Oct 312016
 

WestWorld continues to intrigue. While they haven’t made it obvious, they’ve made it unavoidable that the show actually takes place in at least two different eras. One era has the human “Guests” Billy and Logan going on adventures with the android Dolores; the other has Dolores being interrogated by park overlord Ford, with something going kinda funny with the robots due to the latest update and the park being stalked by the Man In Black. In the later era with Ford, a few hints as to the past have been dropped… something like 35 years earlier one of the two park founders killed himself; something like 30 years earlier something went *really* wrong at the park. In the earlier timeline with Billy, the founder has already offed himself, but there has been as yet no mention of something going really wrong at the park. So presumably the two eras are separated by between 30 and 35 or so years.

Billy is a “white hat,” thinks himself a Good Guy and tries to behave as such. Logan is a “black hat” and indulges in all forms of debauchery and robo-murder at the park. Billy likes Dolores; Logan thinks of her as a toaster. And then years later the Man In Black annually returns to the park, where he tortures and “murders” Dolores. You’d think that that wouldn’t really be the sort of thing that Billy would become. But in the most recent episode, you see the start of Billy becoming a different person. So what are we heading towards?

My speculation: sometime in the near-ish future, we’ll see that massive screwup at the park. My guess is that something happens to the robots so that they no longer are inhibited against killing the Guests. Perhaps they will become self aware and will actively try to exterminate the Guests. Billy obviously survives but is changed by it; perhaps Dolores, who we saw starting to undergo some pretty substantial personality changes, does something pretty nasty to Billy (have we seen the Man In Black without a hat? Perhaps there’s no scalp there…). Maybe she murders Logan, who is at least nominally some sort of friend of Billies.

But then… perhaps all that, but Logan actually becomes the Man In Black. It would seem a straighter course. Perhaps Dolores leads the Bot Uprising and kills Billy; that could easily set Logan on the course to becoming the Man In Black.

An episode or two back there was a brief sequence set clearly in the “past,” with a much younger Ford. This was done via computer trickery, presenting a youthenized Anthony Hopkins. So perhaps we will see more of that. And I kinda hope so: one of my favorite character actors, Michael Wincott (he played Malcolm Reynolds in “Alien: Resurrection” and Donald Trump in “The Crow”), plays an early model robot kept in storage. It’d be nice to see him out and about… and if he’s shown out and about with Billy and Logan, it’ll pretty well nail down the fact of the different eras being depicted.

 Posted by at 8:48 pm
  • se jones

    WestWorld continues to intrigue? Hell, this is “Person of Interest” times a thousand!

    What I have gathered is: some shit came down with Ford and his partner Arnold 35 years ago. Ford was the driven engineer / entrepreneur type, but Arnold was the A.I. software nerd who was more interested in creating a conscious machine. Something happened between Ford & Arnold (probably over investment and/or DOD money) and Arnold got himself killed, either directly or indirectly by Ford.

    As things were going sideways 35 years ago with the partnership, Arnold got paranoid and “seeded” his original A.I. code with a hatred for Ford, the Park and being “boxed in”.
    A clue to this is Ford’s all around weirdness, shitty attitude toward the Hosts and consuming guilt over the death of Arnold. A clue to Ford’s guilt complex is Ford’s habit of hanging out with that old original robot down in the basement. Ford’s telling of the greyhound story is yet another clue. Perhaps one of the original seed AI driven Hosts “got free” and killed Arnold as Ford was pushing Arnold to finish the code and get the Park running.

    I think the Man in Black is one of the original investors who is obsessed with finding out what happened to “the other partner” and if Arnold really did develop a conscious AI.

    “…something happens to the robots so that they no longer are inhibited against killing the Guests”. Oh – ya think?

    I think we know for sure that Logan’s investors are behind the Wood Chopper’s laser sat up-link and that Logan is on an “inside” recon job as he looks for “the maze” in his own way. It may even be that Logan wants to get the *actual* shit beat out of him by forcing the Park’s hand through going deeper into the depraved shit than anyone, thus…suing Delos to the point where they give up fighting the acquisition.

    I keep seeing all sorts of theories about “all the staff are robots” / “Bernard is a robot” and on and on and on. I think the writing is too good for that kind of cliche’ crap, IMO the writers will let Occam’s razor rule. There will still be LOTS of delicious twists and turns and surprises, but the old “it was all a dream” bullshit is unlikely.

    Or I could be wrong.

  • palpcaso

    How far in the future do you think Westworld takes place?

