Johnny Depp in Transcendence

 

‘Transcendence’, starring Johnny Depp, features events which are predicted by many scientists and futurists as possible in reality within the first half of this century. The predictions featured include those subscribed to by Ray Kurzweil, Hugo de Garis, and Jason Silva.

 

 

 

 

The plot involves two leading computer scientists working towards their goal of sparking the Technological Singularity, as a radical anti-technology organization fights to prevent them from creating a world where computers can transcend the abilities of the human brain.

In the movie we see Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) spark the singularity, or what they like to call ‘transcendence’, through the uploading of his mind to a supercomputer. Currently, this story is certain science fiction – its actual occurrence seems no more realistic than the creation of the technologies we see in The MatrixA.I. Artificial Intelligence, iRobot, and Avengers: Age of Ultron.

 

‘Transcendence’ is Uniquely Realistic

What is interesting most so about this movie, is that it was made in close collaboration with expert consultants from the field of artificial intelligence. As testament to the theories of these consultants, Rebecca Hall has expressed her interest in the subject, by stating she found herself caught up in studying the ideas of the singularity, and transhumanism – wondering just how topical these issues are becoming.

Still of TranscendenceThe movie is unique because it brings home the reality of the world we are living in – in part because this is the first time that a movie featuring sentient AI, has dug deep into the ethical issues, and the realistic need to ‘stop and think a minute; what are the implications of releasing this technology?’. Moreover, we are now at a time when we are taking our first steps into the world of AI, with Google Now, Apple’s Siri, and Microsoft’s Cortana. Cillian Murphy has said, “what people like about films like this is it’s the not too distant future; this could be happening now or tomorrow”

Google NowTo understand the future we are moving into, Ray Kurzweil (AI expert and Chief of Engineering at Google) asserts that we must first understand that the rate we are achieving our technological advances, is accelerating. You can find out more about this in our explanation of exponential growth.

Below, we will discus the real future predictions that are featured in transcendence, with reference to the experts that make them.

 

Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil and the Singularity

The technological singularity (often called simply the singularity), is most notably predicted by famed futurist Ray Kurzweil, as being an event which will happen around the year 2045. The singularity is defined as the point in time when artificial intelligence becomes smarter than the unaided human mind. At which time, this enhanced mind will teach itself to become infinitely smarter, and so cause an ‘intelligence explosion’. The singularity will undoubtedly immediately lead to the curing of all diseases, even aging, and solve all of humanities other traditional problems.

Some people consider the singularity to be an inevitable event, should technology continue to advance at an exponential rate. What else will happen after the singularity is impossible to predict with certainty. A theory though includes, the ‘terminator scenario’, where technology turns against humanity.

 

Hugo de Garis

Hugo de Garis and the Terrans

The ‘terminator scenario’ theory is what is predicted by many people to be what will spark an opposition to technological advancement in the coming decades. These terrorists are featured in Transcendence with consideration given to the predictions of top scientist/futurist, Hugo de Garis, who has said he was employed as a consultant for the writing of the movie. He predicts that these anti-technology terrorists, or as he calls them ‘terrans’, could cause major conflict in the future, and will be a major threat to our future survival. You can read more about the predictions of Hugo de Garis, in his book – The Artilect War: Cosmists vs. Terrans.

 

Jason Silva

Jason Silva, the Performance Philosopher

Jason Silva is a futurist, who makes incredible, inspiring and thought provoking short films. Unlike Hugo de Garis, Jason is more optimistic about the future. He believes that the singularity could happen around the year 2045, and that the ‘terminator scenario’ will not happen. He asserts that humanity will continue to integrate with machines; that machines will never turn against us, because they will ‘be us’. If you like to be inspired by the wonder of the incredible possibilities of the future, I recommend you check out the videos on Jason Silva’s YouTube Channel. Jason also presents the mind bending series by National Geographic, Brain Games.

