Westworld, the first seven episodes
Don’t read this if you haven’t already watched the first seven episodes, unless you want to have the story with its huge plot twist, ruined for you.
The question in my mind is, why use these potentially useful robots for no purpose other than as actors in a western theme park that only the richest of the rich can afford to visit?
So far, Westworld has revealed very little about the universe outside of the theme park. I use the word “universe” instead of “world” because we don’t even know for sure that the theme park is on the planet Earth.
So let me make some guesses about the world, based on logical assumptions from what little we know, but of course I could be completely wrong because I don’t always expect the people writing the stories for TV series to be logical all of the time.
I imagine a future where automation has put untold people out of work. The people who own the assets, the intellectual property, and the factories, become even richer while the rest of humanity sinks into poverty because there are no jobs for anyone, except for those people who can do something that provides some sort of amusement for the super rich. And that explains why there’s this vast industry of humans* working behind the scenes restoring robots and doing whatever other labor is required to run this theme park that only a very small number of the richest of the rich could ever afford to visit.
Yes, I put an asterisk next to “humans” because in episode seven we learn that at least one of the characters we thought was human is actually not human. However, all evidence points to, at most, only a handful of robots masquerading as human employees.
Back in the real world, I imagine that when technology was on the verge of being able to create robots indistinguishable from humans, laws were passed to make that illegal. Maybe people were worried about the few last remaining jobs being taken over by robots, or maybe they were worried about the robots taking over everything and killing all of the humans. One company was given a charter to create the most advanced robots that are indistinguishable from humans, but under the restriction that the robots had to be sequestered in a theme park. That Westworld might be on another planet then makes perfect sense, because if the robots got loose and took over, at least they’d be stuck on whatever planet they are on and would be no threat to the rest of humanity.
And with that background, as imagined as it is, we now understand what the board of the corporation really wants, which is to be allowed to sell robots to anyone who wants to buy one, for use as personal servants, factory workers, sex slaves, or whatever. That surely has to be a hundred times more profitable than running a robot theme park, if not thousands of times more profitable.
Ford, on the other hand, appears to be only interested in running a theme park. And he’s a little bit flakey in that endeavor, as it’s more interesting to him for its own sake rather than the practicalities of selling the experience to super-rich guests for a profit. No wonder why the board wants him removed.
Flakey, but evil.