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Transcendence- Spoiler Corner
#1
Note the thread title, this is only for those who have seen the movie or don't mind spoilers.

I was so afraid this movie would be two hours of Ludd-porn, that transapient Dr. Will Caster would be another example of the evil AI that takes over the world. For those who saw the movie, you know that's not what happened!

What does Will do after being uploaded and ascending? He finds a podunk little town, buys it up with money he made from very good stock trading and proceeds to build a giant laboratory powered by a solar farm. What's he do there? Builds a bigger, better brain and in the course of two years, develops nanotech capable of making the blind see, healing any injury and creating linked minds.

What does everyone else assume he's doing? Building an army and plotting to take over the world. What does Will do when he and his people are attacked? Defends himself and them without hurting anybody and then unleashing nanotech into the sky. What does everyone assume his nanotech in the sky, dirt and water will do? Obviously, it's all very sinister. What was it actually for? Healing the goddamn planet!

So why do I love this movie? Every single fear-monger and ludd in this movie turned out to be entirely wrong. They assumed the worst of him, attacked him and killed people because of it. Will never hurts anybody and was only working to do good (granted, I'd like to see a deleted scene where his "Hybrids" consent to the techlepathy thing). The whole movie basically amounts to showing that, yes, technology can be a good thing and has a fair bit of Ludd-shaming.

It was also nice to see Johnny Depp do something besides being wacky and/or in a Tim Burton movie. I thought he sold transapience well. He came off Human, but in a remote and often uncanny way.



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#2
Well yeah that is true, however the movie still makes RIFT look kind of heroic and to be honest is full of plotholes.
On the other hand it is true that Will proved to be good kind of transapient in the end.
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#3
I saw it last night and very much enjoyed it. I thought it was the best possible transhumanist film they could have made, it had very good visual affects and most of the plot was quite good. Aside from the plethora of minor bad points that any film will have (like the fact he's a scientist who doesn't like public speaking but is so famous people want his autograph) there were three major plot points that I feel it would have been so much better to overcome rather than relying on cliché:

1) The source code virus. Ultimately he is killed because his friend who modified the brain emulation software knows of a bug in the source code he can create a virus for. Yet minutes after the emulation software starts working and the uploaded will can control the computer with his thoughts he begins to expand, learn and rewrite portions of his own code (the classic hard-take off scenario). It seems unlikely that he wouldn't have found and corrected any flaws at this time or at least done so towards the end of the film when he deduces the plan to create the virus.

2) No social intelligence. Probably my biggest worry about the film before seeing it and my biggest gripe. It's established that will has become a super-intelligence capable of absorbing knowledge as fast as his bandwidth will allow, spotting patterns no one else can and developing technologies far beyond human science. Yet for all this natural intelligence he is somewhat socially stupid. He even seems to regress from how he was as a human, relying on crude biological cues like heart rate to figure out his wife's emotions and not anticipating she will be freaked out when he remote controls a human body and tries to reach out to her. This feeds into the central point of the movie in that people are scared of him and want to destroy him but he underestimates this and never manages to figure out the best way to calm their fears and let him help. A super-intelligence should be able to look at a group of individuals (even a whole society) and in a short time build a model of them better than humans can make models of their closest friends. Rather than running, hiding and relying on them to come around after they see his technology he should have been planning public engagements, awareness campaigns, meetings with government figures, demonstrations of his abilities etc all to make people accept him.

3) The death of the internet. Talk about pyrrhic victory! The humans wipe out every machine on Earth by destroying will. I'd be surprised if less than 80% of us were dead after a few months if that really happened. Think of all the runways that can't guide planes down, all the hospitals no longer with power, all the emergency services that can't get to people and perhaps biggest of all, the collapse of food delivery networks. Coming from someone who lives on an island that has had to import food to sustain itself for decades the idea of global communications and transport disappearing overnight and not coming back strikes me as an apocalypse. It really bugs me how films and other media make the erroneous assumption that because we lived without computers and electricity before we'd be fine without it. Err, no. Our society is totally dependant on those things now, we don't have systems set up to run without them. We'd have to invent them from scratch and in the mean time the failure of Just in time business (specifically food) would kill most people.

