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Westworld's season 2 opener just snuck by a game-changing revelation

Perhaps mirroring the current Facebook scandal

Christopher Hooton
Monday 23 April 2018 01:19 BST
Trailer for Westworld season 2

What with all the vengeful homicidal hosts and laboratory shoot-outs, you could be forgiven for overlooking a crucial discovery Bernard made in Westworld season 2 episode 1, 'Journey into Night'.

Attempting to escape the park through a hidden access point, Bernard and Charlotte gather data from a host, leading Bernard to question: "Are we logging records of guests' experiences and their DNA?"

"We're not having that conversation Bernard," Charlotte snaps dismissively, appearing to confirm his suspicions.

Logging Westworld visitors' experiences in the park, not to mention their DNA, would constitute a major privacy infringement, a reaping of data that guests did not agree to when signing up.

It's an invasion of privacy not dissimilar from the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, which saw the social network unwittingly influence the US presidential election by selling users' personal data to allow advertisers to better target them.

Ultra-realistic robot surprises public for Westworld

We don't yet know whether profit motivated Delos in harvesting users' experiences, as was the case with Facebook, but Charlotte's response is poignant. Is she dismissive out of guilt, or because she doesn't realise the grave implications of what the company has started doing?

There's the fact the pair were trying to escape murderous robots too, sure, but we can expect this malpractice to be picked at again once the situation in the park cools. Why is Delos recording human DNA without consent? What kind of backlash will they face if this reaches the public domain?

This may well have been what Bernard actor Jeffrey Wright was hinting at when he told me recently:

"Now that the park and the players have been established, now we begin to shift, as things fall apart, into an exploration of why, why the park."

You can find an explanation of the episode's confusing twist ending here.

Westworld season 2 airs on HBO and through Sky Atlantic and NOWTV.

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