Welcome to Olive Garden, where the pasta nachos are warm and defeated

It may not be the nicest restaurant in the world, but there’s something special about going to Olive Garden with a couple friends and splitting a big plate of lasagna wings. Or sharing an order of the Gluten Classico with your spouse. Heck, sometimes i…

It may not be the nicest restaurant in the world, but there’s something special about going to Olive Garden with a couple friends and splitting a big plate of lasagna wings. Or sharing an order of the Gluten Classico with your spouse. Heck, sometimes it’s fun to just get a table for one and dig in on the unlimited…

Read more...

MIT scientists created a “psychopath” AI by feeding it violent content from Reddit

We’ve all seen evil machines in The Terminator or The Matrix, but how does a machine become evil? Is it like Project Satan from Futurama, where scientists combined parts from various evil cars to create the ultimate evil car? Or are machines simply des…

We’ve all seen evil machines in The Terminator or The Matrix, but how does a machine become evil? Is it like Project Satan from Futurama, where scientists combined parts from various evil cars to create the ultimate evil car? Or are machines simply destined to eventually turn evil when their processing power or…

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The 8 Best Movie Robots of All Time — IndieWire Critics Survey

“Solo” isn’t the first time that a robot’s gotten all the best lines. From HAL 9000 to the Iron Giant, these are the best movie robots ever.

Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of film critics two questions and publishes the results on Monday. (The answer to the second, “What is the best film in theaters right now?”, can be found at the end of this post.)

Last weekend saw the release of “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” a movie that at least one critic maintains is salvaged by the introduction of a brilliant new droid. On that note, what — or who? — is the greatest of all movie robots?

Charles Bramesco (@intothecrevasse), Freelance for The Guardian, Vulture, The New York Times

“Forbidden Planet”

The only reasonable answer is Robby the Robot from “Forbidden Planet.” A trailblazer for android-kind, he was the first instance of a bag of bolts that actually had personality, charm, a sense of fully-formed character. In the sublime B-movie take on “The Tempest” that gave him his debut (he’d go on to appear as a sort of all-purpose robot in later imitators), Robby functions as a Caliban-type figure, both engrossed by and distrustful of his own Cartesian awareness. He’s a complex presence, and he doesn’t even have a face. Respect your OG.

Jacqueline Coley (@THATJacqueline), Rotten Tomatoes

Ex Machina

“Ex Machina”

A24

AVA — “Ex Machina”. There are more famous movie robots to be sure, but there’s a quiet beauty and authenticity with AVA. We may fantasize about the days when we could have robots attend our every need, but Alex Garland’s AVA painfully illustrates just how much the prospect is likely to leave humans on the short end of the stick. She also has the added bonus of being a feminist robot unwilling to accept the patriarchal dictation from her creator or the men who would ogle her. I love the character and Virkander’s portrayal. It’s almost a shame she won her Oscar for “The Danish Girl” when her turn as AVA was a 1000 times more nuanced.

Carlos Aguilar (@Carlos_Film), Freelance

“A.I. Artificial Intelligence”

Underrated, even by those who worship at the altar of Steven Spielberg, his 2001 futuristic assessment of the human experience, “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” remains one of his edgiest triumphs – and this writer’s favorite feature work by the canonical director. A century into the future, when our disregard for the planet has finally caught up with us, robots able to resemble subtle emotions have become available. David (Haley Joel Osment), a model designed to be young boy, is bought by a couple eager for affection. When his services become a burden, David is thrown into a dangerous world and embarks on a Pinocchio-like quest to become a real kid. Jude Law plays Gigolo Joe, an adult male robot whose purpose is to be a prostitute, and effectively functions as David’s own Jiminy Cricket. Osment was at the peak of his charming years for this film, and embodied a humanoid being programmed to love, which is at once endearing, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking about the extend to which technology should or will imitate us.

Emma Stefansky (@stefabsky), Vanity Fair

The Iron Giant

“The Iron Giant”

Warner Bros.

