Musings on The Muse by Julian Shah-Tayler

Welcome to the sporadic and not entirely well considered spewing forth from my pen. Love to you!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Transcendent Man

While Cat was sleeping, I managed to watch "Transcendent Man" - a kind of documentary film concerning Ray Kurzweil, the eternally optimistic proponent of the nanotechnology revolution (and the progenitor of my new project name: "The Singularity"
The rental was for a brief time 99 cents from the ubiquitous iTunes.... No shame there.

Ray is an interest of mine most definitely, and I am in the middle (!) of reading "The Singularity Is Near" which I bought from Amazon:

Anyhow, fascinating stuff and recommended reading for anyone with a working knowledge of science, and progress. The basic tenets are that the rate of scientific progress is exponential, which to the layman means that the more we know, the faster the new sciences emerge.
He then goes on to postulate that we will merge with technology very soon to become cyborgs (human/machine hybrids) and that the robotic/computer technology will very soon develop an independent artificial intelligence of its own which will completely supercede our own biologically limited intelligence.
There is also a mention of "Nanobots" which are tiny independent robotic computers that can work together in synchronicity to perform medical procedures to repair humans from the inside, and perform myriad other tasks.
Anyway... deep stuff! To the movie
To the movie:

It focuses a lot more on Ray's personal life, revealing elements of his past, particularly his heartbreak at his father's death of heart failure.
It introduces us to Ray's wife and the idea of his philanthropy and love of family. It also reveals Ray's obsession and reliance on pills and dietary supplements.
It features some very strange and outspoken critics of Ray's abundant optimism.
The end result is a muddled documentary with many unresolved strands and incongruous ideas. I was left feeling a little disappointed, and wishing that we could have been shown a lot more of the ideas which have made Ray famous and important. I came out liking him, but pitying him more so. Could do better.....

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