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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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Plot:
Ray Kurzweil is on a journey to bring his ideas to the world. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
A film biography of futurist Ray Kurzweil 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
Country:
Language:
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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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A film biography of futurist Ray Kurzweil, 19 July 2013
Author: Dennis Littrell from United States

I'm somewhat familiar with the work of futurist Ray Kurzweil having read and reviewed his book The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence (1999). He has since written several other books. He's won a lot of prizes and several honorary doctorates. He's a brilliant and original man.

As this documentary film makes clear, he is also a man afraid of dying and a man who very much misses his father and dreams of somehow bringing his father back to "life." Yes, quotation marks around "life." Kurzweil thinks that it will someday be possible to down load our brains onto some kind of software and in such form we will live forever.

I probably should read some more Kurzweil because I am sure he has an answer to my main critique of this fantastic idea, which can be illustrated by this consideration: Suppose your brain is downloaded. Which of you is you? The one in the software whose experiences are virtual or the one in the flesh and blood whose experiences are very human-like with all the ups and downs? The lives that can be downloaded onto software will be interesting, incredible really, but only to other people.

Another thing to ask when thinking about this is "How do you program a computer to feel pain? Or joy for that matter. Human beings are evolved beings that are subject to pleasure and pain. Software and AI machines not only don't feel any pain, they couldn't even if they wanted to. They can be programmed to act as though they feel pain but that is all. It is not even clear how animals came to develop the pleasure/pain reward/punishment system. What came first the mechanism to deliver pain or the ability to recognize the experience as pain? Nobody knows.

I wonder if Kurzweil realizes that death is part of life. Without death biological creatures such as us would experience an unbearable stasis and would of course die anyway eventually through accident, suicide, nearby supernova, etc. And as machines without biological urgings we would have no reason to go on living unless the urge is programmed into us by biological creatures. Machines don't care whether they are "alive" or dead. They are not afraid of the plug being pulled.

Naturally he has his critics other than me. And in this film director Robert Barry Ptolemy introduces a few and lets them have their say. The give and take is interesting. But what I think most people who are familiar with Kurzweil's work will find interesting is the portrait of the very human man himself.

The film begins with Kurzweil's appearance on TV's "I've Got a Secret" when he was 17-years-old and ends with his latest invention, a device that reads text aloud for the blind, and his ideas for new inventions using nanobots. In between we learn of his open heart surgery and his overriding idea that the singularity is near and that we will be able to comprehend the world of the singularity only if we are augmented with artificial intelligence. In other words we will become cyborgs, part biological creatures and part machine.

In this last prediction I think Kurzweil is right. We will meld with our machines—that is, if we don't send ourselves back to the Stone Age first.

Kurzweil gets the last say. He asks "Does God exist?" His very clever answer: "I would say not yet." —Dennis Littrell, author of "The World Is Not as We Think It Is"

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Can humans be trusted with this technology ziggy_blues44
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