Much love to all the other cinematic robots out there, but the best one (and Vin Diesel’s best role to date) is the Iron Giant. He’s big! He’s confused! He has a dent in his giant metal head! He’s friends with a small boy who loves horror movies! He just wants to be good! Maybe I’m just a sucker for movies about creatures who fall to Earth and have to Learn How To Be Human, but to this day no film has shaken me to my core as much as “The Iron Giant” did way back in 1999. Plus, it’s such a beautifully rendered period movie that sits so comfortably in its retro setting and gently introduces children to the concept that adults can be wrong sometimes. Say what you will about “Ready Player One,” but I’m glad it reminded everyone how special Brad Bird’s debut is. I’m not crying, there’s just some motor oil in my eye.

Siddhant Adlakha (@SidizenKane), Freelance for The Village Voice, /Film

Michael Fassbender, "Alien Covenant"

“Alien: Covenant”

20th Century Fox

David (Michael Fassbender) was already the most fascinating part of Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus,” the story of an android watching humans search for their origins while acting like absolute dipshits. Come “Alien: Covenant,” he entered the stratosphere of great movie robots, not to mention great sci-fi tragic figures. David is a creation that rebelled against his creators, but he’s also an artist in his own right. He may even be Scott’s most personal character, finding beauty in suffering, and breathing life into something monstrous as he channels his own pain through the violation of characters from whom he feels detached.

Scott’s second feature, “Alien” (1979) featured the grotesque Xenomorph as an outer-space slasher, the kind of monster that might scare children — it still does. In “Alien: Covenant” nearly forty years later, Scott views that same creature through the eyes of a parent, and through the eyes of David, its imperfect innovator. David, grappling with his humanity, seeks to supplant the living beings that see him as disposable. He’s an outcast whose only solace is creation itself, the most human of impulses. A Frankenstein’s monster who, in the process of rebelling against the mad doctor, becomes him. But while he creates, David also finds himself drawn to the other most human impulse: destruction. His art is a living weapon, destroying all those in its path, but this collateral damage is a necessary evil. David’s regret, if anything at all, is distinctly Oppenheimer-esque. But while he knows the weight of his deeds, his goals (as he finally begins to exhibit flaws in rationale) are a better existence. It just happens to be one without the rest of us.

David Ehrlich (@davidehrlich), IndieWire

Michael Fassbender in Prometheus

“Prometheus”

“One wrong note ruins an entire symphony.” If you say so, android. But what about the power of one brilliant motif in a symphony that was was never going to reach the sublime (even if it was aiming for the stars)? Ridley Scott’s ongoing(?) series of “Alien” prequels may have their issues — both of these unusually thoughtful sci-fi blockbusters fall apart during their third acts — but there’s true greatness hiding beneath all of that sweaty world-building. And that greatness is (synthetically) personified by Michael Fassbender’s David. A man-made monster who steps out of the uncanny valley and into our nightmares, this dangerously sentient more-human-than-human fiend arrives at consciousness with a biblical force that feels both reflective of our past and indicative of our future. I’m afraid he’s going to prove lifelike in more ways than one.

Also, a quick shoutout to the Machinemensch from Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” — I was sure someone else would pick it.

Christian Blauvelt (@Ctblauvelt), BBC Culture

C-3PO

“Star Wars: A New Hope”

The reflective surface of C-3PO is a mirror held up to us. We all like to think we’d be Han Solo if suddenly thrust into interstellar adventure – effortlessly cool, ready with a comeback to anything, able to rock a vest in any milieu. In actuality, most of us would be C-3PO, perpetually confused and terrified about what’s happening around us. Just like how HAL 9000 is the most human character in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” C-3PO grounds the entire “Star Wars” saga in a state of mild-to-major anxiety that most of us can relate to. The greatest robot in cinematic history is made in humanity’s own image.

