E3: ‘Westworld’ Creator Discusses ‘Artificial Intelligence’ Vs. ‘Artificial Stupidity’ When It Comes To AI

Jesse Grant Getty Images

HBO’s Westworld can be considered a cautionary tale of what happens when artificial intelligence (AI) gets too smart for its own good. However, for one of the show’s creators, AI is not the problem, rather “artificial stupidity” is, according to a recent panel at E3.

In the E3 panel, Westworld creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan discussed the topic of how the influence of video games has affected the storyline in Westworld. The Grand Theft Auto series, Portal, Perfect Dark, and Bioshock Infinite were used as examples during the discussion in relation to the AI portrayed in Westworld according to The Verge.

The E3 panel brought up the issue of how, in video games, the script cannot be altered even though gameplay may change. Nolan explained that he was often frustrated at this fact. As a result of this, in Westworld, guests at the theme park have the ability to participate in whatever storylines they choose and where the narrative is, somewhat, determined by their own input.

When the original Westworld movie was released in 1973, video gamers were enjoying games such as Pong. However, Westworld‘s original creator, Michael Crichton, managed to predict where the video gaming industry would head in the future. As a result of this, he created a reality in Westworld that saw humans playing the ultimate immersive video game where they are real yet can interact with AI around them to determine the storyline.

HBO's 'Westworld,' Jonathan Nolan, Lisa Joy, AI, artificial intelligence, E3
Featured image credit: John P. JohnsonHBO

With Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan now at the helm of the Westworld series, they are very much still intuiting where the future of AI could go, even if they admit that AI is a long way today from that portrayed in the TV series. As a result of their projections, viewers see a bleak world where the hosts become self-aware and attempt to rise up against their human creators is the current reality.

However, Jonathan Nolan thinks that Westworld portrays a positive future for AI.

“We’re a long way out from what the show portrays, [but] I don’t think the future looks like Westworld,” he explained at the E3 panel. “I think we’ll be lucky if the future looks like Westworld.”

While Westworld delves deeply into the morality surrounding artificial intelligence, Nolan suggests the reality of AI shouldn’t scare us now, but instead they should be wary of the “artificial stupidity” that can arise from the human condition.

“We talk a lot about artificial intelligence but we don’t talk a lot about artificial morality or artificial sanity, which I think is actually something we should be a little more concerned about… We shouldn’t be scared of artificial intelligence; we should be scared of artificial stupidity.”

You can view the Westworld panel from E3 in its entirety below.

Season 2 of Westworld returns with Episode 9 on Sunday, June 17, at 9 p.m. ET. Currently, two titles have been listed for this episode. According to HBO’s trailer for Episode 9, it is listed as “One True Thing.” However, according to HBO’s scheduling, this episode is titled “Vanishing Point.”