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Transcendent Man 2009 NR CC

Inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil is the subject of this documentary that follows him on a world speaking tour in which he expounds on his ideas about the merging of man and machine, which he predicts will occur in the not-so-distant future.

Starring:
Tom Abate, Hugo De Garis
Runtime:
1 hour, 23 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Documentary
Director Robert Barry Ptolemy
Starring Tom Abate, Hugo De Garis
Supporting actors Peter Diamandis, Neil Gershenfeld, Ben Goertzel, William Hurlbut, Dean Kamen, Kevin Kelly, Aaron Kleiner, Raymond Kurzweil, Sonya Kurzweil, Robert Metcalfe, Chuck Missler, Colin Powell, Philip Rosedale, William Shatner, Stevie Wonder, Kevin Warwick
Studio Transcendant Man, LLC
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on May 27, 2011
Format: Amazon 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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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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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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Format: Amazon 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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An insightful movie for all to watch. If I didn't know there is a God Who has an eternal life in store for me...the movie's idea would make sense. The problem is that mankind is trying to accomplish what only God will do -- and NOT by upgrading our bodies in the sense of Transcendent Man.

Nevertheless, I respect Ray Kurzweil. He believes that human and artificial intelligence will synthesize at some point in the future, blurring the line between man and machine, a transformation he terms "The Singularity." Personally, I see a lot of flaws with this idea although I understand why Ray believes in it. One flaw is that we must acknowledge that only a few will be able to pursue this dream: it's one more way to separate the wealthy elite from the middle and lower classes. After all, who could afford to do anything that is being proposed but the elite? And it will never change the heart of man which is "deceitfully wicked."

We have a choice to seek the God of the Bible OR to deny Him. It's everyone's choice, just as it is a choice to choose to be an Atheist OR not..

Still, I recommend to Christians especially to watch this documentary to understand what is presently going on in the world. These sorts of things are never discussed in churches. And if you mention it, people look at you like you have 2 heads. We need more watchmen on the wall to educate most "church Christians" and to explain how and why it differs from what God has intended for those who believe in Jesus. We also need to wake up to the way in which the world is headed. It's NOT sci-fi; it's science NON-fiction. The world is headed for a one-world government and this plays right into that plan

I can only give this film 4 stars because it does not promote my beliefs; however, it rates 5 stars to me because it makes for a good eye-opener and teaching tool.
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