Transcendence – Wally Pfister Entry 5

“Transcendence is a film directed by Wally Pfister starring Johnny Depp (Dr. Will Caster), Rebecca Hall (Evelyn Caster) and Paul Bettany (Max Waters). The film is set at a modern time with everyone relying on technology in their daily lives. The opening scene of the film shows a world where some event has wiped out all electricity. It then rewinds to Dr. Will Caster being shot by a terrorist group called R.I.F.T (Revolutionary Independence From Technology) because of his work on artificial intelligence (A.I). He survives the bullet but it was poisoned so he only has a few months to live. Will’s wife Evelyn hears of a scientist who, instead of creating a self-aware A.I, uploaded an existing conscious. He successfully uploaded a monkeys brain into the computer, so Evelyn wonders if she can upload Will to save him. Max helps her but as they uploaded Will into the drives of an A.I called PINN Max is skeptical that it is actually Will. ‘Will’ creates an empire of science and the films conclusion makes us wonder whether it was actually Will or just a mad computer.

A connection this film had to the real was the modern day technological advancements. In the real world at the moment there are so many people researching things like artificial intelligence and cancer cures. In the film one leads to the other as the A.I creates nano technology. The nano technology created by Will, after he was uploaded, was able to create new cells which allowed healing of tissue. This meant that any sickness was healed or cured. ” These people are suffering, Evelyn. They have no hope and I’m able to fix them.” There are so many people around the world who are researching for these advancements. They would help so many people who would benefit from these being a reality.

A personal connection I had with this film was with the fears of R.I.F.T. R.I.F.T believe that artificial intelligence would ruin the world if it were allowed online. “We were too late, it’s out there now.” R.I.F.T sent a team to shut down the A.I before it went online but were too late, Evelyn had already let it online. R.I.F.T’s concerns are that if this A.I is let online it can access any file from any database connected to the internet and would never be able to be shutdown. I share these concerns that A.I, if they are not contained, will be dangerous. If the A.I is self aware then whats to stop it doing it’s own thing and launching nuclear bombs. I know it’s far fetched and a lot of research off but there are still concerns. Transcendence reminded me of a film called ‘I Robot’ directed by Alex Proyas. This film about an Artificial Intelligence which decides the human race needs to be destroyed because they all they do is kill each other. Transcendence reminded me of this film because of R.I.F.T’s concerns. The A.I in I Robot is exactly the type of A.I R.I.F.T were concerned that would happen in Transcendence. It is also the type of A.I I am concerned someone could create in the future. Since our current generations are growing in a technological world most of future jobs will be in the computer sciences industry. Which means there will be plenty of people working on these A.I’s in the future to come.

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