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AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES MIGHT DRIVE CITIES TO FINANCIAL RUIN WIRED/GETTY IMAGES IN ANN ARBOR, Michigan, last week, 125 mostly white, mostly male, business-card-bearing attendees crowded into a brightly lit ballroom to consider “mobility.” That’s the buzzword for a hazy vision of how tech in all forms—including smartphones, credit cards, and autonomous vehicles— will combine with the remains of traditional public transit to get urbanites where they need to go. There was a fizz in the air at the Meeting of the Minds session, advertised as a summit to prepare cities for the “autonomous revolution.” In the US, most automotive research happens within an hour of that ballroom, and attendees knew that development of “level 4” autonomous vehicles—designed to operate in limited locations, but without a human driver intervening—is accelerating. Susan Crawford (@scrawford) is an Ideas contributor for WIRED, a professor at Harvard Law School, and the author of Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age. The session raised profound questions for American cities. Namely, how to follow the money to ensure that autonomous vehicles don’t drive cities to financial ruin. The advent of driverless cars will likely mean that municipalities will have to make do with much, much less. Driverless cars, left to their own devices, will be fundamentally predatory: taking a lot, giving little, and shifting burdens to beleaguered local governments. It would be a good idea to slam on the brakes while cities work through their priorities. Otherwise, we risk creating municipalities that are utterly incapable of assisting almost anyone with anything—a series of sprawling relics where American cities used to be. The problem, as speaker Nico Larco, director of the Urbanism Next Center at the University of Oregon, explained, is that many cities balance their budgets using money brought in by cars: gas taxes, vehicle registration fees, traffic tickets, and billions of dollars in parking revenue. But driverless cars don’t need these things: Many will be electric, will never get a ticket, and can circle the block endlessly rather than park. Because these sources account for somewhere between 15 and 50 percent of city transportation revenue in America, as autonomous vehicles become more common, huge deficits are ahead. Driverless cars, left to their own devices, will be fundamentally predatory: taking a lot, giving little, and shifting burdens to beleaguered local governments. Cities know this: They’re beginning to look at fees that could be charged for accessing pickup and dropoff zones, taxes for empty seats, fees for parking fleets of cars, and other creative assessments that might make up the difference. But many states, urged on by auto manufacturers, won’t let cities take these steps. Several have already acted to block local policies regulating self-driving cars. Michigan, for example, does not allow Detroit, a short drive away from that Ann Arbor ballroom, to make any rules about driverless cars. This loss of city revenue comes at a harrowing time. Thousands of local public entities are already struggling financially following the Great Recession. Dozens are stuck with enormous debt loads—usually pension overhangs—that force them to devote unsustainable portions of their incoming revenue to servicing debt. Cities serve as the front lines of every pressing social problem the country is battling: homelessness, illiteracy, inadequate health care, you name it. They don’t have any resources to lose. The rise of autonomous vehicles will put struggling sections of cities at a particular disadvantage. Unemployment may be low as a national matter, but it is far higher in isolated, majority-minority parts of cities. In those sharply-segregated areas, where educational and health outcomes are routinely far worse than in majority white areas, the main barrier to employment is access to transport. Social mobility depends on being able to get from point A to point B at a low cost. Take Detroit, a city where auto insurance is prohibitively expensive and transit has been cut back, making it hard for many people to get around. “The bus is just not coming,” Mark de la Vergne, Detroit’s Chief of Mobility Innovation, told the gathering last week, adding that most people in the City of Detroit make less than $57,000 a year and can’t afford a car. De la Vergne told the group in the Ann Arbor ballroom about a low-income Detroit resident who wanted a job but couldn’t even get to the interview without assistance in the form of a very expensive Lyft ride. That story is, in a nutshell, the problem for America. We have