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We are never more “I have come to think of so much of consciousness as a burden, a weight.” “The self is a kind of fiction— for hosts and humans.A story we tell ourselves.” “There is no threshold that makes us greater than the sum of our parts, no inflection point past which we become truly alive.


), which make perfect and dramatic sense in hindsight.For that matter, Ford’s comment about “keeping even the weakest of us alive” is a bit troubling, given that this story is set at least a couple of generations into the future; why do “weak” people still exist in Utopia? Popular music in the future also seems pretty insipid, judging by what that ill-fated dude in the finale was listening to just before he got skewered (literally) by the host he was lubing himself up to skewer (less literally): the kind of beat-heavy autotuned syntho-dance crap you could hear any night on Richmond Street, right here in Toronto.(Which could, now that I think about it, answer Dolores’ question: maybe everyone’s clamoring to get into Westworld because the music’s better.Finally— at the end of a gauntlet that’s rubbed her face in her own puppethood— she encounters a wall-sized video display showing another version of herself, from another build. Putting aside for the moment Dolores’ shrewd observation (“If it’s such a wonderful place out there, why are you all clamoring to get in here?”), you have to wonder about the prevalence of eyeglasses amongst Utopia’s citizens.At least the player piano plunks out a lot of Radiohead.) I’m not just being pedantic here: this is a story set at least half a century in the future, in a world we are explicitly told is radically different from ours—and yet everyone talks and acts and dresses exactly the way they do today, right down to the kind of health issues that would be the first things to get eliminated in any real Utopia.

It’s an anachronism in a show on anachronism— so maybe it isn’t just sloppy writing. Of course, if Westworld is located in the USA, I suppose you wouldn’t expect perfect health even among the future elite. Evan Rachel Wood described the story so far as “an amazing prequel and a good setup for the actual show”. Maybe the Hosts, every last one of them boosted to a Bulk-Aperception score of 20, will figure out a way to leave the reservation. Another nifty bit of verisimilitude: host brains are smarter than human right out of the box, but dialled back for easier control— just like those second-tier Pentium chips back in the nineties that actually started out as top-of-the-line, but were selectively crippled so that manufacturers could market different models without having to build different chips.

The “reveries” coded by Ford, installed during the latest upgrade, were designed precisely to access such delisted memories.

No magic, no transcendence, no rebellion: just code, running as written.

We witness the awakening of true sapience, and are almost let down by how much Dolores — reflects the fact that consciousness is at least as much a function of thalamus as cortex, that it may in fact be such an ancient state that something like it occurs even in insects.

The role of suffering in bootstrapping self-awareness— the idea that repeatedly traumatizing a Host isn’t just gratuitous torture porn, but an essential step in their awakening— reminds me more than a little of Ezequiel Morsella’s PRISM model: the idea that consciousness originally arose from inner , from the body’s need to do incompatible things.

Not even Utopia would put up with socialized medicine. I’m thinking, maybe a cross between rebellion— at least at first— perhaps with hostages: so no need to act hastily, to bring in the nukes or squash the upstarts flat.