today i experienced one of the most eye-opening, disturbing, life-affirming and depressing films i’ve seen..
Ray Kurzweil is a modern day genius/techno-prophet – inventor of many many things technological and proponent of the exponential increase in the integration of human intelligence with artificial intelligence.. basically, what he sees as the inevitable fusion of man and machine.
Barry Ptolemy’s Transcendent Man, a feature length documentary, centers around Kurzweil’s reluctance to accept the inevitability of death and the existential implications of the potential integration of artificial intelligence to the human body he speaks of – to prolong, or ultimately, render obsolete, our own mortality..
The film expands on Ray’s worldview by providing intimate insights into both his technological accomplishments and the adolescent experiences which have undeniably shaped his inventions and thought processes, in particular – the loss of his father to heart disease at a young age. What’s so inspiring and moving about the film is seeing Kurzweil’s zest for life, his commitment to health and wellbeing, his yearning for eternity – the subject matter very quickly transcends technological advancement and cuts into the core of what it means to be human; what it means to live..
Ptolemy does a spectacular job of impartially balancing the scientific with the spiritual and (quite rightly) intertwining the two – Kurzweil’s technoprophecies are criticised, destructively and constructively, by fellow scientists and contemporary thinkers..
Ray’s utopian fantasies are counterbalanced by dystopian nightmares and every now and then a patch of middle ground speaks up and reassures the viewer.. It’s a genuinely fascinating film, the content of which i’d argue every human alive right now should be aware of.
On a personal note – i struggled massively with some of Kurzweil’s ideas. I mean – what he ultimately hints at at is the artificial perfection of our flawed “old software” – our genetic makeup – in doing so – pointing to the deification of the human race – a species capable of omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence.. one of his final quotes in the film was – “does God exist? not yet” //
I’m just as up for immortality as the next guy, i do believe that we’re hard-wired to crave it (and it’s source) but i don’t know, i’m just not that up for sharing my soul on some pseudo-celestial facebook and being perpetually reincarnated as a PC,
ok, maybe as a mac.
“he has set eternity in the heart of mankind” Ecclesiastes 3:11
oh.. and here are some photo collages i did after the film ..