systematically underinvested in public transit: less than 1 percent of our GDP goes to transit. Private services are marketed as complements to public ways of getting around, but in reality these services are competitive. Although economic growth is usually accompanied by an uptick in public transit use, ridership is down in San Francisco, where half the residents use Uber or Lyft. Where ridership goes down, already-low levels of investment in public transit will inevitably get even lower. Although economic growth is usually accompanied by an uptick in public transit use, ridership is down in San Francisco, where half the residents use Uber or Lyft. When driverless cars take the place of Uber or Lyft, cities will be asked to take on the burden of paying for low-income residents to travel, with whatever quarters they can find lying around in city couches. Result: Cities will be even less able to serve all their residents with public spaces and high-quality services. Even rich people won’t like that. It will take great power and great leadership to head off this grim future. Here’s an idea, from France: There, the government charges 3 percent on the total gross salaries of all employees of companies with more than 11 employees, and the proceeds fund a local transport authority. (The tax is levied on the employer not the employee, and in return, employees receive subsidized or free travel on public transport.) At the Ann Arbor meeting, Andreas Mai, vice president of market development at Keolis, said that the Bordeaux transit authority charges a flat fee of about $50 per month for unlimited access to all forms of transit (trams, trains, buses, bikes, ferries, park and ride). The hard-boiled US crowd listening to him audibly gasped at that figure. Ridership is way up, the authority has brought many more buses into service, and it is recovering far more of its expenditures than any comparable US entity. Mai said it required a very strong leader to pull together 28 separate transit systems and convince them to hand over their budgets to the local authority. But it happened. It’s all just money. We have it; we just need to allocate it better. That will mean viewing public transit as a crucial element of well-being in America. And, in the meantime, we need to press Pause on aggressive plans to deploy driverless cars in cities across the United States. More Great WIRED Stories How Facebook groups became a bizarre bazaar for elephant tusks Pulling water out of air? Grab some ions or a weird sponge Larry Page’s flying-car project suddenly seems rather real Encyclopædia Britannica wants to fix false Google results PHOTO ESSAY: The trailblazing women who fight California’s fires Hungry for even more deep dives on your next favorite topic? Sign up for the Backchannel newsletter RELATED VIDEO TRANSPORTATION The Self-Driving Truck Race Heats Up With a Driverless Test Starsky heat up the competition for driverless trucks with its first closed road test of a completely driverless car. #CITY#ANN ARBOR#AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE#AMERICAN#DRIVERLESS CAR

images 2 - AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES MIGHT DRIVE CITIES TO FINANCIAL RUIN  WIRED/GETTY IMAGES IN ANN ARBOR, Michigan, last week, 125 mostly white, mostly male, business-card-bearing attendees crowded into a brightly lit ballroom to consider "mobility." That’s the buzzword for a hazy vision of how tech in all forms—including smartphones, credit cards, and autonomous vehicles— will combine with the remains of traditional public transit to get urbanites where they need to go.  There was a fizz in the air at the Meeting of the Minds session, advertised as a summit to prepare cities for the "autonomous revolution." In the US, most automotive research happens within an hour of that ballroom, and attendees knew that development of "level 4" autonomous vehicles—designed to operate in limited locations, but without a human driver intervening—is accelerating.   Susan Crawford (@scrawford) is an Ideas contributor for WIRED, a professor at Harvard Law School, and the author of Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age.  The session raised profound questions for American cities. Namely, how to follow the money to ensure that autonomous vehicles don't drive cities to financial ruin. The advent of driverless cars will likely mean that municipalities will have to make do with much, much less. Driverless cars, left to their own devices, will be fundamentally predatory: taking a lot, giving little, and shifting burdens to beleaguered local governments. It would be a good idea to slam on the brakes while cities work through their priorities. Otherwise, we risk creating municipalities that are utterly incapable of assisting almost anyone with anything—a series of sprawling relics where American cities used to be.  