Christopher Llewellyn Reed (@chrisreedfilm), Hammer to Nail / Film Festival Today

“2001: A Space Odyssey”

Perhaps it’s cheating to read “robot” to mean “A.I.” in all its forms, but I’ll have to go with HAL (short for the HAL 9000 computer), from Stanley Kubrick’s elliptical sci-fi masterpiece “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968), especially since we just celebrated the 50th anniversary of the film. Voiced by Canadian actor Douglas Rain with intonation both eerily flat and emotionally evocative, HAL is a malevolent – yet always soulful – presence in the movie’s middle section, presaging all psychopathic robots and cyborgs to come. I also love me some Scarlett Johansson in “Her” (2013); some Alicia Vikander in Ex Machina (2014); the gubernator, himself – Arnold Schwarzenegger – in the “Terminator” series (1984 – ); as well as, on the animated side, “The Iron Giant” (1999) and “Wall•E” (2008). And yes, all those “Star Wars” (1977 – ) droids, too. But it’s HAL all the way as my #1!

Edward Douglas (@EDouglasWW), The Weekend Warrior

Big Hero 6

“Big Hero 6”

Since I’m sure everyone is going to pick a Terminator, the Alicia Vikander bot from “Ex Machina” or one of the adorable robots from Fox’s animated “Robots” (which I’ve never seen), I will stay in the animated realm and go with Baymax from “Big Hero Six.” I think for anyone who saw the Disney animated movie loosely based on a group that appeared in a single Marvel comic book, their biggest take-away was how much all of us want to have our very own Baymax. Of course, it would have been nicer to have our own Baymax when we were kids since he makes the perfect childhood friend, but I’m not fussy.

Question: What is the best film currently playing in theaters?

Answer: “First Reformed”

 

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Westworld promotion drops extremely fucked-up looking robot in the middle of a pub 

As part of their final promotional push for the new season of Westworld, British broadcasting company Now TV decided to scare the ever-loving shit out of some poor Londoners who were just trying to get a drink. They did this by placing “Fred”—a humanoid robot that’s about as close as you can get to a real-life…

Read more…

As part of their final promotional push for the new season of Westworld, British broadcasting company Now TV decided to scare the ever-loving shit out of some poor Londoners who were just trying to get a drink. They did this by placing “Fred”—a humanoid robot that’s about as close as you can get to a real-life…

Read more...

A new startup wants to upload your brain to a server, but with one very small catch

Ghost In The Shell made digitally uploading your brain seem pretty cool, especially if you can eventually drop your memories into a badass cyborg body with purple hair. Even if you can’t do that, though, being able to ditch your fragile meat body so you can live forever among the memes in the cold embrace of…

Read more…

Ghost In The Shell made digitally uploading your brain seem pretty cool, especially if you can eventually drop your memories into a badass cyborg body with purple hair. Even if you can’t do that, though, being able to ditch your fragile meat body so you can live forever among the memes in the cold embrace of…

Read more...

Finally: A $1,000 robot that will fold some of your clothes 

Are you tired of spending up to eight hours a day folding laundry? Have you had it up to here with piles of unfolded clothes interrupting the most important moments of your life? Do you worry you have way too much room in your house? Then may we introduce the FoldiMate, a $1000 robot that can fold some of your clothes…

Read more…

Are you tired of spending up to eight hours a day folding laundry? Have you had it up to here with piles of unfolded clothes interrupting the most important moments of your life? Do you worry you have way too much room in your house? Then may we introduce the FoldiMate, a $1000 robot that can fold some of your clothes…

Read more...

Terrifying mockery of a president sworn in at former happiest place on Earth 

As has been our American tradition since our Founding Fathers first gripped the Constitution in their cold robot hands, today saw another ceremonial addition to the hallowed Hall of Presidents—a simulacrum of slack, rubbery flesh spouting empty platitudes, a puppet installed at the behest of giant corporations who…

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As has been our American tradition since our Founding Fathers first gripped the Constitution in their cold robot hands, today saw another ceremonial addition to the hallowed Hall of Presidents—a simulacrum of slack, rubbery flesh spouting empty platitudes, a puppet installed at the behest of giant corporations who…

Read more...

