Westworld : Episode 139

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Westworld [1973]

What: Robots! And six shooters! you get the idea.
Directed by: Michael Crichton
Starring: Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin, James Brolin

Recommended and Related Media

The Lighthill Debate on Artificial Intelligence [1973]

Westworld (the series)
Hey it’s really good. It goes where you really wish this movie could have, but it didn’t because it was 1973.
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Show Notes


Westworld is some Disneyworld-level theme park logistics. Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. Westworld ticket prices.

The Wild West

The mythos. Cowboys shootin’ and rootin- tootin’. The time period. The expansion of settlement exceeding governmental reach and the perception of lawlessness.

TV vs Movie

Deep questions about consciousness and self and where they really really aren’t.

AI in the 70s

Depictions of artificial general intelligence in the period and how awesome 2001: A Space Odyssey was/is. The “AI Winter.” The Lighthill Debate on Artificial Intelligence. Heuristics. Teaching our machines to learn. Neural net black boxes. Machines created by other machines.

Smart AI/dumb AI

Collections of very convincing modules, sans consciousness, vs AGI. In what way can a computer system “understand” language?

Sensory processing

How long it takes humans and machines to adapt to moving in their environments. The speed of artificial neural networks in learning and human evolution of millennia. Computer vision in 1973! Face tracking. Human attention to human attention.


The difficulty in developing human-like robots. Our subconscious alertness to any oddness in our human-to–human interactions. The people-watching your brain does when you’re not watching.

Computer viruses

Coinage. Von Nuemann’s “self-replicating automata.”

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