A fascinating analysis of the psychology behind Westworld. In Michael Crichton’s 1973 motion picture Westworld, people playing out fantasies find their lives in danger when robots built to entertain start to kill, creating an opportunity for viewers to examine an array of psychological phenomena. Today, the HBO television series reframes those questions and fears of technology gone awry in terms of twenty-first century concerns about rapidly evolving AI. The essays in this collection, edited by Travis Langley and Wind Goodfriend, explore those issues, offering fans an in-depth psychological exploration of the Westworld universe, including:
- When do synthetic people become sentient?
- When is artificial intelligence simply intelligence?
- What is the appeal of live-action role playing?
- Why does the Wild West intrigue us?
- How far will people go in pursuit of violent delights?
About the Author
Travis Langley, PhD, is a psychology professor at Henderson State University, the author of Batman and Psychology (Wiley), and the volume editor of The Walking Dead Psychology, Star Wars Psychology, Game of Thrones Psychology, and the rest of the works contained in the Popular Culture Psychology series published by Sterling. He speaks regularly on media and heroism at universities, conferences, and popular-culture conventions such as San Diego Comic-Con, New York Comic Con, and others throughout the world. Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics and other films have featured him as an expert interviewee, and the documentary Legends of the Knight spotlighted how he uses fiction to teach real psychology. Psychology Today carries his blog “Beyond Heroes and Villains,” and he is one of the 10 most popular psychologists on Twitter with over 100,000 followers: @superherologist.