h+ Magazine

Winter 2009.

Issue link: http://cp.revolio.com/i/5039

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Page 44 of 89

45 www.hplusmagazine.com RUS: you've got two films coming out, Transcendent Man and The Singularity is Near. What do you think the impact will be of having those two films out in the world? RK: Well, Transcendent Man has already premiered at the Tribeca film festival and it will have an international premier at the Amsterdam documentary film festival next month. There's quite a lot of interest in that, and there are discussions with distributors. So it's expected to have a theatrical release both in this country and internationally early next year. And The Singularity is Near will follow. Movies are a really different venue. They cover less content than a book but they have more emotional impact. It's a big world out there. No matter how many times I speak — and even with all the press coverage of all these ideas, whether it's featuring me or others — I'm impressed by how many otherwise thoughtful people still haven't heard of these ideas. I think it's important that people not just understand the Singularity, which is some decades away, but the impact right now, and in the fairly near future, of the exponential growth of information technology. It's not an obscure part of the economy and the social scene. Every new period is going to bring new opportunities and new challenges. These are the issues that people should be focusing on. It's not just the engineers who should be worrying about the downsides of biotechnology or nanotechnology, for example. And people should also understand the opportunities. And I think there are anti-technology movements that continue to spread among the intelligentsia that are actually pretty ignorant. RUS: Do you read science fiction novels and watch science fiction television, or science fiction movies? RK: I have seen most of the popular science fiction movies. RUS: any that you find particularly interesting or enjoyable? RK: Well, one problem with a lot of science fiction — and this is particularly true of movies — is they take one change, like the human-level cyborgs in the movie AI, and they put it in a world that is otherwise unchanged. So in AI, the coffee maker is the same and the cars are the same. There's no virtual reality, but you had human-level cyborgs. Part of the reason for that is the limitation of the form. To try to present a world in which everything is quite different would take the whole movie, and people wouldn't be able to follow it very easily. It's certainly a challenge to do that. I am in touch with some movie makers who want to try to do that. I thought The Matrix was pretty good in its presentation of virtual reality. And they also had sort of AI-based people in that movie, so it did present a number of ideas. Some of the concepts were arbitrary as to how things work in the matrix, but it was pretty interesting. Movies & Science Fiction Kurzweil AI http://www.kurzweilai.net/index.html?flash=1 Trancendental Man http://www.transcendentman.com/ The Singularity is Near (Movie) http://singularity.com/themovie/ resources

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