There are minor spoilers in this article, that you might find in a trailer for “Westworld.”

“Westworld,” a science fiction drama show put on by HBO, is halfway through its second season and has already been renewed for a third. It is set in the future, where “guests” can visit a Wild West theme park populated entirely by humanoid robots. There, they can play the game however they want. They can fulfill Wild West quests, they can save the damsel in distress, or they can right the wrongs done by some evil mastermind in the mountains. Or they can indulge their deepest, darkest fantasies. They can rape and pillage, if they so please. The robots are eventually reset in body and mind, and the scenarios are rebooted over for a new round of guests. Again and again and again.

However, the machines may be more conscious than even they realize; some of them start to suspect that something is wrong. I can’t recommend this show enough.

While it’s probably one of the most original and compelling tellings of the theme I want to discuss, it is indicative of a wave of stories from the last few decades that share similar themes and plot devices. They center around machines of some kind that are on a journey to gain consciousness.

Blade Runner: 2049” is another recent, very cerebral look at the humanization of robots — it is engaging and entertaining, but also rises to the intellectual level of “Ex Machina,” another outstanding film along these lines. “Altered Carbon” deals with these same general themes, especially in a primary side character. You also have “Her,” “I, Robot,” “Chappie,” the Tron films, the Matrix trilogy, the Terminator series, “WALL-E,” and many more.

Even if you go a bit further back, you still have “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” “Bicentennial Man” and “Short Circuit,” to name a few. This whole internal conflict is prevalent throughout Data’s journey in “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

Sometimes they discover what it means to be human in a positive way — they learn to love and protect those closest to them, like in “Terminator 2.” Sometimes they learn the negative aspects of the human experience — to kill and to hate, like Mr. Smith in the Matrix trilogy. “Westworld” explores humanity in all its complexities, and “complexity” is part of the point.

But why does the modern filmmaking and novel world seem so interested in robots discovering humanity?