Escape to the Movies: Transcendence - SkyNet? More Like SkyNot

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Transcendence - SkyNet? More Like SkyNot

Transcendence is a movie that's trying really, really hard to be smart, but ultimately comes across more insulting instead.

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You don't have to explain Virtuosity to me, Bob!

Seems to me like Johnny Depp's managed to make two really dumb actions while trying to seem smart within a year. If that's what he wants to do, I guess.

I think John Cleese explains it nicely...

Also, I recently finished replaying Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and if you want a halfway intelligent and reasonable debate on "Is human Augmentation and Artificial intelligence a good thing?", I suggest doing the same instead.

Heh. Mrs. Doubtfire 2 is a strange one.

And if it makes you happy Bob, I got the Virtuosity gag before the test pattern and explanation. Your bizarre references do not go unnoticed!

As for the movie, I can't say I'm surprised. I remember seeing the preview and thinking it looked pretty weak. Not surprising to hear that the final product didn't live up to... well, anything. Too bad though. Depp used to be a sure bet for, at the very least, a fun ride. Now he seems doomed to picking roles that don't pan out.

Exactly how in the movie does having control of computers make you able to make a new flesh body?

Something that seems hard for a lot of writers to grasp is that they need for us to actually agree with the protagonists and their motivations other than "because they're the protagonists"

I bet the Directors Cut is going to be on BluRay with 45 extra minutes of runtime and people will go, "Oh okay, now I get it."

Andrew Siribohdi:
Exactly how in the movie does having control of computers make you able to make a new flesh body?

Because ummm... SCIENCE!

So you're saying that this:
image
is actually smarter without ever trying to be anything less than just plain ridiculous?!

The Lawnmower Man is a better film than this? I never thought I'd live long enough to hear anyone say that about a film.

5 bucks says The Lawnmower Man is on Movie Defence Force next week.

BoB... we all wondered Why?

Sounds terrible Bob. I wasn't really going to watch it anyway from the trailer alone I had figured that I'd wait until it came out on netflix or some such.

Even though I knew you had had watched this recently I was still kinda hoping the you were going to do Amazing Spiderman 2.

Since you hated everything about the first instalment I'm interested in hearing your thoughts about Garfield et al in this one:)

Under_your_bed:
I think John Cleese explains it nicely...

Also, I recently finished replaying Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and if you want a halfway intelligent and reasonable debate on "Is human Augmentation and Artificial intelligence a good thing?", I suggest doing the same instead.

I got another piece of media that actually explores the topic of transhumanism well: Ghost in the Shell. The series is just as renowned in it's circles as Deus Ex for the exploration of transhumanism on politics, human interactions, law, and even the concept of what it means to be human (Stand Alone Complex's Tachikomas are a great example of this)

Serioulsy, if someone made an american version of Ghost in the Shell (yes, I know there are two Ghost movies already but I'm talking about American cinema, I'd watch it in a heartbeat.

Instead, we get stupid, Welcome to Hollywood.

Edit: interesting question, why is the "science is evil" thing still around? it's not the 14th century and the USA has produced numerous advances in medicine, energy, computing and so on. So why is it that the trope is still around like this.

I didn't dislike the film but it was really bland. I actually get where Bob is coming from in regards the complete lack of any reasonable research on the part of those involved in creation/production, it literally plays like it was phoned in by someone who read a wired article on it. A wired article that was further distilling the actual facts of the situation down into cool sounding quotes for the sake of that "this is a quoted bit of text in a larger font/different colour" thing.

Too bad, I was excited as hell for this because I'm such a fan of the subject matter. I was hoping Hollywood would do a really interesting thing with transhumanism.

I'm not too disappointed though since my expectations were fairly low simply because Depp is in it.

It's also weird that apparently the terrorists are the good guys. From the trailers I thought it was finally a take on science and technology where the people against it were actually stupid and overeager and that's what caused the insane AI in the first place. But nope. Science bad I guess.

On an unrelated note, it must be terrible to be so utterly and completely wrong about Prometheus without knowing you are so utterly and completely wrong.

grey_space:

Even though I knew you had had watched this recently I was still kinda hoping the you were going to do Amazing Spiderman 2.

Since you hated everything about the first instalment I'm interested in hearing your thoughts about Garfield et al in this one:)

Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn't come out in North America for another two weeks.

And I'm pretty sure most of us can already predict his thoughts on it anyway.

OT: Hadn't even heard of this movie before yesterday, but reviews like this one with all of the fun gags and references are why I still like to watch this show, when Bob isn't hammering on about the modern superhero films.

