Something is wrong in “Westworld.”
HBO’s sci-fi western drama — a serialized reboot of Michael Crichton’s 1973 thriller by the same name — depicts a fantastical robot-filled “theme park” of the future.
Westworld guests can interact with artificially intelligent “hosts” — gunslingers, brothel madams, a farmer’s daughter, Native Americans, and more — taking part in all the sex and violence that can be jammed into these characters’ storylines. And all of it teed up by the people who are essentially Westworld’s game designers.
But as visitors ride, terrorize, shoot, and sleep with the park’s robot hosts, the designers operating behind the scenes soon discover that something is off.
Along the way, Westworld’s story brushes up against all kinds of uneasy questions — mainly scientific and philosophical — about the complex intersection of technology and people.
While we can’t say where the show is going, or whether it will ever answer any of these questions, here are some of the most interesting ones we’ve spotted so far.
Do we all live in a simulation?
Everyone in Westworld wakes up to go about their day — working, drinking, fighting, whatever it may be — without knowing that their entire existence is a simulation of a “real world” created by the park’s designers.
Physicists and philosophers say that in our world, we can’t prove we don’t live in some kind of computer simulation.
Some think that if that is the case, we might be able to “break out” by noticing any errors in the system, something the Westworld robots seem to be brushing up against.