Our world is a fluid one, constantly experiencing ebb and flow, change, and with technology like digital design and 3D printing–a stupendous amount of evolution and progress that allows us to branch in many different creative directions as humans. Pop culture is not to be left behind either–and especially in the world of moviemaking, animation, and television.
Shows like The Walking Dead feature not only gripping futuristic story lines that have us all anticipating and planning for a massive, bloody zombie apocalypse but they’ve also spawned goodies like 3D printed Daryl Dixons and fun antics at events like Comic Con, 3D printing your head on a zombie body. Now, there’s a good look for us all. It will only continue to get better though, as we see on a daily basis, from 3D printed vaginas to a plethora of provocative and lucrative venues for 3D printed adult toys.
There’s no doubt that 3D printing has a very sexy side. But with legions of 3D printed sexbots and killbots coming at us from a dark, dark world, we’re looking at a new angle. And that’s what HBO is throwing at us from the small–but not to be underestimated–screen, in Westworld.
“Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality?” This is posed to a character, lost in what seems to be quite the frightening dream, who must take time to consider what depth of depravity–and danger–she is in, thanks to ultra high tech ‘innovation.’
And while it might sound like a futuristic idea from those fancy Hollywood people out west with all sorts of crazy ideas, it certainly makes sense as a forward-thinking concept for the sexual paraphernalia industry, special effects uses aside, and sans killing.
With the latitude afforded by the technology of 3D printing, perhaps soon one day many will give up the ills of blind dates and online searches, and instead just create the completely willing–and malleable–partners of their dreams, complete with hardware and software for the complete virtual reality experience. When you tire of your very own sexbot, just 3D print another. No hard feelings, no harm done, no drama that lingers for a possible lifetime.
The TV show is not light content. Westworld is not for those seeking carefree escape into the world of the laugh track-driven sitcom or family drama. Taking us into the world of the amusement park–a scenario which always so strangely lends itself to the surreal and creepy–the characters engage in activities so very not Disney- or Six Flags-like in nature.
Coming from the annals of an old Michael Crichton work, an amusement park sci-fi film from 1973 bearing the same–and original–name, Westworld is fantasy-driven, but in allowing for characters to indulge their fantasies in a place that is driven more by sexual circuitry than real skin-to-skin chemistry. What’s even more exciting is that the digitally created sexual beings start to take over and yep you guessed it–they salaciously set out to kill their park visitors.
From sexbots to killbots, the androids come to you straight from the 3D printer. Crichton’s genius for predicting both the positive and negative sides of technology plays a large role in the TV show, as well as serving as inspiration for the creative team. Produced by the famed J.J. Abrams, Jerry Weintraub, and Bryan Burk, the new TV series also has some major heavy hitters rounding out the cast, from Anthony Hopkins in a starring role to James Marsden, Evan Rachel Wood, and Jeffrey Wright.
“Westworld goes from one f–king massive idea to the next. At one point in there, [Crichton, in the original movie] references why the robots are misbehaving. He describes the concept of the computer virus,” says one of the show’s creators, Jonathan Nolan (brother to Christopher, in case you wondered), speaking to Entertainment Weekly. “When they were shooting the film it was the same year, or the year before, the appearance of the first actual computer virus. This is why Crichton was so brilliant. He knew so much about the technologies that were about to emerge, spent so much time thinking about how they would actually work.”
“Consider the fact that the original film was written prior to the existence of even the first video game. Think about massive multiplayer roll-playing games, and the complexity and richness of video game storytelling,” says Nolan. “When [Crichton] wrote Westworld, none of that existed! So it’s a film that anticipated so many advances in technology. The film has a structure that barrels forward—there’s this unstoppable android hellbent on vengeance—and it preceded The Terminator by 10 years.”
In regards to technology, 3D printing, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence, there is a theme here that’s not underlying, but rather right in your face, regarding the dangers and anxiety many today feel about the advent of AI.
“A lot of the people in the tech world who are actively pursuing the creation of AI are also, ironically, actively sounding the alarm bells of what that landscape would look like,” says Lisa Joy, who also writes the show with Nolan. “I think it’s definitely part of the cultural conversation in a way that people can relate to it a lot more and see the kind of edges of this coming to fruition.”
Alarm bells are sometimes sounding in the world of 3D printing as well, regarding how far it will be taken in terms of the population’s comfort level despite the massive amount of good it is doing, as well as the contemporary reality and controversy over creation and regulation of items like 3D printed guns.
When it comes to good old fiction, recreation, and art though, digital design coupled with 3D printing has been responsible for a great deal of transformation in the world of film, as we’ve reported countless times. It really harkens back to other darkish mediums like Tim Burton’s and Laika Studios, at the forefront of 3D printed special effects for creepy-ish characters. The exploration and use of 3D printing in Coraline opened the door to other sets purchasing veritable 3D printing labs for their productions, such as Interstellar, which made a huge splash in terms of their use of the technology in special effects.
Discuss your thoughts on how 3D printing is going to make further impacts on the film industry in the 3D Printed Sexbots and Killbots forum thread over at 3DPB.com.