart.

The only thing that could save this molasses avalanche from being (ironically) just another "bad robots" story is if it's all Ford's own narrative, and the robots are doing just what he programmed them to do.

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Lionel Faure
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Posted: 18 June 2018 at 2:52pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I too don’t see how a machine could ever get self-concious and develop feelings of its own no matter how sofisticated. But maybe the more interesting question that the show asks indirectly is what if all our thoughts and self-consciousness is just the result of our DNA programming and the feeling of having free will is just an illusion?
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 18 June 2018 at 3:31pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

BUT turns, still, on the notion that the Hosts really are becoming conscious and self aware.
---------------------------------------
This is a major scientific question in terms of consciousness and its relationship to the brain.  As, has been assumed until rather recently, consciousness merely arises from the brain, then there's no reason why conscious artificial beings would be impossible.  The brain is just an ordered organic system that processes information.  If human consciousness just arose as a byproduct of the human brain evolving to a certain level of complexity, the same thing would happen if a sufficiently complex artificial brain could be created.

There's another argument right now that consciousness is not related to the brain in that way.  That the brain is more like a radio receiver for consciousness.  And though there are beginning to be scientific studies to support this idea, it smacks too much of metaphysics for most scientists.

But if we rule out the idea of a 'human soul', and see human consciousness on a continuum with other living creatures, there's no reason why androids becoming conscious wouldn't be a possibility.  Even a probability, which is why so many people are concerned about AI at the moment.  Its also why communication with alien life would most likely be totally impossible.  There's no reason to think that their consciousness would have evolved along the same lines as life on our planet.  They would perceive and process the universe completely differently than we do, making our respective languages untranslatable.


Edited by Steve De Young on 18 June 2018 at 3:31pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 18 June 2018 at 3:57pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

There's another argument right now that consciousness is not related to the brain in that way. That the brain is more like a radio receiver for consciousness. And though there are beginning to be scientific studies to support this idea, it smacks too much of metaphysics for most scientists.

•••

The Ghost in the Machine. Old concept, really with no more credility than when it was first suggested in the 1940s.

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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 5:21am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Well, pretty much what I expected from a season finale of a show that has no idea where it's going or what it's actually about.

The audiovisual craft on hand is astounding but underneath it all it's an effing mess of ideas all thrown in a pot.  

They've pretty much exhausted the entire premise of a 'Western park gone wrong' and burned through any good will garnered from having the same name as the Michael Crichton original.   Half the characters are dead and the other half now live in a virtual fairy land analogue of the park -- which I'm sure will show up a lot in Season 3 because the show is called "Westworld" and someone better use those sets and costumes we paid a lot of money for.    

Anthony Hopkins' character is reduced to being a pookah that pops up to dispense some dime store psychology when the actor's busy film schedule has an opening.   Ed Harris will probably limp on for another season playing pseudo Clint Eastwood with the character's situation getting even more implausible and ridiculous --  like how he had no idea what the original park creator (Arnold) looked like or that a look-a-like analogue (Bernard) had a prominent position in the park's control center, *yet he owns the whole damn park*.   Let's not even get into how his character gets repeatedly shot and mutilated yet somehow manages to keep standing up so he can belt out a gruff one-liner.   
 
The rest of the story is now poised to be a replicants-on-the-loose copy of BLADE RUNNER, which I suspect is what the showrunners really wanted to do in the first place but couldn't secure the rights.  
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John Byrne
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 6:32am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I caught a few minutes of the end/the end/the end/the end/the end of the finale. These people do not know how to write a coda, do they? (It's been said occasionally of my own work that my stories "end too quickly," but this was ridiculous!)

That "rip in the sky" that only the robots could see underscores the notion that everything that's happening is just programming. Even Bernard "imagining" Ford can only be something programmed in.

And, OMFG! Is not Bernard the most absurdly overwrought character, like, EV-er??