    • Scottlowther

      Apart from the robots and associated tech, I don’t think they’ve shown any advanced technology, so it’s difficult to guess. Something that they haven’t shown – and probably haven’t thought of – is satellites. They would tend to mess with the vibe of the park at night. So… are they there, and everyone – Guests included – just ignore them? Or is the sky artificial/holographic? Are they underground? Domed over? Is the rest of the world a nuclear wasteland? A paradise? A bloated overpopulated hellhole?

      Heck, do we even know they’re on *Earth?* Have any nations, governments or bureaus been named?

      • se jones

        >Or is the sky artificial/holographic?

        No. In this week’s episode Elsie discovered the laser sat comm transmitter hidden in “Wood Cutter’s” arm whereupon she figured out that the Orion wood carvings depicted the location of the (GEO) satellite.

        In last week’s episode Theresa Cullen intervened with Elsie’s examination of Wood Cutter, telling Elsie and Barnard that “QA will take over the examination”.
        So now we know for sure – Cullen is an industrial spy which explains a lot of her contentious relationship with Ford.

        You could program the Hosts to ignore satellites and a/c in the Park’s night sky, but it would spoil the Guest’s illusion of the old West.
        I’m gonna go with some sort of selective “clocking device” interferometer thing that is able to hide lights in the sky. Maybe if someone looked close they might see stars blink out as Space Station V passes overhead.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e6491419c5996c574c8895b089f7ed15dbc41f564c0bb02090cfde1bb82f7b03.jpg

        • Scottlowther

          Forgot about that. But wait… a satellite in GEO wouldn’t stay in a particular constellation, it’d stay in a particular spot in the sky (altitude/azimuth) and the constellation would slide around the sky in a not-quite 24-hour period. So the satellite would only be at that spot in Orions belt for a split second once a day on a sliding schedule. There’d have to be a whole lot of precise aiming and timing going on…

          Unless the constellations are just lamps in the sky-dome. Then the “satellite” can be a simple sensor glue to that spot of the dome.

          • se jones

            Good point.
            Elsie is no dummy and she did say “satellite lasercom” and she & Barnard agree that the wood carving is an Orion aiming map, so I’m going with:
            Light-levitated geostationary cylindrical orbits using perforated light sails
            Article in Journal of the Astronautical Sciences 32(2):221-226 · May 1984

      • se jones

        One of the few glimpses of the larger world we see is in “Chestnut”, as Ford is walking to an elevator to go topside, we see a hyperloop.
        It’s clearly a hyperloop (and not the train thing that Will and Logan arrive in) as it’s a round tube and we see two pods zip by in a blurr.

        Very cool touch.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/15efd62f8e1de60f6a7de146b77d076ad96237a4ffcd61dc1680bb5d93ece3bd.jpg

        • Scottlowther

          Hmm. Don’t tell Thuderf00t… he’s done an adequate job of debunking Hyperloop.

          • se jones

            Oh do tell

          • Scottlowther
          • se jones

            Yeah, pretty much impossible to build something even remotely like that.

            This guy is a total jerk throwing up strawmen one after the other.
            And in Musk’s defence, he *never* asked for anyone’s money, it’s just a concept he threw out there.

            It’s no doubt way harder than Musk’s white paper says and there would be thousands of engineering trades and changes along the way.

            Musk’s concept of putting up a test loop and letting teams try out different cabs and propulsion is the honest and logical way to go about it. Let’s give the man some credit where it’s due.

            These videos are like shitting on jet airliners in 1938 as “impossible” technology.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9e28000d1da71998913fe700d2207808ae47b1e8661b9342590df3492998d4fe.jpg

          • Scottlowther

            > These videos are like shitting on jet airliners in 1938 as “impossible” technology.

            So… you actually think that the Solar Roadways and WaterSeers are valid concepts, math be damned?

          • se jones

            Errr what’s a WaterSeer?

            Look, if a complex concept was possible to actually *make* just because its basic components don’t break the laws of physics, we’d be living in the future! Where’s my flying car damn it.

            You can make solar panels, check X. You can make roadways, check Y. But X + Y does not equal a realistic thing you can make.

            But, this Thunder00t guy has it backwards. Nobody credible doubts the ability to evacuate the tubes, that’s kinda the easy part in a way. It’s the thousand little things all working together that make Hyperloop hard. Just the actuators you’d need at every junction to keep each tube section perfectly aligned at all times would be a major development project and cost (SWAG) >$1/2 million per km. And so on and on.
            Each little part will work in isolation, but putting it together as a system and making money is hard.