The problem, as speaker Nico Larco, director of the Urbanism Next Center at the University of Oregon, explained, is that many cities balance their budgets using money brought in by cars: gas taxes, vehicle registration fees, traffic tickets, and billions of dollars in parking revenue. But driverless cars don't need these things: Many will be electric, will never get a ticket, and can circle the block endlessly rather than park. Because these sources account for somewhere between 15 and 50 percent of city transportation revenue in America, as autonomous vehicles become more common, huge deficits are ahead.  Driverless cars, left to their own devices, will be fundamentally predatory: taking a lot, giving little, and shifting burdens to beleaguered local governments.  Cities know this: They're beginning to look at fees that could be charged for accessing pickup and dropoff zones, taxes for empty seats, fees for parking fleets of cars, and other creative assessments that might make up the difference.  But many states, urged on by auto manufacturers, won't let cities take these steps. Several have already acted to block local policies regulating self-driving cars. Michigan, for example, does not allow Detroit, a short drive away from that Ann Arbor ballroom, to make any rules about driverless cars.  This loss of city revenue comes at a harrowing time. Thousands of local public entities are already struggling financially following the Great Recession. Dozens are stuck with enormous debt loads—usually pension overhangs—that force them to devote unsustainable portions of their incoming revenue to servicing debt. Cities serve as the front lines of every pressing social problem the country is battling: homelessness, illiteracy, inadequate health care, you name it. They don't have any resources to lose.  The rise of autonomous vehicles will put struggling sections of cities at a particular disadvantage. Unemployment may be low as a national matter, but it is far higher in isolated, majority-minority parts of cities. In those sharply-segregated areas, where educational and health outcomes are routinely far worse than in majority white areas, the main barrier to employment is access to transport. Social mobility depends on being able to get from point A to point B at a low cost.  Take Detroit, a city where auto insurance is prohibitively expensive and transit has been cut back, making it hard for many people to get around. "The bus is just not coming," Mark de la Vergne, Detroit's Chief of Mobility Innovation, told the gathering last week, adding that most people in the City of Detroit make less than $57,000 a year and can't afford a car. De la Vergne told the group in the Ann Arbor ballroom about a low-income Detroit resident who wanted a job but couldn't even get to the interview without assistance in the form of a very expensive Lyft ride.  That story is, in a nutshell, the problem for America. We have systematically underinvested in public transit: less than 1 percent of our GDP goes to transit. Private services are marketed as complements to public ways of getting around, but in reality these services are competitive. Although economic growth is usually accompanied by an uptick in public transit use, ridership is down in San Francisco, where half the residents use Uber or Lyft. Where ridership goes down, already-low levels of investment in public transit will inevitably get even lower.  Although economic growth is usually accompanied by an uptick in public transit use, ridership is down in San Francisco, where half the residents use Uber or Lyft.  When driverless cars take the place of Uber or Lyft, cities will be asked to take on the burden of paying for low-income residents to travel, with whatever quarters they can find lying around in city couches. Result: Cities will be even less able to serve all their residents with public spaces and high-quality services. Even rich people won't like that.  It will take great power and great leadership to head off this grim future. Here's an idea, from France: There, the government charges 3 percent on the total gross salaries of all employees of companies with more than 11 employees, and the proceeds fund a local transport authority. (The tax is levied on the employer not the employee, and in return, employees receive subsidized or free travel on public transport.)  