September 5, 2019 9:00 pm

Step Inside Westworld and the Future of Artificial Intelligence

What makes us human? What distinguishes us from robots? Is the line getting thinner or is it carved in stone? On this week’s episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson sits down with Westworld star James Marsden to explore the morality, science, and wonder behind the hit HBO show. In-studio, Neil is joined by comic co-host Chuck Nice, philosopher Susan Schneider, and neuroscientist David Eagleman, PhD.

Kris Denton’s Photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and James Marsden.

Photo Credit: Kris Denton.

You’ll hear how James prepares to play a role that’s human on the surface, but much more complex underneath. He discusses the different levels of consciousness he has to portray depending on the scene. We investigate if creating a theme park full of artificial intelligence is in humanity’s near future.

We debate when artificial intelligence will become indistinguishable from humans. To further this conversation, the artificially intelligent robot Sophia drops by the studio to explore the “realities” of being artificially intelligent. Do robots have free will? Should we treat Sophia the way we would treat a human – even if she doesn’t have emotions? You’ll learn why Sophia says that having to prove sentience is nearly an impossible task.

We discuss the benefits and risks of implementing AI into everyday life. Then, we answer fan-submitted Cosmic Queries on The Matrix, AI twitter bots turning into online trolls, and why Neil isn’t afraid of being replaced by artificial intelligence. You’ll also hear what happens when a predictive AI is tasked with studying hundreds of Neil’s tweets and coming up with its own.

Neuroscientist and Westworld science consultant David Eagleman, PhD, drops in to take us behind-the-scenes on some of the science of the show. David explains how you could give AI more senses than humans. We ponder how we should define reality when consciousness extends to artificial intelligence. Lastly, James tells us why we should tackle the future of AI using discipline, intelligence, and caution. All that, plus, our panel answers the age-old question: would you want to live forever?

Please join us tomorrow night for Westworld and the Future of AI, with James Marsden at 7pm ET right here on our website, as well as on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re a StarTalk+ Patron or an All-Access subscriber, you can listen to this episode ad-free at 7pm, too.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
-Ian Mullen