            This guy has made a handy, rough calculator to put in various parameters of a Hyperloop system:
            http://www.quantumtrain.com/et3/

            It may be that something as complex as a Hyperloop infrastructure will have to wait until we have WestWorld level AI running the thing, not because it’s that hard to make a the thing go, but because stupid humans with backhoes and bombs and what have you.

            One thing I think that makes me a bit more optimistic about Hyperloop, is the stunning, staggering, mind boggling price tag for some dumb-ass government “high speed rail” system that will {inevitably} run 10+years and $12Xb over budget, then break down twice a day.

            I’m an aerospace guy so I’d hope to see aircraft out-compete Hyperloop or government train for most routes.

            Still, in a WestWorld future I think we’ll have something like Hyperloop at least on some regional routes. It’s not magic and not Solar Roadway.

            Still…a plastic airplane with two guys sitting on their asses watching robots drive, with 300 passengers rocketing through the stratosphere at 600 mph, on TWO engines nonstop all the way over the Pacific Ocean, while those 300 passengers watch porn on their own little electronic movie screen or while they call the office back home on a radio phone/computer with pictures (computer – what’s that?) in their pocket and the ticket costs LESS THAN A WEEKS WAGES?!!
            WTF, ridiculous. Are you high on cheap gin or what?

          • Scottlowther

            > Errr what’s a WaterSeer?

            Are you new here?
            http://up-ship.com/blog/?p=33397

            There’s a comment there by someone who’s pretending to be you. Time to get paranoid!

            > I’m an aerospace guy so I’d hope to see aircraft out-compete Hyperloop or government train for most routes.

            If you watch the videos, he throws out numbers that make it look pretty likely that a Hyperloop ticket will cost about the same as a jetliner ticket.

            > This guy has made a handy, rough calculator to put in various parameters of a Hyperloop system

            In looking at it, I don’t see anything relating to the cost to develop, implement, manufacture or maintain the *thousands* of telescoping, sliding 2+ meter diameter vacuum seals a 600 km Hyperloop tube will need to adjust for the 300 meters of thermal expansion and contraction.

            > Still…a plastic airplane with two guys…

            Yes, nice snarky example. That only took… what? A hundred years and a good fraction of a trillion dollars to develop, with the technologies coming up from unrelated projects all over the world through two World Wars,a Cold War and a lot of Little Wars? Sure. I’m sure the same level of effort can produce a Hyperloop.

          • se jones

            >pretending to be you
            Oh geeze, that bad root code again.

            >anything relating to the cost to develop

            I know, it’s just a rough illustration of some of the network complexities of something like this. The equivalent modern airline spreadsheet must be 10X more complex.

            “…*thousands* of telescoping, sliding 2+ meter diameter vacuum seals a 600 km Hyperloop tube will need to adjust for”

            Almost like it’s a living thing that could benefit from the same tech that goes into making a robo-cowgirl walk ‘n talk, or Ford’s snake bot move.

            >nice snarky example

            Hey, snark begets snark Mr. Solar Road. I think the 787 example is more relevant, but your points are well taken. Still, Hyperloop benefits from the same tech development that went into modern aircraft, and in a digital world tech developments are cumulative with an ever accelerating doubling rate. Flying car any day now.

  • se jones
  • MzUnGu

    Not so sure about this theory… Dr. Ford’s character would of aged considerably between those years…. unless he is a robot. 😛

    • se jones

      Sorry Muzz, looks like 35 years to me.
      And let’s not forget, in the future world of Westworld there exists *very* advanced biomedical technology (the hosts are flesh & blood over a synthetic internal frame and subsystems) so we should expect longer life spans.

      In fact, Ford seems *too* old to me considering this. It may be that Ford is a medical technophobe of sorts. That would fit in with Ford’s quilt complex over the death of his partner Arnold 35 years ago.

      It may also turn out that Arnold was not only trying to create a conscious AI, but Arnold may have experimented with “whole brain emulation”. Arnold or a part of Arnold’s mind may be hidden in the root of Dolores’s mind, which is one reason Ford is so shitty to Doloris, she has secrets hidden away that Ford is afraid of.

      Yeah, Ford could just get rid of Doloris, but she is “The Original” and Ford has a love/hate/need over what’s in Dolores’s mind.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1d3b3c5f29adaf5b37c8386d2773b18f7e202daecc78323da3cc9e731998602d.jpg

      • se jones

        and his guilt complex too.