At the Ann Arbor meeting, Andreas Mai, vice president of market development at Keolis, said that the Bordeaux transit authority charges a flat fee of about $50 per month for unlimited access to all forms of transit (trams, trains, buses, bikes, ferries, park and ride). The hard-boiled US crowd listening to him audibly gasped at that figure. Ridership is way up, the authority has brought many more buses into service, and it is recovering far more of its expenditures than any comparable US entity. Mai said it required a very strong leader to pull together 28 separate transit systems and convince them to hand over their budgets to the local authority. But it happened.  It's all just money. We have it; we just need to allocate it better. That will mean viewing public transit as a crucial element of well-being in America. And, in the meantime, we need to press Pause on aggressive plans to deploy driverless cars in cities across the United States.  More Great WIRED Stories How Facebook groups became a bizarre bazaar for elephant tusks Pulling water out of air? Grab some ions or a weird sponge Larry Page's flying-car project suddenly seems rather real Encyclopædia Britannica wants to fix false Google results PHOTO ESSAY: The trailblazing women who fight California's fires Hungry for even more deep dives on your next favorite topic? Sign up for the Backchannel newsletter RELATED VIDEO  TRANSPORTATION The Self-Driving Truck Race Heats Up With a Driverless Test Starsky heat up the competition for driverless trucks with its first closed road test of a completely driverless car.  #CITY#ANN ARBOR#AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE#AMERICAN#DRIVERLESS CAR

IN ANN ARBOR, Michigan, a week, 125 mostly white, largely male, business-card-bearing attendees packed into a brightly lit ballroom to consider”mobility.” That is the buzzword to get a hazy vision of how tech in all forms–including smartphones, credit cards, and autonomous vehicles– will unite with the remains of conventional public transit to receive urbanites where […]

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1200x627 FuturisticTech Feat HUSS - LG C8 OLED 4K TV

During the upcoming few days, relatives started to enhance the quality of the film, along with my wife is now a believer, however, LG wants to update and increase its preferences and installation. The only real elephant in the room? Display burn-in. It is a type of a shadow or ghost summary which you may […]

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THAT WESTWORLD SEASON 2 FINALE In Season 2, Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) finally learned everything she wanted to learn about humans.JOHN P. JOHNSON/HBO YOU GOTTA HAND it to HBO: Their shows know how to deliver explosive endings. No matter how uneven the season of television that came before it, the finales are always blue-fire-breathing game-changers. They may not always be narratively-warranted or cogent, but they are explosive. Which brings us to the end of Westworld Season 2. After what felt like nine hours of exposition following the host revolt at the end of Season 1 and throughout the current one, the revolution’s leader, Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), and its accidental architect, Bernard/Digital Ghost of Ford (Jeffrey Wright), sent some of the hosts off to Host Valhalla and got themselves out of Westworld. Oh, and the Man in Black (Ed Harris) got a big ol’ dose of reality. (Does none of this make sense? Read our recap here.) It was a whiplash-inducing, extra-long episode that completely rebooted the series for a whole new narrative in Season 3. (Dolores is off-world, y’all!) To try to wrap our heads around what just happened WIRED convened a council of Westworld guests—editors and writers Angela Watercutter, Jason Kehe, Jason Parham, Ellen Airhart, and Westworld recapper Sandra Upson—to dissect the final tick-tock of the show’s second season. RELATED STORIES SANDRA UPSON Westworld Recap, Season 2 Episode 10: What Is Real? SANDRA UPSON Westworld Recap, Season 2 Episode 9: The Many Lives of the Man in Black SANDRA UPSON Westworld Recap, Season 2 Episode 8: The Great Ghost Nation Mystery Angela Watercutter, Senior Associate Editor: As I’m sure you’ve all noticed over the last few weeks, I’m something of a Westworld skeptic. I haven’t exactly loved this season and I’m not 100 confident all of this setup is actually going anywhere. I enjoy the concepts and performances, I just struggle with investing in it. It’s a smart show, but the creators seem to think that making a cerebral drama just involves spending a lot of time literally in the heads of its cast. Seriously, how many scenes this season featured a tight shot on Jeffrey Wright as we watched him furtively try to clean up his own code or remember some long lost nugget of info? The finale was no different—half of it was spent in The Forge with Dolores and Bernard in brain scanners, immersed in a simulation run by Logan Delos (Ben Barnes), who informs them that humans are predictable and can be reduced to a few thousand lines of code. