How Do We Get to ‘Westworld?’

Viewers of HBO’s Westworld aren’t just on the edge of their seats because the plot mechanisms are kicking into gear. The show forces viewers to engage with questions that have ramifications in reality: What does it mean to empathize with a robot? What makes a robot seem human? These are big questions, but ones that both artificial intelligence engineers and civilians will soon need to broach. It’s impossible to have a serious discussion about androids without talking about Hanson Robotics, the company that right now seems closest to bringing Westworld-style robots into the real world. Founded by David Hanson in 2003, the Hong Kong–based company is best known for Sophia, who recently sat through an interview with Charlie Rose, and Albert Einstein HUBO, the first walking robot with realistic expressions…


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