Do you believe in transcendence, about which Wikipedia says “In religious experience transcendence is a state of being that has overcome the limitations of physical existence and by some definitions has also become independent of it. This is typically manifested in prayer, séance, meditation, psychedelics and paranormal ‘visions’”?
This Friday, a movie called Transcendence will arrive in theaters. Directed by Christopher Nolan’s go-to cinematographer, Wally Pfister, and penned by first-time screenwriter Jack Paglen (whose script appeared on the infamous Black List), Transcendence is being sold as Hollywood’s next sci-fi epic. So far, reviews haven’t been kind (although they’re still rolling in), and box office predictions have been tepid.
The movie follows Johnny Depp’s Dr. Caster’s journey from being fatally shot to uploading his mind into a supercomputer, where he achieves the all-knowing, all-powerful state he’s only dreamed about before. But whether Transcendence ends up being the movie of the year or another Nolanesque piece of genre silliness, the concept that gives the film its title is something we need to consider—because this time, these ideas are real.
Transcendence is based directly on the principle of singularity, the moment when technology surpasses humanity. In fact, Dr. Caster, the film’s protagonist, even states as much in the trailer, asking an audience to, “Imagine a machine with the full range of human emotion. It’s analytical power will be greater than the collective intelligence of every person in the history of the world. Some scientists refer to this as the singularity. I call it Transcendence.”
Over the years, the biggest proponent of the singularity has been noted author, scientist, and futurist Ray Kurzweil, who freely acknowledges that, “Science fiction is the great opportunity to speculate on what could happen.” Although a notorious eccentric, Kurzweil’s thinking has led to numerous technological innovationsover the last few decades. Recently, he partnered with Google (yes, Google) in their efforts towards “using techniques of deep learning to produce an artificial brain.”…
[continues at the Daily Dot]