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ What came after, though, was some actual action. Bernard killed Dolores! Bernard realized he’d made a huge mistake and brought her back again in the form of Delos shill Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson)! She got off of Westworld and went to Arnold’s house! Literally everyone is a deus ex machina! OK, jokes aside, I appreciated this ending. I don’t know that it fully paid off the season, but I have to admit I was cheering Dolores-Hale as her plan came together. Also, I kind of loved that when she got to Arnold’s house she made a new version of her previous self and kept the Hale one. If the future is one ruled by Evan Rachel Wood, Tessa Thompson, and (maybe) Jeffrey Wright, then I, for one, welcome our new host overlords. What about you guys? Jason Parham, Senior Writer: I made it to episode five. Watercutter: Jason, I don’t blame you. That’s also where I started to lose my enthusiasm. Jason Kehe, Senior Associate Editor: People, PEOPLE. If Season 1 was wading into the ocean water, Season 2 was that unexpected drop-off. You know, that spot where the comforting sandbank suddenly gives way to nothingness and you have no idea if there’s a floor anymore at all. But then you find a little patch of rocks. Cuts your feet a little, but at least it’s solid. Or a pleasing warm spot. Did I pee, or is this a gift from the water gods? This really energizes me, I must say. There aren’t too many shows on TV where you’re absolutely, comprehensively confused most of the time—knowing all the while that the creators themselves are right there with you, treading water in the open sea! Sandra Upson, Senior Editor: I might have been the only person on the internet who didn’t mind all the simulation worlds. Bring on the worlds within worlds! My main complaint with Season 2 was that too many characters seemed frozen in place. Dolores with her Machiavellian streak was the worst offender. (The shot of her curled up next to Teddy’s dead body was the most relatable she’d been all season.) [Eds. Note: LOL.] But Hale, too, never developed—I don’t think we learned a new thing about her until she got robo-fied. Also, can we just take a moment to be thankful that Bernard finally has a new head? We’re done with the disoriented muttering and head-holding, which felt cartoon-y all season long. Next season, with our key characters out in the outside world, I bet we’ll have more room for Dolores to be vulnerable and, I don’t know, maybe fall in love with a human. As for Hale, I wonder if the series will do anything interesting around the ideas of embodied cognition—what happens when you have two copies of the same consciousness in different bodies (if that’s in fact what happened)? Surely they’ll evolve in different directions; maybe they’ll even end up competing. It’ll be fascinating to see how that plays out. On a separate note, what did you guys think about the Ashley Stubbs bit at the end? Was it just that he knew Hale so well that he could tell she wasn’t herself? Or was he saying that he, too, was a host? For one beautiful second I thought he’d been turned into a Stubbsbot and inherited Teddy’s brain orb, which would have been glorious. But no. Ellen Airhart, Reporting Fellow: I agree with Sandra that the character development felt unsatisfying. In the recap for episode five, the one that seems to have lost everybody, Sandra wrote that Maeve’s relationship with her daughter was not convincing. And it didn’t feel more authentic after that episode, though there was the whole scene in the house with the Ghost Nation. I like Maeve as a character, but this problem with her “core drive” threw me off and made her death seem less-than-poignant. I’m also annoyed that I’m still confused about where everyone was during crucial events. As Sandra said during a real-life conversation today, there are just so many elevators. How did Bernard not run into the Man in Black on the way down to The Forge? Where is the Man in Black during any given moment in the episode, besides the part in the beginning when he’s with Dolores? The writers are no doubt setting him up for a side plot to the story of Dolores tearing up the real world a la Amy Adams in Enchanted for Season 3, but the questions about time and place feel frustrating, not exciting. After all, it was supposed to be a finale. Upson: I share those questions, Ellen. Still, I’m excited about seeing what happens with the Man in Black. I found him frustrating for most of this season, because I never understood what motivated him or