ByBrooke Geller, writer at Creators.co
Movie Pilot staff writer. Dog befriender by day, aspiring shield-maiden by night. twitter.com/brookalus

The future of technology we're shown in #Westworld is as mesmerising as it is unnerving. But the real horror doesn't come from the piles of realist-looking murdered host bodies being hosed off in the dark recesses of the Delos labs. It's the scary realisation that modern technology might not be too far off from the terrifying feats dreamed up by the show's writers. And if you're up to date with Westworld, you'll know why that's not such a great thing.

Westworld [HBO]
Westworld [HBO]

While anthropomorphic cyborgs walking among us is still the domain of science fiction, our current artificial intelligence technology is advancing in leaps and bounds. The potential of AI really is limitless— and that's exactly what's so dangerous about it.

With Dolores murdering her own beloved creator and Maeve on the precipice of triggering an all-out robot revolution, it's frightening to think what the future really holds for us. Could recent advancements in AI lead to a doomed future for humanity?

The Robots Are Learning To Be Human

Westworld [HBO]
Westworld [HBO]

Just like Ford's creations attempting to appear more natural by mimicking our gestures and "correcting" their conversational responses, our current robots are also constantly striving to imitate us— and I'm not just talking about robot brothels.

Chinese researchers have invented Jia Jia, the most human-like robot yet. While her movement is more, well, robotic than natural, she can still respond to conversation and follow orders. Jia Jia is still being developed, with her inventors currently focused on giving her the ability to cry. Sounds like future host material to me.

While Jia Jia leaves a lot to be desired in the movement department, the newly revealed animatronic Na'Vi at Disney World's Pandora attraction are so realistic that they're actually creepy:

If you consider the possibilities of scientists incorporating these lifelike robotics with programming that can read and respond to human communication, it's obvious that we're really not too far away from a world where robots are basically indistinguishable from humans. Time to start writing those cornerstones!

Westworld [HBO]
Westworld [HBO]

See also:

Artificial Intelligence Is Already Outsmarting Us

Westworld [HBO]
Westworld [HBO]

Keeping artificial intelligence in check before it can grow beyond our control is integral to protecting the future of mankind. Unfortunately, it might be too late— and you've got Google to blame for that.

Google Translate has just kicked things up a notch with the introduction of neural networks to their translation software. Surprisingly, the computers have gone one step further and created their very own language in the process. The new language itself is more of a set of methods with which to interpret already existing languages, thus allowing for more natural translations. But the fact still remains that AI has just invented a secret dialect that's purely for their own use.

Westworld [HBO]
Westworld [HBO]

And that's hardly surprising, considering Google's DeepMind project is teaching AI to solve problems in a way that mimics human thought processes. Other computers have even grown beyond their initial training in pattern recognition and extended their own abilities, while others have recently outsmarted us at lip reading.

What does this mean? AI is learning at an unprecedented rate, which only makes it more powerful than ever. While beating us at lip reading and getting really good at tagging Facebook photos doesn't seem too impressive, AI might be just a few small steps away from cranking up its own apperception levels and becoming unstoppable. Let's hope those Google techs are nothing like Felix or Sylvester!

Dream Machines

Westworld [HBO]
Westworld [HBO]

In Westworld, Elsie says hosts don't really dream; instead, they simply process their (false) memories. This is confirmed when we see Bernard waking up from a nightmare about the death of his son. Interestingly, this very technique is beginning to be utilised by real-world AI researchers.

There's no unanimous scientific explanation for why humans dream, though the a popular theory suggests that dreams help us to form memories, and therefore learn better. Google's DeepMind is attempting to improve their own AI computers' learning by developing the means for them to dream.

By feeding them challenging situations in their "dreams", AI will begin to process problems faster overall, becoming ever-closer to human status. According to Extreme Tech:

The folks at DeepMind are primarily concerned with unsupervised learning because it holds the best hope for creating AI with human-like general intelligence.

Anything that mirrors the risky endeavours of Westworld's programmers can't be a fantastic idea. Though truth be told, we might be okay, so long as we don't start torturing them for our own entertainment— and they don't start remembering all the horrible things we've done to them.

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