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Transcendent Man (2009)

Ray Kurzweil , Peter Diamandis , Barry Ptolemy  |  NR |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (156 customer reviews)

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Transcendent Man + The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology + Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever
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Product Details

  • Actors: Ray Kurzweil, Peter Diamandis, William Shatner, Stevie Wonder, Dean Kamen
  • Directors: Barry Ptolemy
  • Format: 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 (156 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,791 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

Extended Interviews
Deleted Scenes
Tribeca Film Festival Q&A with director Barry Ptolemy and Ray Kurzweil.

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
30 of 33 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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37 of 45 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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6 of 6 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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful, Very Optimistic View of the Future September 22, 2011
Earlier ('99) Kurzweil argued that the ever-accelerating rate of technological change would lead to computers rivaling the full range of human intelligence. Now he considers the union of human brains with the vastly greater capacity and speed of computers. That merging is the Singularity where there will be no clear distinction between human and machine, real and virtual reality - and occur around 2045. Human aging and illness will be reversed, pollution stopped, and world hunger and poverty solved.

Kurzweil goes on to point out that the brain has massive parallelism (100 trillion interneuronal connections operating simultaneously to quickly realize subtle patterns, but involving transactions several million times slower than current electronic circuits. The result is an increasing mismatch vs. the exponential growth of our knowledge base.

Kurzweil then steps back to gain perspective on the accelerating rate of progress. The 20th century's achievements represent about 20 years of progress at the rate accomplished in the year 2000; he projects that the next 20 years' of progress will be accomplished in about 14, followed by the next in only 7. Thus, the 21st century will bring progress of about 1,000 times that of the 20th century. We tend to overestimate what can be achieved in the short term (due to leaving out details), and underestimate the long term possibilities (assuming the future will simply represent a linear extrapolation of recent years, rather than what has recently become exponential growth).

Kurzweil sees effective software models of human intelligence by the mid-2020s. This will allow "intelligence" to be applied to the billions of facts machines can precisely and instantly recalled.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
Wow! such a great movie!
Might watch again and again
learned a lot
so much great stuff
who knew there was so much knowledge
Published 8 days ago by Sevan
4.0 out of 5 stars Extremely smart and brilliant prognosticator and inventor - but also...
Movies can make or break you so I am not sure if the director changed the perception of this person or not so I can only comment on the movie not the person. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Eureka logic
4.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the originator of the geeks
Story of the originator of high tech with some amazing predictions. Great for people interested in what tech might do in the future.
Published 15 days ago by GMAC
4.0 out of 5 stars Ray knows what's up
I've read Kurzweil's books for 15 years now and he simply uses an expert intellect in a practical manner. Thankfully, he's willing to share his ideas. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Waste of time
It had some good ideas of where we could be headed but the fact that Ray was so certain of when and what was going to happened was annoying... Read more
Published 20 days ago by Graham
5.0 out of 5 stars The Idea Here Are Worth Exploring
After watching this documentary you will have seen the future but not everyone will comprehend it. It's not that there is a lot of technical information here because there isn't;... Read more
Published 21 days ago by Eric Augspurger
3.0 out of 5 stars and all these resources are based on oil....
great ideas but yet we need to find a different resource to support it in the future. i hope all of us can find a common ground to do so. internationally
Published 23 days ago by raphael gort
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Singularity is a concept seemingly born from the visions of sci-fi novels in our obsession to overcome death and disease.
Published 25 days ago by Edward Southworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking...
Transcendent Man is pretty fascinating in terms of the amount of information thrown around. The film definitely has a tendency to spark curiosity in the topics it covers.
Published 26 days ago by John Floyd Whitaker
1.0 out of 5 stars great for insomniacs
it will help you sleep better than ambien could have been a 15 minute short too much repetition poorly done
Published 29 days ago by Michael J. Gullickson
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