where he was going. Not to get too literal, but when he was out in the wilderness, how did he know whether to turn right or left at the next tree? That subplot only snapped into focus for me in the finale—that his real goal in finding “The Door” was to delete all the data Delos had collected on him. Now I’m super curious about what happened when he finally dragged his sorry self in there, and what it was we saw in the epilogue with his daughter, Emily (Katja Herbers). It seems like that encounter occurs in some future timeline that will get developed in Season 3, but in the meantime, how am I supposed to think about his missing hand? Why does he look exactly as dusty and beat up as he did when we saw him blow his arm off? Watercutter: Sandra, these are all good questions. If the Man in Black is a host version of William, which seems to be the case since Emily is testing his fidelity, is it possible that he just went into some kind of sleep mode after he lost his hand trying to shoot Dolores? Does that explain the strange passing of time between the moment he got to The Forge and when he actually made his way in? Also, since Logan in the simulation mentioned—while walking through a room that contained a host William/Man in Black—that he’d been testing thousands of outcomes and people really never changed, perhaps the epilogue was just a simulation? Actually, I don’t really think that. I think that on some level the Man in Black/William had known from early on that Ford had given the hosts a way out and had been going back into Westworld again and again until he could get to The Forge and, essentially, delete himself out of the system. Whatever game it was that he was playing with Ford was what he needed to do to accomplish that. Sandra, I’m also curious to see what happens with Dolores and Dolores-Hale. To riff off what Jason Kehe was saying earlier in a Slack conversation, my dream scenario involves the two of them falling in love. Because, let’s be real, there is no one Dolores loves more than herself. Dolores + Dolores-Hale = 4eva. I wish them a lifetime of happiness, character development, and world domination in Season 3. Kehe: Right? They’re totes gonna have a twin robot sex scene kissy thing. Staple of modern sci-fi, practically. And one has to die, of course, probably saving the other to make up for a massive betrayal. Also, I have to point out the Matrix-y vibes in the finale. Very Architect/Oracle sort of dynamic. Watercutter: Jason, you are so correct about that. As for Stubbs, what was the thing he said about Ford giving him orders to look out for the hosts? I think he might’ve had an inkling of what was coming and when he noticed that Hale was acting slightly off, he connected the dots. I dunno, am I crazy and overthinking this? Am I stuck in my own loop? More Great WIRED Stories How Square made its own iPad replacement PHOTO ESSAY: Hong Kong’s vanishing rooftop culture Turning an old Volvo concept into a $155,000 hybrid Going to the World Cup? Leave the laptop at home The hustlers fueling cryptocurrency’s marketing machine Get even more of our inside scoops with our weekly Backchannel newsletter RELATED VIDEO MOVIES & TV WIRED-Westworld-Season2-Trailer A trailer for HBO’s Westworld season 2. #TV#HBO#WESTWORLD

913 960 300 960x300 - WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THAT WESTWORLD SEASON 2 FINALE  In Season 2, Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) finally learned everything she wanted to learn about humans.JOHN P. JOHNSON/HBO YOU GOTTA HAND it to HBO: Their shows know how to deliver explosive endings. No matter how uneven the season of television that came before it, the finales are always blue-fire-breathing game-changers. They may not always be narratively-warranted or cogent, but they are explosive.  Which brings us to the end of Westworld Season 2. After what felt like nine hours of exposition following the host revolt at the end of Season 1 and throughout the current one, the revolution’s leader, Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), and its accidental architect, Bernard/Digital Ghost of Ford (Jeffrey Wright), sent some of the hosts off to Host Valhalla and got themselves out of Westworld. Oh, and the Man in Black (Ed Harris) got a big ol’ dose of reality. (Does none of this make sense? Read our recap here.)  It was a whiplash-inducing, extra-long episode that completely rebooted the series for a whole new narrative in Season 3. (Dolores is off-world, y’all!) To try to wrap our heads around what just happened WIRED convened a council of Westworld guests—editors and writers Angela Watercutter, Jason Kehe, Jason Parham, Ellen Airhart, and Westworld recapper Sandra Upson—to dissect the final tick-tock of the show’s second season.  