Westworld showrunner Jonathan Nolan has one word for scientists working on creating true artificial intelligence: “Stop.”
The HBO writer-producer and his partner Lisa Joy were interviewed about the current season for Esquire‘s upcoming May 1 issue and were asked what they would tell AI designers given all their research into the subject for their sci-fi hit series.
Joy had a bit more to add beyond Nolan’s single-word warning: “Being careful of hubris is as important as knowing the technology that you are developing. See in yourself and other people the capacity both for evil and for good. Know that the machines you build, your creations, will bear your fingerprints to some degree. And not necessarily the fingerprints you intentionally left but the ones that kind of grazed it unintentionally. It’s important to have people who will question you occasionally.”
Westworld returned Sunday night with a riveting and violent premiere episode (clear up your confusion with EW’s recap here).
Previously, Joy talked to EW about the threat of AI from the other side of things, the human side, and how when warning about AI that people tend to overlook its effect on isolating people more from each other.
“There’s also what will happen with emotional intimacy when you’re forging a connection with creatures that are artificial,” she said. “They’ve done these tests where you can talk to a ‘bot and it’s almost as good as talking to a psychologist. People just need someone to listen to them sometimes and that’s easy code — really easy. So many of our drives are just primary colors, which is something that’s both beautiful and tragic about us. So many of us feel alone. But that feeling of loneliness is one of the fundamental building blocks of our collective psyches. It’s just going to open up so many question … One day they won’t have to even go out to dinner because they can just hook up into a VR machine and imagine the taste. We’re getting further and further from a tactile universe. Maybe I’m a Luddite in that way, but I prefer a board game in front of the fire. And that’s actually why Westworld was created within our story. We allude to it, but it’s that people without money have to settle for VR and AR. But once you get to the point where you can afford a trip to Westworld, you want that because you can feel the difference. You’re walking around smelling the air and touching the things. Technology takes us further and further away from, yet also takes us closer and closer to, the things we want in our lives.”