Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is the foremost researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence, working to create a sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotions. His highly controversial experiments have made him famous, but they have also made him the prime target of anti-technology extremists who will do whatever it takes to stop him. However, in their attempt to destroy Will, they inadvertently become the catalyst for him to succeed—to be a participant in his own transcendence. For his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and best friend Max Waters (Paul Bettany), both fellow researchers, the question is not if they can…but if they should. Their worst fears are realized as Will’s thirst for knowledge evolves into a seemingly omnipresent quest for power, to what end is unknown. The only thing that is becoming terrifyingly clear is there may be no way to stop him. (synopsis via heyuguys.co.uk)
Caught up as I am in the middle of reading David Brin’s masterful sci-fi tale Existence, and reading talk of the next instalment in the Terminator franchise Genesis (due 2015), I am currently quite mindful of the 1001 ways that technology can be both a blessing and a curse.
Regardless of whether it is the machines we created turning on us with vengeful fury, or Big Brother emerging via an omnipresent mobile flow of information and by extension surveillance, or in the case of Transcendance, the power to play technological god going to our heads, we are, as always, at the mercy of our ability to both create and destroy.
I am at heart an optimist, believing that humanity for all its poisonous foibles, propensity to overreach and track record for getting it profoundly wrong (and yes right), is capable of averting the doom so often prophesied for it in countless dystopian views of the future.
But having watched the latest chilling images from Wally Pfister’s forthcoming masterpiece (I have faith based on Inception and The Dark Knight), I am pausing to reflect on whether we will actually save ourselves from ourselves.
I would like to think yes but this movie certainly makes you stop and wonder.
And get the dystopian chills …
Transcendance opens 18 April 2014 in USA and 24 April 2014 Australia.