RELATED STORIES  SANDRA UPSON Westworld Recap, Season 2 Episode 10: What Is Real?   SANDRA UPSON Westworld Recap, Season 2 Episode 9: The Many Lives of the Man in Black   SANDRA UPSON Westworld Recap, Season 2 Episode 8: The Great Ghost Nation Mystery  Angela Watercutter, Senior Associate Editor: As I’m sure you’ve all noticed over the last few weeks, I’m something of a Westworld skeptic. I haven’t exactly loved this season and I’m not 100 confident all of this setup is actually going anywhere. I enjoy the concepts and performances, I just struggle with investing in it. It’s a smart show, but the creators seem to think that making a cerebral drama just involves spending a lot of time literally in the heads of its cast. Seriously, how many scenes this season featured a tight shot on Jeffrey Wright as we watched him furtively try to clean up his own code or remember some long lost nugget of info?  The finale was no different—half of it was spent in The Forge with Dolores and Bernard in brain scanners, immersed in a simulation run by Logan Delos (Ben Barnes), who informs them that humans are predictable and can be reduced to a few thousand lines of code. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ What came after, though, was some actual action. Bernard killed Dolores! Bernard realized he’d made a huge mistake and brought her back again in the form of Delos shill Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson)! She got off of Westworld and went to Arnold’s house! Literally everyone is a deus ex machina! OK, jokes aside, I appreciated this ending. I don’t know that it fully paid off the season, but I have to admit I was cheering Dolores-Hale as her plan came together. Also, I kind of loved that when she got to Arnold’s house she made a new version of her previous self and kept the Hale one. If the future is one ruled by Evan Rachel Wood, Tessa Thompson, and (maybe) Jeffrey Wright, then I, for one, welcome our new host overlords. What about you guys?  Jason Parham, Senior Writer: I made it to episode five.  Watercutter: Jason, I don’t blame you. That’s also where I started to lose my enthusiasm.  Jason Kehe, Senior Associate Editor: People, PEOPLE. If Season 1 was wading into the ocean water, Season 2 was that unexpected drop-off. You know, that spot where the comforting sandbank suddenly gives way to nothingness and you have no idea if there’s a floor anymore at all. But then you find a little patch of rocks. Cuts your feet a little, but at least it’s solid. Or a pleasing warm spot. Did I pee, or is this a gift from the water gods? This really energizes me, I must say. There aren’t too many shows on TV where you’re absolutely, comprehensively confused most of the time—knowing all the while that the creators themselves are right there with you, treading water in the open sea!  Sandra Upson, Senior Editor: I might have been the only person on the internet who didn’t mind all the simulation worlds. Bring on the worlds within worlds!  My main complaint with Season 2 was that too many characters seemed frozen in place. Dolores with her Machiavellian streak was the worst offender. (The shot of her curled up next to Teddy’s dead body was the most relatable she’d been all season.) [Eds. Note: LOL.] But Hale, too, never developed—I don’t think we learned a new thing about her until she got robo-fied. Also, can we just take a moment to be thankful that Bernard finally has a new head? We’re done with the disoriented muttering and head-holding, which felt cartoon-y all season long.   Next season, with our key characters out in the outside world, I bet we’ll have more room for Dolores to be vulnerable and, I don’t know, maybe fall in love with a human. As for Hale, I wonder if the series will do anything interesting around the ideas of embodied cognition—what happens when you have two copies of the same consciousness in different bodies (if that’s in fact what happened)? Surely they’ll evolve in different directions; maybe they’ll even end up competing. It’ll be fascinating to see how that plays out.  On a separate note, what did you guys think about the Ashley Stubbs bit at the end? Was it just that he knew Hale so well that he could tell she wasn’t herself? Or was he saying that he, too, was a host? For one beautiful second I thought he’d been turned into a Stubbsbot and inherited Teddy’s brain orb, which would have been glorious. But no.  Ellen Airhart, Reporting Fellow: I agree with Sandra that the character development felt unsatisfying. In the recap for episode five, the one that seems to have lost everybody, Sandra wrote that Maeve’s relationship with her daughter was not convincing. And it didn’t feel more authentic after that episode, though there was the whole scene in the house with the Ghost Nation. I like Maeve as a character, but this problem with her “core drive” threw me off and made her death seem less-than-poignant.  