So those were my major problems but as I said I did very much enjoy the film regardless. I thought the nanotechnology effects were some of the best I've seen in science fiction (it looked how I imagine hyperfog) and didn't go over board in terms of technobabble. I liked how scanning the brain wasn't enough and that it took a break through to make software that could emulate a brain without destroying it and process it's inputs and outputs. I like that they had to take a lot of phenotypic tests to get the software to work rather than ignoring the fact that the brain and mind are intimately linked to the body. And I liked that when first uploaded wills wife and friend had no idea what they were dealing with because all the software was giving as output was noise which took time to stabilise (showing that will didn't have an instant intuitive understanding of his new environment but required time for the software running him to integrate his senses and motor control).
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#4
Rynn, I hadn't considered it at the time, but you're right about his social intelligence. He may have stuck with pacifism, but yes, he ought to have known how to handle people better without frightening them. I can understand hiding though. After all, people did try to kill him very quickly after his rebirth.

I'm not sure how I feel about the virus part, as I'm not entirely sure whether he let it kill him, given the circumstances surrounding that scene.

You're definitely right about killing the internet being basically an apocalypse and I think they ought to have emphasized that. After all, it would only further emphasize just how blatantly wrong it was to kill Will. They torched modern civilization in order to kill a being they thought was bad without any hard evidence he really was. Hell, nobody even really bothered to question him. The last moments of the movie did leave me wondering if that nanotech in the water would get to work fixing things. Incidentally, I too loved that stuff. It reminded me of really good utility fog.

Despite these points, I absolutely loved this movie. Like all movies it has its flaws, but it was everything I hoped for and nothing I feared.



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#5
(04-29-2014, 09:23 AM)Ares Johnson Wrote: Rynn, I hadn't considered it at the time, but you're right about his social intelligence.

Given that social intelligence is a huge factor of human intelligence it shows a big lack of imagination when AI in films aren't better at it. In keeping with the theme of the film Depp's character should have been more charming, charismatic and compelling than every human that had ever existed. He should have been able to represent himself to different individuals and groups as the perfect mentor/leader figure defined by what that group would best respond to. If you can become a super-genius at computer science, biology, nanotechnology, economics etc then it holds that you should also be able to become a super-genius at public speaking, psychology, leadership, politics etc.

Along those lines this would have been cool to show in his lab if alongside all the physical technologies he also had a plethora of models of how to solve social problems. I.e "this is a schematic of a new form of political organisation that will maximise democracy without necessitating a large bureaucracy or a lot of time" (cut to a computer representation of a dynamic network of groups across a country) or "this is an executive summary of a report I've just sent to every world government. It details a variety of simple economic policies that will eliminate budget deficit, bring rapid growth and decrease inequality. This is just a solution to the current problems though, a patch if you will. I'm also working on an entirely new theory of economics that if implemented will eliminate poverty for good."

(04-29-2014, 09:23 AM)Ares Johnson Wrote: I can understand hiding though. After all, people did try to kill him very quickly after his rebirth.

True but running to hide was a short term solution that worked out worse in the long run. He should have worked that out pretty quickly.

(04-29-2014, 09:23 AM)Ares Johnson Wrote: I'm not sure how I feel about the virus part, as I'm not entirely sure whether he let it kill him, given the circumstances surrounding that scene.

The film made out like he let it kill him in the end but for much of it he didn't want to do that.

(04-29-2014, 09:23 AM)Ares Johnson Wrote: The last moments of the movie did leave me wondering if that nanotech in the water would get to work fixing things.

I thought something similar. I thought that what would happen was that it would be revealed that the image we were presented with was designed to make us come to the wrong conclusions. That in actual fact the ubiqitious nanotech hadn't been destroyed as will had but had gone on to heal the world and provide infrastructure to supply everyone's needs.

(04-29-2014, 09:23 AM)Ares Johnson Wrote: Despite these points, I absolutely loved this movie. Like all movies it has its flaws, but it was everything I hoped for and nothing I feared.