      • Scottlowther

        They may be covered in flesh, but it is *clearly* very unlike normal organic flesh. Disagree? Then point out the complex multicellular organism that you can march down into the basement and get to stand still in the dark and damp for *years* without any external maintenance or nutrition or cryogenic suspension or whatnot and have that flesh not either mummify or turn into a puddle of stanky eldritch horror.

        Undoubtedly the WestWorlders have advanced medtech, but it’s unclear how useful to roboflesh is to that.

        • se jones

          No I agree, there are a lot of questions.
          Man in Black (who has intimate knowledge of the Park) says they changed from “robot” to “flesh & blood” because it’s “cheaper”.
          This “replicant” flesh is able to heal knife & bullet wounds in a few hours during maintenance sessions. But this is the future so – – – handwavium.

          I’m going with some sort of subcutaneous network of microscopic nano-assembler things that are integrated with the Host’s “nervous system”. Evidently the new generation replicant (what the hell, we might as well use the word as it fits) can in fact stand for months in storage while it’s subsystems keep its skin alive.

          Power and waste disposal are another question. Are they nuclear powered (seriously) or do they have an anaerobic digester system of some kind that allows them to “eat” regular food. Or perhaps there are hidden induction re-charging stations all over the Park for Host’s power packs.

          “Waste” is more of an issue for the animals. For that authentic old West experience, you got to have *lots* of cow & horse shit. I grew up on a ranch so I’m ummm intimately familiar with the shoveling shit thing. Horses and cows are just eating & shitting machines, that’s all the ever do, eat ‘n shit. You never see horses standing around farting & dropping road-apples in the movies or TV shows, so Westworld is no different in that respect.

          • MzUnGu

            With bots like that, and the ability to transfer the brain/thoughts, that’s the ticket to immortality. May be that is what corporate wants. I wonder if Ford had done that transfer. Maybe that’s why MIB wants to cut him open. 😀

          • se jones

            I don’t buy the theory that Ford or any of the staff are “bots”.
            I think the idea that Ford’s partner Arnold experimented with whole brain emulation, but just experimentation. I think “aspects” of Arnold’s personality live deep in Dolores, but not Arnold’s whole mind. I get the impression that Arnold’s “pissed off – gonna destroy the Park” is in there.

            There was a preview of coming episodes that HBO ran one time that shows Dolores pointing a gun at her head. I think this was a nearly subliminal breadcrumb showing Arnold threatening to push Ford over the edge by destroying what’s left of Arnold’s mind.

            Had Arnold succeeded in 100% transfer into an immortal Host mind who is constantly shot & tortured, you may be looking at a sort of Roko’s Basilisk with the guilt ridden megalomaniac Ford in charge.

            Another related “trapped in someone else’s mind” scenario that freaks me out are the absorbed humans in “The Thing”. The original John Campbell story touches on that and Carpenter’s movie implies it.

            Roko’s Basilisk, The Most Terrifying Thought Experiment of All Time:

            http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/bitwise/2014/07/roko_s_basilisk_the_most_terrifying_thought_experiment_of_all_time.single.html

          • MzUnGu

            That’s kind of too deep for a TV show…. Hahhaha. Here is a interesting analysis for and against that mult-time-line theory I thought make some good points.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EupcIwqMd0s#t=11.492339

          • se jones

            Oh please, the mult-timeline theory makes zero sense. The biotech we see in both William and the MIB scenes are concurrent, the flesh ‘n blood biotech bots did not exist 35 years ago. There’s a hundred other details that tell us the William and MIB stories are “contemporary” to the era we are seeing.

            All these goofy theories are a sad commentary on how conditioned audiences have become to the cheap, lazy, modern screenwriters who create scripts with formula tropes for most movie & TV sci-fi, then they rely on CGI to distract those audiences so the studios can sell tickets in foreign markets to 15yo kids out on dates.

            WestWorld is writing with production values for grown-ups. F-ing amazing.

            Next on deck: “Arrival”, another movie for grown-ups.

          • MzUnGu

            I agree, the multi timeline don’t make sense to me either… It’s a fun show. I do look forward to see Arrival too, it looks pretty amazing.

          • Scottlowther

            > the mult-timeline theory makes zero sense

            “Multi-timeline?” To my knowledge, WestWorld is only being suggested as a single timeline, but one with scenes set at different points on that timeline. A Multi-Timeline plotline would be Fringe-esque in its weirdness… say, WestWorld, circa 2056, but in two *different* 2056’s. One where the bots are truely sentient AIs, the other where they simply *emulate* sentience. And what the heck, a third timeline where none of the bots are anything but surrogate avatars being driven by actual humans back at the base. And because why not, a fourth timeline where the bots are avatars driven by a *single* central mega-AI.

