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Verge ESP: Is Hodor a bot?

Verge ESP: Is Hodor a bot?


Talk about faulty programming

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This podcast has spoilers for this week's episode of Game of Thrones! Proceed at your own risk.

Like armies of the dead and crazy kings, you can't keep us out of Westeros! This week on the podcast, Liz and Emily try to wrap their heads around the tragic, altruistic, heroic life of Hodor, a.k.a. Wylis, a.k.a. the most dedicated door-holder in all of Game of Thrones. They talk about the ramifications of injecting science fiction into a fantasy show, and the philosophical question of Hodor's free will. Plus, it is confirmed that Magical Boy Bran is the worst.

Speaking of programming that backfires, we have a chat about algorithms — the inherent biases in them, and the tricky ethics of bots. Is a bot's creator responsible for its actions? What kinds of safeguards should we put on our A.I. to ensure that they enhance our lives, not make them even more of a dystopic nightmare? Should we give bots language at all, or just program them so that they can only say their name, over and over again?

Finally, we discuss Neighbors 2 — which Emily demanded that Liz see and then promptly failed to see herself. The bro-comedy is getting progressive ... sort of? The conversation quickly turns to our own college experience of being bad, or in some cases perfectly OK neighbors. Liz shares a story about revenge via bocce ball which might be the most endearing anecdote you've ever heard.

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Subscribe to Verge ESP on iTunes, listen on SoundCloud, or subscribe on RSS. And be sure to let us know what you think of the show on Twitter — @mslopatto and @emilyyoshida.