Westworld and AI: How Close are We to Truly “Human” Artificial Intelligence?

Not very, but that could change with the right programming

Angela and William on Westworld

The first season of Westworld had us asking ourselves if we were looking at our future. With our huge advances in technology, will we see androids that are impossible to differentiate from humans in our lifetime? If so, is that something we should celebrate or fear?


Entrepreneur delves into the issue by comparing the evolution of AI in our world with how it’s portrayed on Westworld. The article states that “Westworld’s narrative begins in a way that is quite similar to the true beginning of AI – it may not look the same (you don’t see many human-like ‘hosts’ wandering the streets), but the technology behaves the same. In the beginning, Westworld ‘hosts’ engage with humans by spitting out canned responses that are personalized based on the interaction.”

We can already see this happening in our world, with Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. The current focus of this technology is on practical applications – providing facts and figures. “Most AI solutions are trained on left brain information” which makes it “largely clinical, canned and limited.” The potential lies in training AI on right brain information; to train AI to “remember and reflect on not just facts and figures, but desires, doubts, opinions and passions.”

What does the future hold?

Dolores Creation on Westworld

Our technology is already advanced enough to make this possible, but “companies that have access to a wealth of computing power and data may fail to implement successful AI solutions unless they undergo a significant cultural shift.” The key to more “human” AI is for companies to move toward teaching it “human interactions, human emotions, speech patterns, and human responses to information.”

It sounds simple enough, but making this type of AI a reality is a quite complex process. A computer would need “to develop empathy. It needs to understand all the markers of human interaction like tone, emotion, sentiment and timing, not just words… Once the computer understands how to process human interaction data, it can learn from it.” This technology could potentially help companies “automate a large chunk of data analysis, decision making and customer service, allowing employees to tackle the most complex challenges rather than get bogged down in the details.”

Westworld-type AI could prove very useful to our society, but what about the dangers? The author doesn’t “foresee an apocalyptic robot takeover happening any time soon (or ever for that matter).” Maybe not, but if computers can learn and emulate human emotion, who’s to say they can’t learn and mimic human behavior – the good and the bad – as well?

Check out the entire article over at Entrepreneur, and let us know what you think about the potential for AI in the comments. Do you want to see Westworld-style robots become a reality?

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