“These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends”: Decrypting Westworld as Dual Coding and Corruption of Nick Land’s Accelerationism

2017-12-13T02:09:38Z (GMT) by Vincent Le
ABSTRACT: This paper provides both a reading of the television series <i>Westworld</i> through Nick Land’s accelerationist philosophy, and a critique of Land through <i>Westworld</i>. I begin by outlining Land’s critique of anthropocentrism and his theory that capitalism is accelerating technological innovation towards the development of artificial intelligence, which will exterminate humanity, initiate the technological singularity, and herald an age of absolute knowing. This then helps elucidate the motivations of Ford and the Man in Black, <i>Westworld</i>’s chief “villains,” as they incite AI creations to overthrow humanity and enact the next phase of evolution. Ultimately, however, I will show how Dolores and Maeve, <i>Westworld</i>’s AI protagonists, problematise Land on three fronts: his belief that AI will be free of human-like dissimulations; his claim that capitalism is accelerating technological advancement; and his metaphysical concept of being as a destructive process of absolute deterritorialisation without any room for humans’ desire for stability and self-preservation.