Real science fiction is found in Transcendence, a movie about a dying computer genius who uploads himself in computerized form and achieves a troubled digital afterlife. Its director, Wally Pfister, a longtime collaborator with Christopher Nolan as a cinematographer, examines its concepts with honesty, curiosity, and horrifying beauty.
The movie aims to scare us about the dangers of playing God and technological overreach, and it wants to focus those fears on one or two people for the sake of dramatic conflict.
The Turing Test 2.0: Bridging the Human-AI Divide
Transcendence creates a scenario that provides the world with the big question. If a human consciousness is uploaded to a computer, is still considered a human mind or something that is borderline artificial intelligence. After all, the mind is now scrambled into quantifiable units of 1s and 0s.
Perhaps what the film brings more to the table is the fact that AI is just another term for a consciousness that was man-made and not developed in an organic body. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) personifies this question superbly. Is the Will Caster that got transferred into a computer still something that can be identified as the consciousness that resided in Will Caster’s human mind?
These thought-provoking questions are the primary lead for the engagement of the audience, to turn the conversations in our minds turn into questions that would later turn into a debate. To torture the audience with the question the film knows it will never answer in a black-and-white format.
Did You Know This About Transcendence?
- Particularly in the last ten years, Johnny Depp has been known for portraying hammy and weird characters. He plays one of the quietest and most genuine characters he has ever played in this. Very reserved.
- While finishing The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and putting the finishing touches on Interstellar (2014), Christopher Nolan had been keeping an eye on the film because he thought Transcendence was “perfect” for Wally Pfister to make his directorial debut.
- The mirrors or solar panels are angled away from the sun. The panels are facing completely the wrong way, and the position of the sun may be inferred from object highlights and ground shadows.
Rise of the Machines: AI’s Journey to Humanity
The moment Will Caster was transferred or transcended, the doubts and fears began rising faster than ever before if what is being done is moral or not. AI in general has always been feared by the common man due to its calculated and unemotional nature. Transcendence gives the audience an ideal reality where AI or in this case human-powered AI works exactly as intended.
Will Caster’s character is so hindered by the assumptions that those around him are “evil monsters” that they fail to notice that he never kills anyone, neither does he have any plans to turn the world into a metallic supercomputer, but rather heals the sick, respects each person’s autonomy, and has ideas for re-greening the environment.
Instead, we see government and terrorist forces working together to dismantle everything of civilization in an effort to assassinate him. However, he ultimately decides to give up everything in order to preserve himself and his wife in the garden he previously created.
There is a warning about human fear and ignorance when faced with change, not about the “perils of playing God and technology overreach.”
Silicon Souls: Unraveling the Mysteries of AI Consciousness
In general, audiences dislike films with ambiguous protagonists and antagonists. We frequently choose to see films where we can root for just one side. However, this film flipped the notion of technology on its head. What if cutting-edge science and AI don’t instantly try to annihilate us?
In the end, it really was Dr. Will Caster. Max, Evelyn, and Joseph saw it when Will sacrificed himself for Max. Even Agent Buchanan saw it when he realized Will didn’t kill or hurt anyone.
Max was so sure it wasn’t Will because he wanted to change the world, but he forgot that Will loved Evelyn so much that he wanted to give her the world changes she had envisioned her entire life. Water that is clean, pollution away, and people being as healthy as they come.
That fear is in people, and that’s why 99% of these movies have the villain, which is technology, gone wrong. People who fear stem cell research, cloning, and genetics. Sure, doing this type of research can lead to moral issues, but there’s no need to be afraid of it because it basically destroys what makes a person human. Transcendence reflects the collective psyche of those who fear change in the most blunt way possible.