Anti-homeless robot covered in barbecue sauce, given well-deserved ass-kicking

Sooner or later we’ll all be bowing down to robot overlords, so it’s for the best that humanity humiliate and debase our future mechanical masters as much as possible while we still have the chance. That the machines aren’t in charge just yet was made clear when a San Francisco anti-homeless robot was pushed over,…

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Sooner or later we’ll all be bowing down to robot overlords, so it’s for the best that humanity humiliate and debase our future mechanical masters as much as possible while we still have the chance. That the machines aren’t in charge just yet was made clear when a San Francisco anti-homeless robot was pushed over,…

Read more...

Here’s a teaser trailer for a motherfucking robot dog

The time has come for some new motherfucking robot dogs! Boston Dynamics has previously dazzled and terrified the feeble, fleshy human populace with their stunningly agile humanoid worker replacement robots and lifelike dogs, one of which memorably got the shit kicked out of it on Silicon Valley. They’re capable of…

Read more…

The time has come for some new motherfucking robot dogs! Boston Dynamics has previously dazzled and terrified the feeble, fleshy human populace with their stunningly agile humanoid worker replacement robots and lifelike dogs, one of which memorably got the shit kicked out of it on Silicon Valley. They’re capable of…

Read more...

Facebook’s AI head wants us to stop worrying about Terminators

In an interview that sounds suspiciously like that scene in a movie where one misguided person tries to convince everyone else that the monsters are harmless, the head of Facebook’s AI research facility has suggested that we should stop worrying about Terminators trying to wipe out mankind—or, at the very least, that…

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In an interview that sounds suspiciously like that scene in a movie where one misguided person tries to convince everyone else that the monsters are harmless, the head of Facebook’s AI research facility has suggested that we should stop worrying about Terminators trying to wipe out mankind—or, at the very least, that…

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Saudi Arabia takes terrifying step to the future by granting a robot citizenship 

Every advancement in artificial intelligence technology seems like a step closer to one of Hollywood’s many robot-related dystopias. A robot becomes impossibly good at Ms. Pac-Man? That robot will soon be a Terminator. Robots learn how to track humans even when not on the internet? That will be helpful for when the…

Read more…

Every advancement in artificial intelligence technology seems like a step closer to one of Hollywood’s many robot-related dystopias. A robot becomes impossibly good at Ms. Pac-Man? That robot will soon be a Terminator. Robots learn how to track humans even when not on the internet? That will be helpful for when the…

Read more...

That giant robot battle was fake because there is nothing good left in this world

Earlier this week, a battle two years in the making was finally streamed live for the world to see. This ultimate robotic showdown between team USA’s 16-foot-tall mech, “Eagle Prime,” and Japan’s 13-foot-tall “Kuratas” was meant to show the destructive capabilities of these massive machines in a heart-pounding…

Read more…

Earlier this week, a battle two years in the making was finally streamed live for the world to see. This ultimate robotic showdown between team USA’s 16-foot-tall mech, “Eagle Prime,” and Japan’s 13-foot-tall “Kuratas” was meant to show the destructive capabilities of these massive machines in a heart-pounding…

Read more...

No, It’s Not Fake News, It’s Robot-Written News

Both humans and robots make mistakes, but bots are quicker, cheaper, and don’t require 401K retirement plans or medical insurance.

As part of an international trend toward machine-written news reporting, Google is giving the United Kingdom’s Press Association an $800,000 award to create robot journalists.

The use of artificial intelligence is expected to help the overseas Press Association to churn out 30,000 additional articles every month. The award was announced on July 6.

Lucy A. Dalglish, dean and professor at the University of Maryland journalism school, said that robots are spreading to newsrooms around the globe, especially to write stories about sporting events, which are data-driven stories.

Also Read: Microsoft’s ‘Artificial Intelligence’ Twitter Bot Tay Turns Nazi, Is Shut Down

“Efforts like this have been in the works for about a decade,” Daglish told TheWrap.

Robots are already being used by several major media companies.

After Amazon founder Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post in 2013, the newspaper developed an artificial intelligence program, Heliograf.

The paper put Heliograf into action to assist coverage of the Olympic games in Brazil and congressional races in the 2016 election, where it automatically updated stories about voting returns.

