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Transcendent Man (2009)

Ray Kurzweil , Peter Diamandis , Barry Ptolemy  |  NR |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ray Kurzweil, Peter Diamandis, William Shatner, Stevie Wonder, Dean Kamen
  • Directors: Barry Ptolemy
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: May 24, 2011
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,468 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Technology will accelerate exponentially. Within 25 years, computers will have consciousness. Humans will soon be bionic. These predictions make bestselling author Ray Kurzweil (The Singularity Is Near) a prophetic genius to some, and a highly sophisticated crackpot to others. There is no question, however, that he has predicted the future with more accuracy than anyone else in history.

TRANSCENDENT MAN gets inside the mind of the award-winning scientist and A.I. specialist through extensive interviews with Kurzweil himself and revealing conversations with friends and colleagues. The film outlines Kurzweil s theory of singularity the point when change occurs so rapidly that humans will need to merge with technology to keep up while also chronicling Kurzweil s history, his myriad accomplishments (including 24 U.S. patents), and his unique vision of the future.

Bonus Features: Extended Interviews; Deleted Scenes; Tribeca Film Festival Q&A with direcotr Barry Ptolemy and Ray Kurzweil.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Format:Amazon Instant Video
As an inventor, businessman, and theorist--there is no denying the brilliant accomplishments or the noteworthy eccentricities of the estimable Ray Kurzweil. Alternately hailed as a prophetic genius and/or a raving madman, there is a probably a touch of truth in either position in how Kurzweil and his Singularity Doctrine view the future. "Transcendent Man," an intriguing and lively new documentary, serves as both a biographical sketch and a contemplation of man's progression through time. Kurzweil's position is that the current evolutionary cycle predominantly incorporates technology and that future incarnations of man will be human/robotic hybrids of some variation. He makes a compelling case, and has been quite astute in past predictions, about these changes--and, in fact, science has been working in that direction for quite some time with nanotechnology, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

The documentary begins with a fascinating introduction to its subject and his many revolutionary contributions. It's hard not to be caught up in the man's brilliance, impressed by his creations, and intrigued by his vision for man's evolution. As a biography, "Transcendent Man" works tremendously well. But as the movie progresses, it becomes clear that Kurzweil is abundantly obsessed with two concepts--achieving immortality through science and reviving his long dead father by computer programming and artificial intelligence. The second half of the picture evolves into science fiction. There is something both disturbing and touching seeing him contemplate rebuilding his father through old journal entries and documentation.

The final argument of the film is about the nature of man's future.
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45 of 55 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a good representation of Kurzweil's ideas. July 14, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I've seen Ray Kurzweil speak at a conference, and it was a life-changing experience for me. His insights about the future, based on what he's learned about the speed of change, are remarkable. But the DVD doesn't capture that well at all. Instead of making his points, providing evidence and refuting key objections that people have raised over the years--which is what he did at the presentation--this video focuses on a few soundbites about his ideas, doesn't illustrate them, and doesn't show you the objections that commonly get raised and his answers to those objections. Instead, it spends a lot of time on irrelevant side trips, such as showing him talking about his father and how he'd love to "recreate" his father via computer technology; and it shows people giving their opinions about his ideas without giving him a chance to respond. Despite the awards this video has apparently won, it is a LOUSY representation of Kurzweil's ideas and his defense of them. Don't waste your time and money. Instead, try to see him talk live. (His book about the singularity isn't totally satisfying either--it's complex material even for a well-educated fan--but it's far superior to this video.)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting then insane. February 17, 2013
Format:Amazon Instant Video
It starts off with some very limited and justifiable extrapolations based on good data, but devolves near the end of the video. The claims change from the plausible (supercomputers smarter than humans, blood-cell sized robots to monitor health) to the philosophical (digital reincarnations and apocalyptic wars over AI doodads) and jumps the shark in the end with a couple wacky christiany claims about armageddon for no apparent reason and as we fade to black we hear Ray talking about transforming all the matter in the universe with intelligence-laden nanobots.

Forty minutes of interesting material.
Twenty minutes of head-shaking, controversial-for-controversy's sake speculation.
Ten minutes of "WTF!?"
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The future without me October 17, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
When you pass your 80th birthday you realize that you will not be around for a lot of what technology will provide. It doesn't matter if you think it good or bad.... there are those whose visions are beyond ours. This video is an exciting adventure into other peoples' minds and creativity. Science fiction? I don't think so. The brain is a wondrous gift and this a chance to see it in action.
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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I hope it happens! March 21, 2011
Sure there is the technical stuff and the robots and the idea of singularity, but more than that what struck me was the soft spoken Ray Kurzweil gently saying, 'No' to death. He intends to invent his way out of it. The documentary explains how all this might happen and I am not even going to pretend that I am being balanced here. I love this guy! It was a pleasure to see him speak at the Screening. I was sitting in the balcony and the normalness of this man astounded me. Someone who invented the flat bed scanner, helped the blind to read, made a robot create music, went to M.I.T, is really not an introverted geek. I was expecting a large headed man in a white labcoat. Instead there he was standing in a checkered jacket, telling us that how the computer that once occupied the whole room now sits in our pockets. How far are we from this pocket sized machine going into our blood cells? Just as we dont feel the earth moving around the sun at thousands of mile per hour, we are also perhaps unaware of how quickly things are changing. Ray also spoke about a pill that may allow us to eat all we want without gaining weight. These things are in play. And then he sat down to watch the Transcendent Man. It was weird watching the film and also being able to see Ray sitting in the same room. In one scene he wore the same jacket that he was wearing that evening. Anyway I will end this most balanced review now. Just watch it!

Minhaj Arifin
Author of
How Desis Became The Greatest Nation On Earth
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars About the man more than his ideas.
I enjoyed this documentary about Ray Kurzweil, but having read The Singularity is Near I came away feeling like this was an incomplete presentation of his ideas and reasoning. Read more
Published 11 days ago by WayWardWest
5.0 out of 5 stars The coming technological Singularity
This movie provides an intriguing introduction to Ray Kurzweil, who claims that humans will gradually merge with their technology and become, as the title indicates, transcendent... Read more
Published 1 month ago by George F. Smith
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, not transcendent.
Interesting, not transcendent.
Published 1 month ago by Linda
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Allison Jurjens
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 1 month ago by Gary Adkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Ryan Andrews
2.0 out of 5 stars it was a bit too much computer jargon and a bit boring.
I didn't finish watching, it was a bit too much computer jargon and a bit boring.
Published 2 months ago by CV
4.0 out of 5 stars The film outlines Kurzweil's theory of singularity--the point when...
The film outlines Kurzweil's theory of singularity--the point when change occurs so rapidly that humans will need to merge with technology to keep up--while also chronicling... Read more
Published 2 months ago by The Critic
5.0 out of 5 stars Kurzweil and his work will blow your mind. When ...
Kurzweil and his work will blow your mind. When you are done with this documentary you will definitely need to read Wired for War.
Published 2 months ago by John
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
It was an interesting documentary.
Published 2 months ago by Sarah Diane
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