I think the film was overall quite enjoyable even with its flaws. Especially given that it really is the first film of its kind.
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#6
If this upload became a transapient, it seems like it was really a solipsist. A hu friendly transapient would have been able to prevent the deaths by manipulation alone. A Transapient wouldn't have a problem with social skills.  

I would guess that the transcended upload/ Po actually tricked the baselines in the movie that they killed em.

I'm fairly sure the transcended upload/ Po was indifferent to the baselines/ humans, since it could have ruled them alone reasonbly well as discussed in this thread.

http://www.orionsarm.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=2242
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#7
I really like the movie. But the cliché can ruin some solutions. The social intelligence, etc.
Is like the change in the plot of the movie of the graphic novel watchmen. A change in some aspects can change the whole meaning.

If people shutdown the internet due to cliché, this is bad for people. But maybe they were "forced" to do that because circumstances. Some people may think like that.
So, trying to be a supergenius is dangerous because other people can make bad things to prevent even if the supergenius is good. Keeping this line of thought (not my personal opinion), so we must stop researching because this is dangerous.
And then appears the "Frankenstein Syndrome" Isaac Asimov talked about that.

So the movie show the humanity in danger and show the shutdown of internet due to a supergenius. Even the supergenius was a good person.
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#8
I'm sorry Angel, could you rephrase your last post differently? I'm having trouble understanding what you saying in your last post.
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#9
(03-09-2017, 09:48 PM)QwertyYerty Wrote: If this upload became a transapient, it seems like it was really a solipsist. A hu friendly transapient would have been able to prevent the deaths by manipulation alone. A Transapient wouldn't have a problem with social skills.  

I would guess that the transcended upload/ Po actually tricked the baselines in the movie that they killed em.

I'm fairly sure the transcended upload/ Po was indifferent to the baselines/ humans, since it could have ruled them alone reasonbly well as discussed in this thread.

http://www.orionsarm.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=2242

Assuming that Depp's character in the film were an OA type transapient, this is true. However, it's not a given that a superhuman intelligence would necessarily operate as we imagine transapients operating (although I like to think we have given a lot of logical thought to how our transapients operateSmile ).

I think, at least in part, that the issue of lack of social intelligence is a fairly common trope when the entertainment industry tries to describe highly intelligent characters (human or otherwise). For many years, highly intelligent characters have been described as lacking in social skills/physical prowess/conventional attractiveness to one degree or another (consider movies such as Revenge of the Nerds, TV shows such as Bones, etc.). This has changed a bit in recent years, with a number of conventionally attractive highly intelligent characters on TV and in film - although an argument might be made that their appearance is often treated as more of a wonder/fiction requiring suspension of disbelief than their intelligence (Someone that smart can actually be sexy! Amazing!!!). However, the issue of social intelligence continues to generally be treated as an area very smart people struggle with.

I wonder if this comes from a mix of:

a) most people not really seeing excellent social skills as a form of/spin off from high intelligence

b) the other common trope (and sometimes reality) that someone who is both very smart and very good with people is also a bit of a sociopath or master manipulator. Consider con men, cult leaders, politicians, and highly successful salespeople. There is a sense in many/most depictions of such people that something is a little 'off' about them - that they aren't quite 'just people' but a slightly dangerous 'other'. At least that's what I often get from many treatments of such.

It could be that these things also color our ideas of high intelligence and so make it difficult for creators of entertainment to depict a superhuman character who is also charming and sympathetic and such. That sort of being is generally associated with religion and discussing a technological god (as in the case of Transcendence) as a desirable result is probably something most mass audiences would struggle with. Or that would be the worry among studio executives, at least.

Just some thoughts,

Todd
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#10
Maybe the "lack" of social skills by the Po was really a form of manipulation of the baselines around him.

E could have combined this with a fake death to sell a narrative to the baselines that they beat the Po. In reality the Po takes over orbital assets and begins to turn the rest of Solsys in computronium, or to do some unknowable Transapient activity in secret wherever E wants to, including on Earth or in the Internet that might be rebuilt.
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