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Steve De Young
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 7:16am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

I definitely found this season disappointing.  Its not just that it rambled all over the place, it rambled all over the place and never arrived anywhere.  The first season had a through-line and staggered out its revelations.  This one had one revelation that was teased so much it became obvious before it was revealed.  Then a lot of things happened, none of which led to the conclusion, which was basically just Dolores on the outside, most of the androids in robot heaven, and an out to bring them all back.  This could have been done in one episode, where Delores escaped on the train following the season 1 finale, the arriving security men gunned down all the other androids, it was revealed that their minds lived on in a computer and that the scientists could bring them back if they wanted.  That episode could have set up an actual second season.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 7:42am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

I'll also admit I spent a lot of time wondering why the whole park doesn't have an OFF switch!
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Ryan Maxwell
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 9:57am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

My wife and I lasted about 2 1/2 episodes before we decided we were too bored and disinterested to continue.  It was like current episodes of The Walking Dead, plus breasts. 
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 12:26pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Just endured the finale, soooo boring! Why does each
episode have to last 90 minutes? I doubt i`ll watch
season 3, they seem to be on a very slow ride to
nowhere.
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 28 June 2018 at 7:21am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

And, OMFG! Is not Bernard the most absurdly overwrought character, like, EV-er??

Before they revealed the whole non-linear nature of this season's story in the final episode (not that it wasn't obvious) I thought they might pull a zinger and reveal that there were actually two Bernard robots participating in the story threads we were seeing.   They seemed to be making a big deal of Bernard always straightening his suit or putting on his jacket -- and that's how I thought they might let it drop on the audience that we weren't seeing the same robot at two different times but two different robots.

But nope, predictable as ever they go with a memory wipe and jumbled story.

So who created Bernard: Arnold? Ford? or Delores?


Edited by Rob Ocelot on 28 June 2018 at 7:22am
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Greg McPhee
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Posted: 28 June 2018 at 9:07am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

I've tried, but I'm done. It's a dead horse they are beating now about the ruminations on the nature of consciousness. There is no point. 

It seems to be the excuse to justify for the gratuitous violence now. Is the whole thrust now watching Bernard and Dolores arguing over whether humanity should survive? The Man in Black / William now on his way to becoming a host? 

I find it very hard to get behind a series where virtually everyone is a robot now as well. I can't find anyone to get behind and support as a character.


Edited by Greg McPhee on 28 June 2018 at 9:07am
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Petter Myhr Ness
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Posted: 28 June 2018 at 3:09pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

The story this season could have been told in 3 episodes, I feel. Some good points here and there, but overall a huge disappointment after the first season. I doubt I'll be back for season 3.
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 04 July 2018 at 5:08pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

I’m away on work again so decided to work my way through this.

I have to admit, episode 8 of season 2, which I have just watched, is one of the nest hours of tv I have ever watched.

If the rest of the series was like this it would have flown by. I do wonder whether watching things in chronological order would be a more satisfying experience.
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Didier Yvon Paul Fayolle
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Posted: 04 July 2018 at 9:22pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

I was disappointed with what they did with the Japanese
set up... Kinda wasted time, money and efforts excepted
for few scenes...
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 05 July 2018 at 6:46pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Yeah, all props to S2E8.   Fantastic bit of television that had me riveted to the screen.   Haunting and profoundly sad.

And the rest of the episodes?  Well, we could do without any more plot twists that involve yet-another-surprise-secret-lab-facility.   They've worn that trope out so badly there's a permanent groove in the floor!

One thread I'm surprised they haven't mined yet is who playtests the narratives?   We've seen project leaders, software and hardware architects, narrative writers, set and prop designers and dressers, etc. There's an obvious comparison to the video game industry where it's someone's job to play and basically break the game to death (and in the Westworld park that might be taken literally).   It might sound like a dream job, getting paid to play games all day but it's considered one of the lowest of the low jobs in game circles.   Most testers use the job to get a foothold in the industry but quickly find out there's very little opportunity for advancement.   You aren't playing games for pleasure, you are playing them in a tedious way trying every possibility a consumer could come up with -- and reporting bugs... then going back and trying to reproduce the same bug.  Rinse, wash, and repeat.   

The psychology of someone paid to basically drive every one of the Westworld narratives off the rails to make sure it's a seamless experience for a guest is far more interesting to me than the pointless power struggles and intrigue between the park creators and the current financial stakeholders.   This is a person who doesn't see the whole but picks everything around them apart, testing the world while at the same time tearing it down (everything, including relationships). My first impression of Ed Harris' "Man in Black" character was as a disgruntled playtester who was so socially dysfunctional in the real world that he was a permanent resident of the park.  His use of 'cheat codes' also sort of pointed to him knowing some of the inner workings of the park's programming.  

That would have been way more interesting than the tired trope of a sadistic dude who just happens to be rich, famous and the owner of the park.


Edited by Rob Ocelot on 05 July 2018 at 6:48pm
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