            One argument I hadn’t picked up on before for the multiplle-timeframe theory is the changing westWorld logo. A “35 years ago” scene with Young Ford shows a distinctly different WestWorld logo than that shown with Old Ford. The Young Ford Logo is shown when Billy arrives. Don’t know if Billy and the Old Ford Logo have been shown together.

            As for Billy arriving with mechano-bots or bio-bots, all i *think* they’ve said is that the original hosts were all mechano, but were all replaced with bio. I don’t think they said exactly *when* that happened. Might have been right soon after the park opened. The Hosts *brains* might be completely unchanged, with many of them simply getting swapped into new bio-bodies.

          • se jones

            “…all i *think* they’ve said”

            “they” would be the MIB right after he finishes with Teddy’s transfusion. MIB doesn’t expressly say when the transition to biotech took place, but it’s my strong impression that he’s lamenting the change to cheaper biotech in more recent times.

            Despite the fact that the biotech hosts are “cheaper”, I find it odd the MIB would lament the change. Lawrence calls the MIB a “sadistic fuck”, and indeed MIB doesn’t deny “if-the-shoe-fits”. But I should think a true “sadistic fuck” would prefer real blood ‘n gore over shooting and knifing some plastic robot thing. No?

            I think the writers are just messin with us with the logos.

            In the EPIC meeting of Ford with the MIB, Ford expressly tells MIB & Teddy that he doesn’t recognize the narrative of Dolores (farmer’s daughter) being kidnapped by Wyatt (“I figure your stories could use a little embellishment” says MIB).

            As far as Lawrence “reappearing” alive -again- in Paria, well duh so what, the girls in Sweetwater -for instance- get patched up and returned constantly as that is the gist of the story.

            The only thing that’s for sure: this is one great show that inspires so much passionate debate as it sparks the imagination from the things unseen or hinted at.

            IMO besides the STELLAR cast and high production values, the thing that makes WestWorld so engaging is that the Park is set on Earth while the all-too-common sci-fi time-warp virtual reality cliches are foregone for some good old storytelling.

            The ONE episode of “Person of Interest” that just plain pissed-me-off was the second installment of Shaw escaping the Samaritan crew only for the episode to be *another* goddamn virtual reality sim. Oh please – overdone cheap trick.

          • Scottlowther

            > But I should think a true “sadistic fuck” would prefer real blood ‘n

            gore over shooting and knifing some plastic robot thing. No?

            *Perhaps* the mechano-bots were physically stronger/faster/harder to kill than the bio-bots. Also maybe: *perhaps* Billy is soon to come to some grief due to bio-bot Dolores, and MIB will be born. But if Dolores was still a mechano-bot, Billy would not have had the same level of interest in her, and thus MIB knows he might not have come to that grief, and he could instead have gone on to be a happy guy rather than a bitter scumbag.

            > As far as Lawrence “reappearing” alive -again- in Paria, well duh so what,

            That reminds me. In I believe the most recent episode, something happens that’s hard to explain if the story is happening all at the same time. Billy and Logan are out in the middle of nowhere with Dolores. Dolores does not leave their camp for unexplained hours… yet she magically appears nekkid in front of Ford back at HQ. And then she’s back with Billy & Logan, without having apparently left them.

            Also: the bots re-appear all patched up the next day, ready to resume their loop. But Larry shows up looking different in *completely* different storyline.

          • se jones

            “*Perhaps* the mechano-bots were physically stronger/faster/harder to kill than the bio-bots.”

            Reminds me: my problem with BR Deckard being a replicant is; how is a replicant POLICEMAN of all things, less strong and durable than all the other replicants in the film – who are all kicking the shit out of him?

            “bots re-appear all patched up the next day” is a again, the gist of the story. But, IMO this does take a little glossing over, as I would think a mega-buck per day theme park would kinda be a 24 hour a day experience, kinda like Vegas ya know. When do you sneak the Hosts out for patch-up without the guests noticing all the 21st century workers milling about at night?

            The Hosts are evidently expensive and laborious to make (especially the brains), so re-tasking them to different storylines happens.

  • sferrin

    I could swear Billy and the Gunman have been in the same scene. How could that be if this theory is to be believed?