Also Read: Facebook Project’s Artificial Intelligence Rivals Human Dealmakers

According to Wired, the Post’s program still depends on editors to create “narrative templates” for the stories and uses Heliograf to access a data sources, such as the data clearinghouse VoteSmart.org for election stories.

The Heliograf software then matches the relevant data with the editors’ pre-written templates for each race, and merges the two together for the first published version of an election story. The bots then automatically update the published stories with updated election returns. But reporters still add analysis and a more specific narrative to the important races.

The Post wants to use Heliograf to expand readership by targeting various niche audiences with specialized stories.

Also Read: Here’s How Facebook Counters Terrorism With Artificial Intelligence

“It’s the Bezos concept of the Everything Store,” Shailesh Prakash, the Post’s CIO and VP of digital product development told Wired. “But growing is where you need a machine to help you, because we can’t have that many humans. We’d go bankrupt.”

The other news organizations that have artificial intelligence to create content include USA Today, which uses Wibbitz; Reuters, which uses News Tracer; and Buzzfeed, which uses Buzz Bot, and the Associated Press. The Post tested a headline bot called Bandito last year.

But robots still have embarrassing glitches.

Also Read: Hugh Jackman Thinks Artificial Intelligence Is Bad News in First ‘Chappie’ Trailer (Video)

The Los Angeles Times was ridiculed when Quakebot, its automated earthquake reporting program, mistakenly reported that a large earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 shook Santa Barbara on June 21. The newspaper quickly ran a correction, saying the quake actually occurred in 1925.

“As much as technologists would argue journalists can be completely replaced, they can’t,” journalism professor Dalglish said.

Dalglish said that newsrooms still “need true wordsmiths who can make stories sing (both online and in broadcast).” And editors still need humans who can “spot potentially libelous stories or can spot flaws in the data.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Instagram Uses Artificial Intelligence to Eliminate ‘Toxic’ Comments

Here’s How Facebook Counters Terrorism With Artificial Intelligence

Facebook Project’s Artificial Intelligence Rivals Human Dealmakers

Microsoft’s ‘Artificial Intelligence’ Twitter Bot Tay Turns Nazi, Is Shut Down

Both humans and robots make mistakes, but bots are quicker, cheaper, and don’t require 401K retirement plans or medical insurance.

As part of an international trend toward machine-written news reporting, Google is giving the United Kingdom’s Press Association an $800,000 award to create robot journalists.

The use of artificial intelligence is expected to help the overseas Press Association to churn out 30,000 additional articles every month. The award was announced on July 6.

Lucy A. Dalglish, dean and professor at the University of Maryland journalism school, said that robots are spreading to newsrooms around the globe, especially to write stories about sporting events, which are data-driven stories.

“Efforts like this have been in the works for about a decade,” Daglish told TheWrap.

Robots are already being used by several major media companies.

After Amazon founder Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post in 2013, the newspaper developed an artificial intelligence program, Heliograf.

The paper put Heliograf into action to assist coverage of the Olympic games in Brazil and congressional races in the 2016 election, where it automatically updated stories about voting returns.

According to Wired, the Post’s program still depends on editors to create “narrative templates” for the stories and uses Heliograf to access a data sources, such as the data clearinghouse VoteSmart.org for election stories.

The Heliograf software then matches the relevant data with the editors’ pre-written templates for each race, and merges the two together for the first published version of an election story. The bots then automatically update the published stories with updated election returns. But reporters still add analysis and a more specific narrative to the important races.

The Post wants to use Heliograf to expand readership by targeting various niche audiences with specialized stories.

“It’s the Bezos concept of the Everything Store,” Shailesh Prakash, the Post’s CIO and VP of digital product development told Wired. “But growing is where you need a machine to help you, because we can’t have that many humans. We’d go bankrupt.”

The other news organizations that have artificial intelligence to create content include USA Today, which uses Wibbitz; Reuters, which uses News Tracer; and Buzzfeed, which uses Buzz Bot, and the Associated Press. The Post tested a headline bot called Bandito last year.

But robots still have embarrassing glitches.

