HBO’s ‘Westworld’ Asks: Can Robots Be Moral?

In HBO’s new series Westworld, the robots challenge the humans to moral and physical combat—and you might be surprised by who wins. Based upon Michael Crichton’s 1973 film, Westworld tells the story of a futuristic theme park where visitors pay to play dress-up in a fabricated landscape made to look like a cattle town in the … Continued

Entertainment, Television

Robot Law and Order

Have you ever received a parking ticket and wondered if it was worth disputing the charge? Most people make a quick calculation of the time and energy they would expend arguing with a bureaucrat about whether or not they were two or three feet from that fire hydrant and just resign themselves to paying the … Continued

Culture

Artificial Intelligence Discovers Its Id

If you follow the news, you’ll regularly come across stories that tout the supposedly amazing benefits of artificial intelligence (A.I.). Often written in a breathless, credulous style that suggests the writer is less an objective reporter than a paid shill of the tech companies, these stories often make claims for how machine intelligence will rescue humanity … Continued

Culture

Fear, Loathing, and Artificial Intelligence

Recently in the Washington Post, Joel Achenbach wrote a long and very smart piece of reporting on the state of Artificial Intelligence doom mongering. The short version goes something like this: Science fiction writers have been worrying about the possibility that Artificial Intelligence (AI) could bring about a cataclysm since the 1950s, when computers barely … Continued

Culture, Tech

‘Ex Machina’ and the Coming Robot Apocalypse

As a writer, Alex Garland boasts an impressive resume. He has crafted best-selling novels, screenplays for major motion pictures, and storylines for popular video games. Best known for penning the award-winning 28 Days Later script, Garland’s directorial debut Ex Machina is now in theaters and the low-budget science fiction thriller is receiving the highest of … Continued

Entertainment, Movies

“Blade Runner”: Are Real Men Now Replicants?

It’s one of the most celebrated science fiction films of all time. Blade Runner is being rereleased this spring to play in Britain, and is also being shown as part of the Environmental Film Festival at the American Film Institute. They are also planning a sequel. More than thirty years later, the film speaks to … Continued

Entertainment, Movies