Thursday, March 5, 2015

To Transcend . . . .


Thanks to Winter Storm Thor, I have a snow day and so far it has been quite good. As part of it, I have just watched the film Transcendence starring Johnny Depp and Morgan Freeman. For those of you who have not seen it, the film is about scientist Will Caster who, as the result of a terrorist attack, is left with only weeks to live. His wife, Evelyn, "saves" him by uploading him into PINN, an AI system created by Will. Will soon transcends from mere supercomputer to something quite different that will literally change the entire world.

As many of you know, I love studying quantum mechanics and will ask question after question to those who are far more knowledgeable than I. This movie reminded me of those conversations, for even now, while I am typing out this blog post, my brain is still trying to ask more questions. When I first read then later saw Jurassic Park, I knew that creating animals that had long been extinct was NOT a good idea, no matter how much money you would make if you put them in a park. However, with Transcendence, I wonder . . . .

Is there a line between human and machine and the "relationship" we strive to have?

Can a machine truly feel, even with the memories and essence of an uploaded human?

Are humans truly creatures of chaos and is living in utopia a fantasy?

Is it acceptable if nanotechnology could save the world through creating a universal collective?

And on and on.

I read many posts about how people trashed the movie for various reasons - too slow, plot holes, unbelievable acting and so on. Yet, I also read posts of those who praised the movie, claiming that it was "too intelligent" for the masses and that it asks questions that people refuse to acknowledge within themselves. Can we live without the Internet, a system designed to connect everyone in a greater awareness? Can we strive for a better world on our own, or does it take an AI to make it happen?

In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and strangely enough, felt somewhat hopeful at the end. I highly recommend this move for anyone who enjoys cyberpunk films or for those who wonder if we as humans are possible of becoming something more, something that will transcend what we could not possibly know now.

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