PALO ALTO, Calif. — Fans of the HBO series “Westworld” know that it doesn’t shy away from big and often mind-bending themes.

From questions about robot consciousness to the ethics of artificial intelligence, the show has taken some of the most compelling questions about technology and neuroscience and brought them into the realm of pop culture. To learn more about the real-life science behind the fictional realm of Westworld — and whether one day we’ll share our lives with sentient robots of the sort featured on the show — MACH recently sat down with Westworld’s science adviser, Stanford University neuroscientist David Eagleman.

The interview, which took place here at the headquarters of NeoSensory, a company Eagleman co-founded to commercialize “new sensory experiences,” has been edited for clarity and brevity. Warning: The interview contains spoilers from Season 2.

Eagleman: I have spent a lot of my career thinking about issues of consciousness and how consciousness arises from the operations of the brain, and so I ended up meeting one of the writers and producers, and we got into a conversation. That is how that started.

I think it is really, really distant for a couple of reasons. One is that AI can do very impressive things right now, like tell you if it is a picture of a dog versus a cat, or play chess or Go better than a human can. Read more from…

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