Westworld Doesn’t Understand the Nature of Consciousness

Picture 2 displays a vantage point that is basically the same, to us, as the one in Picture 1. Yet what’s different is that in this shot, there’s a human being; the Man in Black is doing what we’re doing in Picture 1, looking on at a host from the outside.

Here’s Picture 3:

The Man in Black

In Picture 3, we have something new. We have Dolores experiencing the unwanted advances of the Man in Black. This is no longer the storyteller situating us in the scene as an onlooker; rather, this is the storyteller giving us the very representation Dolores is currently having of the world.

The scene moves back and forth between Dolores, on the ground in dreadful expectation, and the aggressor at the door. We are shown the horror of this experience by seeing it as the experiencer is seeing it.

Here’s the takeaway, all of this is arguably innocuous, ethically speaking, if Dolores is a mere automaton, exhibiting only the outward behaviors of someone experiencing pain or dread.

I’m not claiming it’s ethically okay to do what the Man in Black is trying to do, so long as the object does not have consciousness. What I’m saying is that if Dolores is not conscious, then there’s no longer any other-directed harm; there’s only self-harm (the harm of doing something as spiritually corrosive as violating an object that is being conceived of as a human being.)

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