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Westworld—gun-slinging robots turn fantasies into nightmares

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Issue 2526
The rich can live out their most violent fantasies in Westworld
The rich can live out their most violent fantasies in Westworld

Westworld depicts a society where the rich pay vast amounts to take out their basest desires on a virtual reality populated by synthetic humans and animals.

They do this in a “Wild West” virtual reality where there are no consequences for their actions.

The programme presents these players as a bloodthirsty, depraved bunch. But it also shows them constrained by society outside the “game”.

They are unable to gratify their desires in the real world. Hence the need for Westworld.

The show gets interesting when a synthetic human discovers a picture dropped by one of the “newcomers”. This makes him question the nature of his reality.

Westworld asks what would we be like if there were no consequences to our actions.

The other side of that is how the victims fight back.

These are all themes that come across strongly in Westworld.

The question of the brutality with which Westworld’s rulers react when confronted with resistance is yet to play out.

The show is only a couple of episodes in.

An uprising of synthetic humans against their rich tormentors is by no means a new motif in science fiction. But it’s still one readers are sure to relish.

Sky Atlantic. Continues next Tuesday, 9pm

In Pursuit of Silence

Silence is a sound that should be explored and it has an historical importance to human survival that we’ll do well to remember.

That’s one of the central messages of this documentary film.

It will definitely make you think about the sounds of the world you inhabit.

That “peace and quiet” we often long for in times of stress is full of sound. Whether it’s a soothing sea or a peaceful forest, humans love the “silence” of nature.

The film suggests that the technology driven societies we have constructed rarely give us a minute’s peace and we are increasingly alienated from nature.

The film is visually stunning, audio rich and is well worth a watch—and a listen. Its mixture of images and sound is thought?provoking and the subject matter engages with all of our lives. It explores the impact of sound, noise and silence on our lives, our mood and our health.

By the end you may end up wondering if capitalism has ruined silence.

Directed by Patrick Shen. In cinemas 21 October


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