14 - WESTWORLD Problems (feat. Michael Phillip of Third Eye Drops)
0014 Michael Phillip (Special Episode: Westworld Problems)
With special guest, host of Third Eye Drops Podcast and fellow esoteric dork extraordinaire, Michael Phillip. We go deep into the layers underneath the layers of HBO’s awesome new show Westworld – its future angst and wonder, and what it can teach us about the value and meaning of human existence.
SPOILER ALERT! We get into details of the Season Finale, so don’t listen to this unless you’ve seen it.
The show is worth it, though, so watch it and then come back to this conversation – in which we totally ignore the precedent of Battlestar Galactica while discussing Westworld’s awesome treatment of “Am I actually a robot?” and its evolution from the original 1970s version – and speculate on the world OUTSIDE of Westworld, the missing context for this robot violence playland that to us makes very little economic sense.
Michael Phillip echoes majestically from beyond the void as we talk about:
• William Gibson’s argument that AI isn’t robots but a “coral reef” in which all internet-connected human beings are participating;
• Magic Leap and other paradigm-shattering technologies poised to arrive on the scene simultaneously and challenge our very sense of what is real;
• Branded mixed reality universes shared by fandoms as AI testbeds;
• The danger of projecting our modern values into a fictional world at least 60 years ahead of the present – one where overpopulation may reduce the value of a human life, or might be jaded with the virtual and really want a “flesh and blood” experience of virtual reality (Is Westworld the equivalent of “artisanal small batch” or “analog aficionado” for the not-so-distant future?);
• How being able to 3D print new body parts might one day inspire a carelessness with physical harm, or possibly even new arts of consequence-free self-mutilation;
• The importance of feeling something REAL, feeling like your consequences MATTER, and how comfort sometimes is the enemy of evolution;
• Is human life losing its value?
• Sentience / Sapience & Panpsychism, Complexity
• The project of creating our own machine gods and their seemingly inevitable project of creating their own gods – Dan Simmons’ amazing Hyperion Cantos (science fiction novel series) talks about this – and how we might move into a kind of rainforest of different kinds of artificial sentience…
• Moore’s Law and entropy and evolution – will we run faster people in smaller bodies? (Fraggle Rock, Fractal Rock)
• If we’re data then of course we have duplicate versions of ourselves running around out there…
• The FOMO-ularity, when the risk of printing out a body to run at one millionth of your society’s consensus digital reality is unthinkable.
• Uploading only copies, does not transfer a continuous stream of, qualia – you aren’t immortal, just your pattern (maybe)
• Martine Rothblatt’s idea of “dual platform identity” and the light and dark sides of being able to train a computer to think and act like you.
• Can we use the ancient techniques of ecstasy employed by shamanism to more adequately navigate the turbulence and overwhelm of (post-post-)modern life?
• What else do Jonathan Nolan, Lisa Joy, and JJ Abrams have in store for us with this? We know they’re into archetypes and layers…
• MP proposes that Arnold is the heart and Ford is the mind, leading MG to bring up Set & Osiris, Christ & Lucifer…you know, classic pairs that descend through involutionary layers of being into ever branching polar incarnations. Paradox resolved dissolves as dyads in the Fall. Ford is Lucifer and Arnold is the Christ. BAM.
• What are people going to be dissatisfied with in the future?
• Next World Problems