Are we headed to a time in the very near future where we can back-up our brains just like our computers, stop aging and live indefinitely? According to Ray Kurzweil (author, inventor, futurist), who has several patents and is the inventor of text to speech synthesis for the blind and electronic keyboard instrumentation, we are in a state of exponential growth when it comes to technology. We take for granted that our pda’s are growing at a rapid rate with new developments occurring every six months. In 1965 Kurzweil was proud to be attending MIT university which boasted a computer that covered 3 rooms to do what our pda’s do today. In fact our little pda’s have transcended that original computer and continue to evolve at a constant rate.
Kurzweil bases the future on the term, Singularity: Future period where technological change will be so rapid and it’s impact so profound that every aspect of human life will be irreversibly transformed. He professes that we will become a hybrid of biological and non-biological intelligence. He states, “We always use the latest technology to create the next technology. The pace of technology is accelerated. At this point of Singularity what once was the size of a pda that fit inside our pocket will now be the size of a blood cell and have the ability to replace bad blood cells with artificial blood cells that keep us healthy.
Kurzweil predicts this revolution will show tremendous impact in the year 2029 with what he calls G.N.R. G stands for Genetics and is the revolution of Biotechnology where we will be able to reprogram biology away from aging and disease. The N stands for Nano Technology where we will develop blood cell devices in the body that will keep us healthy. Finally, Kurzweil argues that the R stands for Robotics which is the most profound future change. Robots, or Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) will not only match human intelligence but, go beyond it creating a super human intelligence.
The fascinating aspect of the film is that Kurzweil’s critics are given a platform however, they do not dispute the future technological advances that Kurzweil makes instead they point to the timing of his claims and his optimistic attitude. Where Kurzweil feels that we will be able to re-create components of the dead, prolong life and have multiple beings with the help of a virtual reality, his critics point to the potential for the unknown component that could lead to the greatest war we’ve ever seen between humans and between the machines that will be superior to what we know as humans today.
The film also sheds a light on one of the motivating factors that drives Kurzweil’s mission of predicting the technological future. He states several times throughout the film that he finds nothing good about death and how we rationalize it as well as how he wants to live as long as he possibly can. However, we are given glimpses into his childhood growing up with a musician father who he clearly admired but, did not seem to have much time to spend with his son. Viewers will see a vulnerable side of Kurzweil whenever he refers to his father as well as his wishes to recreate a version of his father as technology progresses.
“Transcendent Man” is now available for purchase or rental on iTunes:
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Based on the book, “The Singularity is Near”
Watch the Trailer: “Transcendent Man”