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Transcendent Man
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Transcendent Man (2009) More at IMDbPro »

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Transcendent Man -- A documentary chronicling the life and ideas of Ray Kurzweil, an inventor and futurist that presents his bold vision of the Singularity, a point in the near future when technology will be changing so rapidly, that we will have to enhance ourselves with artificial intelligence to keep up.

Overview

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7.2/10   1,392 votes »
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Plot:
Ray Kurzweil is on a journey to bring his ideas to the world. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Beware of Expertism: a Ph.D. in CSE does not a neurologist make See more (12 total) »

Cast

 
Tom Abate ... Himself
Hugo De Garis ... Himself

Peter Diamandis ... Himself
Neil Gershenfeld ... Himself
Ben Goertzel ... Himself
William Hurlbut ... Himself
Dean Kamen ... Himself
Kevin Kelly ... Himself
Aaron Kleiner ... Himself

Raymond Kurzweil ... Himself
Sonya Kurzweil ... Herself
Robert Metcalfe ... Himself
Chuck Missler ... Himself

Colin Powell ... Himself
Philip Rosedale ... Himself

William Shatner ... Himself

Stevie Wonder ... Himself
Kevin Warwick ... Himself (uncredited)

Directed by
Robert Barry Ptolemy 
 
Produced by
Joe Disanto .... executive producer
Drew Dowdle .... executive producer
John Erick Dowdle .... executive producer
Oliver Luckett .... executive producer
Felicia Nainoa .... producer (as Felicia Ptolemy)
Robert Barry Ptolemy .... producer
John Ramsay .... executive producer
Wren Waters .... executive producer
Doobie White .... executive producer
 
Original Music by
Philip Glass 
 
Cinematography by
Shawn Dufraine 
 
Film Editing by
Meg Ramsay  (as Meg Decker)
Doobie White 
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Don Schechter .... second unit director
 
Sound Department
Russell Johnson .... sound designer
Russell Johnson .... sound re-recording mixer
Doobie White .... sound designer
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Trevor Chamberlain .... camera operator
Bruce Petschek .... second unit director of photography
Don Presley .... assistant camera
Dan Shimer .... camera operator
Jason J. Tomaric .... additional director of photography
 
Editorial Department
Amy K. Bostrom .... assistant editor
 
Music Department
Trevor Gureckis .... music editor: music preparation
 
Other crew
Celia Black .... publicist
Daryl Blonder .... production assistant
David Bouley .... production assistant
Emma Cameron .... production coordinator: San Diego
Dean R. Cheley .... clearance counsel
Erik Clabeaux .... production assistant
Liz Jones .... second unit production assistant
Sam Nainoa .... production assistant
Seth Peterson .... production assistant
 
Thanks
Tom Davia .... special thanks
Sam Eigen .... special thanks
Ehren Koepf .... special thanks
Brian Sweet .... special thanks
 

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Runtime:
USA:83 min
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Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
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Did You Know?

Trivia:
Will compete in the World Documentary Feature Competition at the Tribeca Film Festival 2009.See more »

FAQ

When will Transcendent Man finally be available to the public?
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9 out of 14 people found the following review useful.
Beware of Expertism: a Ph.D. in CSE does not a neurologist make, 25 September 2011
Author: (whitewc) from Seattle

Kurweil and many others have been chattering about their "Singularity" since at least the mid- 1990s. This is not the astronomical phenomenon, but is similarly dense. Basically, the notion that machines, specifically computers, will someday soon exceed the intelligence, cognitive, perceptual, analytical, and other mental powers of humans, and become "self-aware" and achieve consciousness. As seen in the Terminator movies, The Matrix, this has become one of the basic, stock tropes of science fiction, though it has been around in fundamentally the same form as present since the early 1980's, at least.

Interesting stuff, and not only for entertainment purposes. And clearly machines will (and have already) become more able than humans at a wide range of tasks. From Big Blue beating Gary Kasparov at chess more than a dozen years ago, to welding robots in auto plants, machines do many things faster, and ultimately better than man. Persons under 20 have much less "data" in their heads, having come to rely so heavily on Wikipedia and Google (having been taught to do so by parents and teachers, in fact), and the online fact is up-to- the-minute and dead-accurate, isn't it? More reliable than what lies in your mind? No doubt computers will continue to increase in power, and in the influence they have on our lives. And we will come to rely even more on them than we do now.

However, Kurweil, like almost all the other exponents of the Singularity, including those offering a much darker version of the future than Kurweil's, fails to understand and take account of a number of critical points. First, the notion of consciousness/awareness, and even of intelligence itself is poorly defined. Neurologists, brain scientists, psychologists, who study the human mind as a profession disagree fundamentally as to what these qualities even are, how they work, or why one individual human has them in abundance, another hardly at all. The human mind and brain may truly be the last frontier of science. We know less, understand less, about the brain and mind than we did of infectious disease in the early 19th century, and psychologists and brain scientists would agree. We are only making a bare beginning at understanding the brain and nervous system, and how it works, and how we actually use it.

For Kurweil, or anyone else, to predict machines of any sort will attain human levels of consciousness, intelligence, or thought by 2040, or even by 2080 (two frequently cited dates) is a patent absurdity which takes no account of the state of neuro-science and psychology. Who will design or program this machine that emulates, then exceeds, the human brain/mind? In order to make a copy, you have to understand the original in every nuance. Not the kludgy, narrow silliness of "Eliza" or "Racter", but something that can reliably pass a Turing test and also learn. And as for self-awareness, that would be a trick, wouldn't it? You'd need some sort of reverse Turing test to apply to the machine. That's Kurweil's problem, and that of his colleagues. They are, none of them, professionals in medicine, psychology, brain science, or neurology, nor do any of them (that I am aware of) have ANY training in these disciplines. And until brain science advances a GREAT deal, I fear there is little hope of a machine that even approaches human consciousness, nor general ability and ADAPTABILITY and the ability to LEARN. For focused, targeted tasks there are super-human machines, and will be more and better every year. Futurists would do well to understand the question before giving out answers, especially extraordinary 'predictions.' There are computer scientists working with research physicians and brain scientists, each learning the others fields (a very healthy activity for progress into such a brave new world), and the most optimistic among them might predict a computer that you can actually have a real, spoken conversation with (on LIMITED subject matter) in another 20 years. As for a whole mind, anything coming anywhere NEAR to the overall human capacity for language, learning, problem solving, changing one's self to suit the environment (and the environment to suit one's self), and both analytical/logical thought as well as creative/lateral/syncretic thought, that will have to wait until we first understand what it is.

Oh, of course. I forgot. What about the machine that improves and modifies itself when the lights are turned off? It'd first have to have a motive or some sort of imperative to do that, and more importantly, some model of what it was modifying itself INTO, and would have to understand that model at its essence, which is the whole problem and main barrier to the human endeavor towards this end. It's a catch-22: you need consciousness and human intelligence to build it, and to WANT to build it. So sorry Ray, it ain't gonna happen in your lifetime (and you should look elsewhere for the talents and ideas that will eventually get us there. They aren't to be found is CSE programs or Silicon Valley).

"Transcendent Man" was a fun docu to watch. Kurweil is an articulate spokesman for his ideas, and a likable fellow. This is a thoughtful, well-made non-fiction film, and should spark a great deal of thought in those interested in the subject.

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