12 years ago

Transcendent Man

Ray Kurzweil is one of the world’s foremost inventors. At age 15 he was designing programs that were adapted by IBM and soon after machines that allowed the blind to read. Today he is hailed by some as a modern-day Nostradamus and dismissed by others as a crackpot. The “futurist” and best-selling author is a leading theorist on the “technological singularity"—a time when humans and machines will fuse in the next phase of bio-technological evolution, creating superintelligent, godlike beings that could conceivably live forever. The kicker is, Kurzweil claims that this monumental change is destined to happen in just 30 years. 

This mind-bending documentary probes the searing questions that have previously only been teased out in science fiction. Kurzweil is as convincing as he is entertaining even when he claims he is drastically extending his own life span and will bring his late father back to life with new technology in the future. First-timer Barry Ptolemy finds a wide range of interview subjects, from evangelists and "brain builders” to William Shatner and Stevie Wonder. Matching the pace of the world it describes, the film moves at breakneck speed, saturating us with ideas and locations and images and theories. Engrossing and at times seemingly absurd, Transcendent Man makes it hard not to wonder if Kurzweil may be splitting a bull’s-eye too far away for us to see.