 

Carmena and Maharbiz, Scientists

Jose Carmena and Michel MaharbizInformation about the involvement of Jose Carmena and Michel Maharbiz as consultants for Transcendence, came courtesy of the LA Times, in their article Transcendence’ ponders as it propels. The UC Berkeley scientists are said to have spent 10 hours examining the script – discussing issues such as the limits of nanotechnology, and the problems trying to define consciousness.They were both featured in the media last year due to their work on Brain-Machine Interfaces (connecting the brain to the computer). Details about their pioneering work in BMI can be found in their academic paper, Neural Dust: An Ultrasonic, Low Power Solution for Chronic Brain-Machine Interfaces. For information about their work, written in normal english, you can read this article from Time Magazine, Your Future Brain-Machine Implant: Ultrasonic Neural Dust.

 

Transcendance, in theaters April 25th, 2014, written by Jack Paglen, directed by Wally Pfister, and produced by Christopher Nolan. The cast includes Johnny Depp, Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman, Kate Mara, Rebecca Hall and Paul Bettany. Like their Facebook fan page.

 

That’s Really Possible features news about the events as featured in Transcendence, and how they are becoming a reality. Please click like below to follow our facebook page and keep updated with advances.

 

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  • Phillis lewis

    What a frightening future. We are not gods and should not be playing as such, yeah I know that is an old fashioned idea (one that has some basis for a reason). If there are any Trexie fans out there you might remember several shows that touched on just this idea and what happened to them. People can’t control their basier emotions esp. when it is about power over lesser beings or what is perceived as lesser (that which is designed and made).

  • http://crimetime.net JTG – Just The Greatest

    I’m more excited at the idea of finding other life in the universe…
    which will intern explain who put us here and how we can stay without repercussions like the one’s shown in the movie.

    For instance when technology becomes so advanced that it can send a Robot that is built with the same mind as us only different materials, into space so that it can not die of old age therefor will eventually reach other life because it’s inevitable.
    Also it will be able to get there much faster.

  • Sang Kang

    One thing for sure, there’s two diverging path, the transcendence will have. If you were to weight the path on a scale, it’s most likely one side will tip over and that is not good for the rest of humanity. If history has taught us, any and more advanced life form will always dominate the lesser life form.

  • cletc47

    Glad to see this topic being explored more in depth. Transcendence is just the first of what I’m sure will be many more film addressing this very real possibility in a not too distant future. Can’t wait to see it.

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  • Raymond Millsaps

    perfect and improving daily. viva evolution…

  • http://singedrac.livejournal.com Singe

    It should be noted the concept and name of the technological Singularity was coined by Vernor Vinge in a paper in 1997 and he deserves a bit more credit than Kurzweil.

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  • http://www.flawlessri.com/music_videos.html LLaqui

    amazing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/christopher.s.jannette Christopher S. Jannette

    Amazing to watch how these ideas were just a spark a decade ago, and almost completely unknown by and large before that. I’ve been paying attention to this for a long time, while one may raise their eyebrows and laugh at the implications, I’d withhold judgement until we see how our technology pans out.

    • https://www.facebook.com/transcendenceX TranscendenceX

      Do you think we CAN wait to see how it plays out….or do we need to be planning for the best (and preventing what may be the worst)? Think its great that this movie is shedding some light!

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.grantham.3 Dan Grantham

    I thought this movie was by Wally Pfister?

    • http://www.thatsreallypossible.com/ Glyn Taylor

      Wally Pfister is the director yeah. Christopher Nolan is an executive producer.

      • dsdsadsadsad

        Then I wouldn’t call it Nolan’s movie…

        • http://www.thatsreallypossible.com/ Glyn Taylor

          Feel free not to. I haven’t either. Movies are collaborations, they are not one person’s work. I chose to first mention Nolan because his is most recognisable name (judging by facebook likes). Later in the article I write “written by Jack Paglen, directed by Wally Pfister, and produced by Christopher Nolan”.

          Writing like this works best for everybody: Nolan’s name promotes the movie best, and then Wally Pfister in effect receives more publicity 😉

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