Friday, 18 April 2014

The current state of AI and posthumanism in popular culture Part 3: the review of movie "Transcendence"


I've just watched #transcendence   , my most anticipated movie in years.
I heard it first on the Ray Kurzweil's website well back in 2012. 
The movie is great although it could have been much grander. There are many great ideas with full of transhumanist theme based upon the writings of Ray Kurzweil and Michio Kaku.  Possibly it is the first ever movie which doesn't depict an advanced Intelligence ran amok harming humans. 
Too bad the new director fails to emphasize this excellent aspect of the movie. 
Too bad human stupidity and paranoia won the day. Professor Will Caster's transcendent mind have never harmed anyone, or not planning to. The whole rationale of attacking him is based upon unfounded fear and paranoia.
Too bad the movie gives more voice to anti-tech people than "the machine" to explain himself. Most of the time other characters describe what Will might be thinking or doing. It was never the machine, it is Will entirely.

Too bad that the movie continues to propagate false ideas about AI and robots, like machine cannot hold contradictory logic. Current computers probably cannot do it but quantum computers would have no problem, actually it is in the foundation of quantum mechanics. Our animal intelligence happens to express this as we are based upon quantum foundation, just as the seemly randomness and probability in natural world are the result of quantum mechanics.(On the origin of probability in quantum mechanics
But the movie is really a joy to watch. I am on the verge of clapping whenever a technology I've always wanted is shown, like quantifying hormonal level and emotions of people.
Some people claim that futurists' believe in singularity is quasi-religious in nature. I think it is true, partially at least. Mankind has always tried to eliminate human suffering (or animal suffering, if you prefer). At least we now have viable path of achieving it; creating a heaven on the earth itself. For me, The Singularity is the event horizon , the point of apotheosis, when humans become divine.  The movie shows healing the sick, giving life to death and some superhuman powers. Could we claim to become Gods just by performing these acts or creating synthetic lifeforms. Maybe not. But when we have created a simple black hole and another universe inside our very own, the lifeforms in that universe surely would not be complaining our status.

The movie should be a call to action for transhumanists as well. An enlightened posthuman would have evolved beyond the level of primitive humans and wouldn't suffer from that unnecessary Survival Instinct or Self-preservation of animals or it will be too much benevolent. That could be our undoing as the movie demonstrated.

Part 1