Transcendence (2014): AI or not?

Film.ai with Aric Dromi



Aric Dromi
07/11/2019

Transcendence (2014)

Premise:

A scientist is conducting controversial experiments to create a sentient machine and eventually 'uploads' himself into it to avoid death. But the good doctor becomes not so good – taking control of the internet, changing human biology, tinkering with the environment and generally becoming a power-mad supervillain.

Intelligent tech:

Johnny Depp's character literally maps and uploads his brain to a quantum computer and remains alive as a virtual consciousness. This Turing-complete AI clearly has monumental storage and processing capacity and is capable of flawless facial and emotion recognition.

Aric's analysis:

More than technological 'blah-blah,' I think the movie points to a flaw in the promise of immortality. Don't get me wrong, when I say 'blah-blah' I mean the horrible and tasteless way the director portrayed the technological playground to enable this idea. I do believe that at a certain point in time, we will have the computation power to help us understand the complexity of the human brain and the process required to play around with one's consciousness. Whether it will take us 70 or 100 years is irrelevant to the impact of such an idea - the promise of immortality.

If you stop and think about it, it doesn't matter if you live forever in a human body or on in a machine, you're still surrounded by other humans and who want to live forever surrounded by humans? For me, once we realize this technology, once people will be able to transcend and live forever- they will cease to desire to have that ability. The movie had the potential to deal with the potential impact of global immortality, but instead- it focused on special effects, lousy chemistry between the actors, and worse- terrible dialogue. This is not science fiction. It's stupid fiction.

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