Westworld corporate representative Theresa Cullen told the park storywriter that while the park is superficially about satisfying guest fantasies, it means “something completely different to management.” That was from the season premiere. Now that we are a few episodes in, it is a good time to start exploring what the higher purpose of Westworld may be. The following comes to mind:
Creating An Army
Here is the obvious dystopian motivation. Westworld is building enough hosts to act as an army so that the country responsible for Westworld may go to war without endangering actual humans. The theme park is a method to fund the program. It had to be said, but I think the writers are too smart for this to be the end game. If a weapon is what they want, skip the step of making hosts human-like. Go with bullet-proof skin and laser hands.
Taking Command Of The Real World
The hosts could, with a little extra engineering, take on the appearance of specific humans. Westworld visitors are probably scanned before entering the park for identification purposes. They are then essentially trapped inside and opt to be isolated from other humans during their sexual exploit. What’s to stop Westworld employees from taking the visitor at that time and substitute them with a host? Since Westworld visitors are the super wealthy, and therefore the super influential, they would be desirable candidates for replacement. Before long hosts would be placed in all levels of authority outside Westworld. If this isn’t happening already, it could be their long-term goal.
Establishing Individual Legacies
However unlikely it seems, Westworld’s ultimate goal needn’t be nefarious. Perhaps Dr. Ford wants to live on in his hosts. I mean this literally. Ford might not want to make a human-like host as much as a Ford-like host. Like the last proposed purpose, we are talking replacements here, but opt-in replacements. Costumers could sign-up to make a version of themselves live on long after their human body dies. It’s not quite immortality, but it’s close. Who knows? Maybe Dr. Ford has already replaced himself.
A Try-Before-You-Buy Site To Sell Future Hosts
One can’t help but wonder if the world outside the park uses hosts. Given the stuff that’s socially acceptable to do to hosts in Westworld, owning one essentially as a slave would probably be fine in this culture. I’m guessing that nothing as advanced as a host is currently available for purchase because the guests seem too unfamiliar with such robotics. The end game may be to mass-produce and sell hosts once they are perfected in the petri dish that is Westworld. They could even sell them in the gift shop.
R & D For Actual A.I.
We’ve already speculated that Westworld is essentially research and development for something greater – an army, a work force, replicates – but we’ve yet to cover the most straightforward R & D. They are trying to develop true A.I. The vast majority of the hosts show no signs of consciousness. They have programmed responses and “improve” algorithms that make them appear conscious, but it’s just as much an act as Disney animatronics. It’s those few, rare cases in which the hosts are exceeding their programming that signal the birth of A.I.. Man, so far, can only make bots that perform better and better at Turing Tests, better and better at convincing humans they are alive. It could be that Dr. Ford and those he works for realize that man can never create consciousness with code, so they set up this world for hosts to let consciousness emerge within themselves with increasingly complex and emotional interactions.
What do you think of corporate’s intensions? What would you do with a city of human-like robots? Let us know in the comments.