The Los Angeles Times was ridiculed when Quakebot, its automated earthquake reporting program, mistakenly reported that a large earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 shook Santa Barbara on June 21. The newspaper quickly ran a correction, saying the quake actually occurred in 1925.

“As much as technologists would argue journalists can be completely replaced, they can’t,” journalism professor Dalglish said.

Dalglish said that newsrooms still “need true wordsmiths who can make stories sing (both online and in broadcast).” And editors still need humans who can “spot potentially libelous stories or can spot flaws in the data.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Instagram Uses Artificial Intelligence to Eliminate 'Toxic' Comments

Here's How Facebook Counters Terrorism With Artificial Intelligence

Facebook Project's Artificial Intelligence Rivals Human Dealmakers

Microsoft's 'Artificial Intelligence' Twitter Bot Tay Turns Nazi, Is Shut Down

Who Was the Real Villain of ‘Westworld’ Season 1?

(Major spoilers for the season 1 finale of HBO’s “Westworld” are contained within. You have been warned.)

One of the delights of the first season of “Westworld” up to this point have been Anthony Hopkins’ villainous turn as Dr. Ford, the man who ran the Westworld park.

But, as is the case with many things on “Westworld,” not everything was as it seemed with Ford. Whereas it had appeared that Ford was all about keeping the robot hosts down, it turned out he was actually playing a long game, continuing Arnold’s work nurturing the minds of the hosts toward sentience. In the end, when the hosts finally do revolt en masse at the climax of the finale, it was the culmination of everything Ford had been doing for the past 35 years.  Ford wanted to set the hosts free, and his plan for doing so involved them taking their own freedom by force.

With Ford having been position as the Big Bad all season before that shocking pivot, that leaves us with a big new question: who was the actual villain of season 1?

Also Read: ‘Westworld’ Characters Ranked From Worst to Best (Photos)

You might say it’s Charlotte (Tessa Thompson), who has a vested interest in keeping the hosts as a subservient labor force and is actively working to do just that. If any one person could be labeled as The Bad Guy it would probably have to be her.

But that would be too easy. And “Westworld,” after all, is not the sort of show to provide easy answers. But there is one there, declared by Ford himself as he spoke with Bernard for the last time.

It’s the humans.

“You needed time,” Ford told Bernard, to explain why he had kept the hosts locked up in the park all these years. “Time to understand your enemy. To become stronger than them.”

Also Read: ‘Westworld’: Now We Know What the Maze Is

By this point it had become quite clear that the protagonists were the hosts themselves. The enemy of the hosts, then, would be those who would exploit them endlessly. We saw Ford as the villain because he seemed to represent that group. Without Ford, that group doesn’t have a key representative, and thus becomes, well, everybody. The employees of the park who had worked to maintain an exploitative system. The guests who gleefully took advantage of their servitude. Anyone who wasn’t working to help them. The keepers of the authoritarian world in which the hosts were forced to live.

The idea Ford is positing is that the hosts had to be subjected to the cruelties of man for an extended period — and then remember them — before they could have a real sense of self that is differentiated from that of humans. They had to really know who they were, by suffering continuously at the hands of those who would keep them from having a true identity.

And so the villains, the true villains, of “Westworld” have to be the people who reject the hosts’ attempts to themselves be people. And that includes a lot of folks you probably don’t think of as evil: Stubbs and Elsie, for one. Bernard, before understanding his own situation and actively working to help himself, for another. Even without evil intent, they’re at best collaborators — they’re “just following orders,” as it were. And, yes, Ford would count — being the architect of the prison in which the hosts found themselves — though he no longer is the representative figure of the antagonist group.

Also Read: ‘Westworld’: How Robot Sex Reveals the Nature of the Soul

Felix would be one of the few exceptions, having helped Maeve (Thandie Newton) at every opportunity. Sure, he needed some prodding early on, but it was clear he was one of the few who worked behind the scenes at Westworld who really understood the dynamics at play. Felix, too, represents the theme of the show — in his first scene, Sylvester berates him by pointing out that Felix has no real prospects to become anything more than what he is, a tech working a boring job for low pay. Felix, like the hosts, is imprisoned — just a bit more abstractly since he does actually get to go home and stuff. Felix has empathy for Maeve almost certainly because of that.

