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Transcendent Man
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Transcendent Man (2009) More at IMDbPro »

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Transcendent Man -- Technology will accelerate exponentially. Within 25 years, computers will have consciousness. Humans will soon be bionic. These predictions make bestselling author Ray Kurzweil (The Singularity Is Near) a prophetic genius to some, and a "highly sophisticated crackpot" to others. There is no question, however, that he has predicted the future with more accuracy than anyone else in history.  TRANSCENDENT MAN gets inside the mind of the award-winning scientist and A.I. specialist through extensive interviews with Kurzweil himself and revealing conversations with friends and colleagues. The film outlines Kurzweil's theory of singularity--the point when change occurs so rapidly that humans will need to merge with technology to keep up--while also chronicling Kurzweil's history, his myriad accomplishments (including 24 U.S. patents), and his unique vision of the future.
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.


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Ray Kurzweil is on a journey to bring his ideas to the world. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Great documentary about our love/hate relationship with technology See more (12 total) »


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
Omar Inguanzo .... on-line editor
Music Department
Trevor Gureckis .... arranger: orchestrator
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
Tom Davia .... special thanks
Sam Eigen .... special thanks
Ehren Koepf .... special thanks
Brian Sweet .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

USA:83 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

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


When will Transcendent Man finally be available to the public?
See more »
5 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
Great documentary about our love/hate relationship with technology, 2 February 2012
Author: jrcarney52 from United States

The documentary is, to an extent, a film version of Ray Kurzweil's nonfiction text, *The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology* (2006).

If you're not familiar with Ray Kurzweil's ideas, then I recommend familiarizing yourself with them. I want to go so far as to say he comes closest to articulating the general "mythology" of our time in regards to our relationship with technology.

This was a wonderful documentary to watch before reading his book. It's also interesting because the ambivalent nature of our relationship to technology comes through in an intense way. Indeed, the extremes of "technology-as-savior" and "technology-as-doom" are evident in this documentary. For example, Ray Kurzweil believes that, eventually, machine intelligence and human intelligence will merge together, and that the next stage of human evolution involves our connection to technology: this connection will result in immortality. And yet, other scientists believe that machine intelligence will stay separate from us and, surpassing us in capabilities, intelligence, vision, will come to see us as a mere "insects." Thus, they'll destroy us with as much prejudice as we destroy a nest of wasps or some irritating rabbits.

We have here the vision of either technology as Utopia or technology as Dsytopia: the U.S.S. Enterprise or Skynet.

A lot of the documentary foregrounds Kurzweil's views, but I wouldn't go as far as to say it's biased towards them. A lot of time is spent allowing his detractors to speak. Particularly, Hugo De Garis becomes the representative of the "dark side" of Kurzweil's technological vision. De Garis spends a lot of time talking about the "artilect war," a scenario he has imagined. The artiloect war, according to De Garis, will take place right before machines achieve consciousness. The war will be fought between people who think that intelligent machines should be built and people who believe intelligent machines are our doom and should not be built. We basically have, in De Garis's scenario, a fight between the two visions: those who recoil from technology as the death of humanity and those who embrace technology as the full manifestation of humanity (i.e. our destiny).

There are other vexed issues in terms of our relationship to technology that come through in this documentary, namely, how we are coming to interface with it. One question is, where do the boundaries of the human end? After we have replaced our eyes, our lungs, our brains, our limbs with technological apparatuses, when do we stop being human and start being machines? This is a metaphysical question regarding the fundamental ontological nature of human being as an discrete experience.

A lot of folks are reluctant to watch this documentary because they feel like Kurzweil is "just wrong." I think that's the wrong way of going about it. It doesn't really matter if he's right or wrong. What matters is that such visions are even being expostulated. That a man has written books claiming that technology will save us; that others have written books saying that technology will destroy us: these developments are culturally significant.

They point toward our vexed relationship with technology, the degree to which we both love it. And hate it.

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