Transcendent Man

Year: 2009
Production Co: Ptolemaic Productions
Director: Robert Barry Ptolemy
Cast: Raymond Kurzweil

Awhile ago I watched The Unbelievers, a pretty hagiographic documentary about what fun, jet-setting lifestyles Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins have as they crisscross the world convincing (or confirming, depending on their audiences) packed auditoriums that there's no God.

This film takes the same attitude toward its subject, the philosophies and aims of futurist Ray Kurzweil. It combines talking head interview footage (including a lot of Kurzweil himself), lots of shots of him walking through airports, taking the stage in front of cheering fans, signing books, etc. There's also a whole lot of stock footage of astonishing technologies in action, including many he invented – something I didn't know about him because I assumed he was just the Singularity Guy.

But it's not about Kurzweil's famous idea that technology and machines will reach a point where they'll outstrip human intelligence (the singularity), whereupon they'll leave mere humans in the dust. It's about his vision for a future when humankind merges more and more with technology to make itself better and more resilient – even immortal.

It's the story of his eye-popping vitamin regimen together with the work he's doing to try and improve human health, a lot of it apparently based on his experiences with losing his father as a younger man.

Much like The Unbelievers, it also isn't about presenting competing views. The story it has to tell is Kurzweil's efforts to cheat death, and in espousing his views and plans, it would have made just as interesting a book (albeit without the pictures).

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