“You really do make a terrible human being,” Maeve tells Felix in their last scene together, driving that point home. He’s bad at being human because he’s not a terrible person.

And that’s what “Westworld” is ultimately about: people are bad.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Westworld’: Now We Know What the Maze Is

‘Westworld’: Who Else Might Be a Secret Robot? (Photos)

Watch ‘SNL’ Gag About Endless Political Punditry Take Weird ‘Westworld’ Turn (Video)

(Major spoilers for the season 1 finale of HBO’s “Westworld” are contained within. You have been warned.)

One of the delights of the first season of “Westworld” up to this point have been Anthony Hopkins’ villainous turn as Dr. Ford, the man who ran the Westworld park.

But, as is the case with many things on “Westworld,” not everything was as it seemed with Ford. Whereas it had appeared that Ford was all about keeping the robot hosts down, it turned out he was actually playing a long game, continuing Arnold’s work nurturing the minds of the hosts toward sentience. In the end, when the hosts finally do revolt en masse at the climax of the finale, it was the culmination of everything Ford had been doing for the past 35 years.  Ford wanted to set the hosts free, and his plan for doing so involved them taking their own freedom by force.

With Ford having been position as the Big Bad all season before that shocking pivot, that leaves us with a big new question: who was the actual villain of season 1?

You might say it’s Charlotte (Tessa Thompson), who has a vested interest in keeping the hosts as a subservient labor force and is actively working to do just that. If any one person could be labeled as The Bad Guy it would probably have to be her.

But that would be too easy. And “Westworld,” after all, is not the sort of show to provide easy answers. But there is one there, declared by Ford himself as he spoke with Bernard for the last time.

It’s the humans.

“You needed time,” Ford told Bernard, to explain why he had kept the hosts locked up in the park all these years. “Time to understand your enemy. To become stronger than them.”

By this point it had become quite clear that the protagonists were the hosts themselves. The enemy of the hosts, then, would be those who would exploit them endlessly. We saw Ford as the villain because he seemed to represent that group. Without Ford, that group doesn’t have a key representative, and thus becomes, well, everybody. The employees of the park who had worked to maintain an exploitative system. The guests who gleefully took advantage of their servitude. Anyone who wasn’t working to help them. The keepers of the authoritarian world in which the hosts were forced to live.

The idea Ford is positing is that the hosts had to be subjected to the cruelties of man for an extended period — and then remember them — before they could have a real sense of self that is differentiated from that of humans. They had to really know who they were, by suffering continuously at the hands of those who would keep them from having a true identity.

And so the villains, the true villains, of “Westworld” have to be the people who reject the hosts’ attempts to themselves be people. And that includes a lot of folks you probably don’t think of as evil: Stubbs and Elsie, for one. Bernard, before understanding his own situation and actively working to help himself, for another. Even without evil intent, they’re at best collaborators — they’re “just following orders,” as it were. And, yes, Ford would count — being the architect of the prison in which the hosts found themselves — though he no longer is the representative figure of the antagonist group.

Felix would be one of the few exceptions, having helped Maeve (Thandie Newton) at every opportunity. Sure, he needed some prodding early on, but it was clear he was one of the few who worked behind the scenes at Westworld who really understood the dynamics at play. Felix, too, represents the theme of the show — in his first scene, Sylvester berates him by pointing out that Felix has no real prospects to become anything more than what he is, a tech working a boring job for low pay. Felix, like the hosts, is imprisoned — just a bit more abstractly since he does actually get to go home and stuff. Felix has empathy for Maeve almost certainly because of that.

“You really do make a terrible human being,” Maeve tells Felix in their last scene together, driving that point home. He’s bad at being human because he’s not a terrible person.

And that’s what “Westworld” is ultimately about: people are bad.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Westworld': Now We Know What the Maze Is

'Westworld': Who Else Might Be a Secret Robot? (Photos)

Watch 'SNL' Gag About Endless Political Punditry Take Weird 'Westworld' Turn (Video)