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How Close is ‘Westworld’s’ Rico App Technology to Being A Real Thing?

2 min read
How Close is 'Westworld's' Rico App Technology to Being A Real Thing?

Photograph by John P. Johnson/HBO. HBO/JOHN P. JOHNSON. Article by Jorge Solis.

Westworld kickstarted its third season into action with a whole new futuristic world to explore. One piece of tech that caught viewers’ eyes? The Rico app, a blockchain based application that allows criminals to pick up odd jobs of the illegal persuasion. If it seems too close to reality, then you’re on to something.

When the premiere aired on March 15, audiences were presented with the morally conflicted Caleb Nichols (Aaron Paul). After bring rejected for a “straight” job, Caleb reached for his smartphone and opened the Rico app. During the course of the episode, Caleb picked out certain criminal activities from the app, such as robbing an ATM and delivering an illicit package, though he drew the line at any crime he deemed to be personal. In a recent interview with Variety, showrunners Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan explained that the Rico app was inspired by blockchain technology that already exists today. Blockchain is best described as “a decentralized form of record-keeping,” according to Bustle. Blockchain makes it so that the movement of digital cash is supposed to be secure and private. In reality, it’s the tech behind the privacy offered by Bitcoin, and in fantasy, on Westworld, users of the Rico app, such as Caleb, do not have to worry about the police investigating them whenever they start picking out the illegal activities. […]

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