HBO’s new Westworld trailer shows AI ethical questions made flesh

HBO has what looks like an expansive new epic TV series on the way, only this time it’s swapping fantasy, swords and castles for androids, AI and western duds. Westworld is a new sci-fi series coming to the cable network beginning in October, based on the Michael Crichton film from 1973. In the original, a high-tech theme park with western, medieval and ancient Roman-themed sections staffed by super realistic robots goes haywire when the androids start rebelling.

The HBO series looks to follow the essential plot of the original with a fair amount of fidelity, although I’d wager we’re going to dig more into bigger ethical questions surrounding artificial intelligence, which has come a long way since 1973. Consider that a movement championed and backed by none other than Elon Musk exists to prevent AI from turning against its human creators.

Other modern TV shows have taken on the morality of building thinking, lifelike machines – British TV network Channel 4’s Humans is a good recent example. HBO’s take looks like it will focus a bit more on the action, with sweeping set pieces set in a photorealistic wild west which is part of the virtual amusement park depicted in the trailer.

If you’re not feeling the concept (you should be), then the cast might prove reason enough to stick around. It includes Hollywood legends like Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris, as well as Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Thandie Newton and many more recognizable names.