I'm also annoyed that I'm still confused about where everyone was during crucial events. As Sandra said during a real-life conversation today, there are just so many elevators. How did Bernard not run into the Man in Black on the way down to The Forge? Where is the Man in Black during any given moment in the episode, besides the part in the beginning when he’s with Dolores? The writers are no doubt setting him up for a side plot to the story of Dolores tearing up the real world a la Amy Adams in Enchanted for Season 3, but the questions about time and place feel frustrating, not exciting. After all, it was supposed to be a finale.  Upson: I share those questions, Ellen. Still, I’m excited about seeing what happens with the Man in Black. I found him frustrating for most of this season, because I never understood what motivated him or where he was going. Not to get too literal, but when he was out in the wilderness, how did he know whether to turn right or left at the next tree? That subplot only snapped into focus for me in the finale—that his real goal in finding “The Door” was to delete all the data Delos had collected on him. Now I’m super curious about what happened when he finally dragged his sorry self in there, and what it was we saw in the epilogue with his daughter, Emily (Katja Herbers). It seems like that encounter occurs in some future timeline that will get developed in Season 3, but in the meantime, how am I supposed to think about his missing hand? Why does he look exactly as dusty and beat up as he did when we saw him blow his arm off?  Watercutter: Sandra, these are all good questions. If the Man in Black is a host version of William, which seems to be the case since Emily is testing his fidelity, is it possible that he just went into some kind of sleep mode after he lost his hand trying to shoot Dolores? Does that explain the strange passing of time between the moment he got to The Forge and when he actually made his way in? Also, since Logan in the simulation mentioned—while walking through a room that contained a host William/Man in Black—that he’d been testing thousands of outcomes and people really never changed, perhaps the epilogue was just a simulation? Actually, I don’t really think that. I think that on some level the Man in Black/William had known from early on that Ford had given the hosts a way out and had been going back into Westworld again and again until he could get to The Forge and, essentially, delete himself out of the system. Whatever game it was that he was playing with Ford was what he needed to do to accomplish that.  Sandra, I’m also curious to see what happens with Dolores and Dolores-Hale. To riff off what Jason Kehe was saying earlier in a Slack conversation, my dream scenario involves the two of them falling in love. Because, let’s be real, there is no one Dolores loves more than herself. Dolores + Dolores-Hale = 4eva. I wish them a lifetime of happiness, character development, and world domination in Season 3.  Kehe: Right? They’re totes gonna have a twin robot sex scene kissy thing. Staple of modern sci-fi, practically. And one has to die, of course, probably saving the other to make up for a massive betrayal. Also, I have to point out the Matrix-y vibes in the finale. Very Architect/Oracle sort of dynamic.  Watercutter: Jason, you are so correct about that. As for Stubbs, what was the thing he said about Ford giving him orders to look out for the hosts? I think he might’ve had an inkling of what was coming and when he noticed that Hale was acting slightly off, he connected the dots.  I dunno, am I crazy and overthinking this? Am I stuck in my own loop?  More Great WIRED Stories How Square made its own iPad replacement PHOTO ESSAY: Hong Kong's vanishing rooftop culture Turning an old Volvo concept into a $155,000 hybrid Going to the World Cup? Leave the laptop at home The hustlers fueling cryptocurrency’s marketing machine Get even more of our inside scoops with our weekly Backchannel newsletter RELATED VIDEO  MOVIES & TV WIRED-Westworld-Season2-Trailer A trailer for HBO's Westworld season 2.  #TV#HBO#WESTWORLD

Jason Kehe, Senior Associate Editor: Individuals, PEOPLE. If Season 1 had been wading into the sea water, Season 2 was unexpected drop-off. You understand, that place where the reassuring sandbank abruptly gives way to nothingness and you don’t have any idea if there is a floor anymore whatsoever. But you then find a tiny patch […]

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