Ok as a scientist, I defiantly get and am on board with being fed up with the knee jerk reaction that science = mad men playing god. However, I'm getting sick of the opposite knee jerk reaction that science can do no wrong. I don't really think I got that sentiment from Bob but, I know I've seen that as a pretty common reaction to this film.

I defiantly agree with Under_your_bed that Deus Ex: HR did a pretty good job of exploring trans-humanism without devolving into either extreme.

@Moviebob

Please, please stop putting subtitles in your titles with your movie reviews. I feel that if people want the opinion that you're sharing, they'll actually watch the review. Instead, by giving out the overall opinion in the title, there really seems to be no reason to bother watching the actual review.

Captcha: Better with Lunch.

shrekfan246:

Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn't come out in North America for another two weeks.

And I'm pretty sure most of us can already predict his thoughts on it anyway.

OT: Hadn't even heard of this movie before yesterday, but reviews like this one with all of the fun gags and references are why I still like to watch this show, when Bob isn't hammering on about the modern superhero films.

I...did not know that information thanks! Yes we probably won't need a crystal ball to forsee it but I was stil looking forward to it guess I'll have to wait a couple of weeks.

As a reviewer I may occasionally disagree with Bob but I do continually find his videos entertaining.

The problem with AI's and brain uploading's and generally the Singularity's treatment in movies, is that any representation of them that is even vaguely similar to Vinge's, Kurzweil's and Yudkowsky's actual scientific theories, would be terrible entertainment material.

Deathfish15:
@Moviebob

Please, please stop putting subtitles in your titles with your movie reviews. I feel that if people want the opinion that you're sharing, they'll actually watch the review. Instead, by giving out the overall opinion in the title, there really seems to be no reason to bother watching the actual review.

.

I get the feeling this is less Bob and more the website, Yahtzee's Zero Punctuation video's seem to be going in the same direction.

Also got a nice Chuckle at the Daniel Bryan Mario thing.

I liked Virtuosity! When I was 15. And I haven't seen it in nearly 20 years. So I have no idea if it holds up to any scrutiny whatsoever beyond the "Hey, that was cool" criteria that movies like Starship Troopers also pass.

Alterego-X:
The problem with AI's and brain uploading's and generally the Singularity's treatment in movies, is that any representation of them that is even vaguely similar to Vinge's, Kurzweil's and Yudkowsky's actual scientific theories, would be terrible entertainment material.

Yeah...it'd basically be: "And then the Singularity happened and everything was awesome."

Now, if they made an Eclipse Phase movie...

See, Eclipse Phase is fantastic, because it takes place in a universe where (trans)humanity is immortal, no longer needs to use money, can transform their bodies at a drop of the hat, are super-humanly strong, fast, intelligent and only need to sleep 4 hours a day...

...but at the same time, the Earth is radioactive wasteland, 95% of the human race died during the Singularity event, and every alien race out there is still smarter and more advanced than us (so much so that they're basically gods). Oh, and all the awesome uses of uploading and backups and egocasting are also perverted by greedy bastards to enslave people utterly.

Also, it has sentient octopi gangsters.

image

Wow it sounds like the machine cult from 40K wrote this movie

Quick, Jim, we need a Virtuosity Movie Defense Force episode, stat!

I love that movie.

At least we can look forward to the Machine coming out next week.

Alterego-X:
The problem with AI's and brain uploading's and generally the Singularity's treatment in movies, is that any representation of them that is even vaguely similar to Vinge's, Kurzweil's and Yudkowsky's actual scientific theories, would be terrible entertainment material.

how so because I'm not entirely familiar with how Vinge, Kurzweil and Yudkowsky see the Singularity. My understanding of the Singularity is that computing and technology progresses to a point that AI's can be built that are indistinguisable from man and that technologies that help build up to that point like enhanced neurological based processing and a higher understanding of the Human body and brain could allow for implantation of AI, robotic parts and the like into humans such that the line between man and machine is gone.

I say that if a movie wants to explore the Singularity, it should not be an action movie, It should be a drama between characters as they debate the movie and the activation/destruction of the AI base system occurs at the end as a sort of culmination of dialogue

Funny how Bob calls the female scientist bullshit out here but lauded that nonsense in Splice.

Also ha, implying Nolan's smart/competent.

So is that one chick from Ironmans 3 always a super scientist?

Also Mrs. Doubtfire 2 is all a convoluted ploy to get Mara Wilson spazzing out on twitter about how she rightfully doesn't want to be in the movie.

This movie is about 20 years behind it's own 'clever' premise and about 50 years behind being anything approaching original. Anything that is this narrowly about "The singularity" will always be compared in my mind to 1995's "Ghost in the Shell" and many other genuinely intelligent movies and books since the 1960s written by people like Phillip K Dick.

In short, as technology gets ever closer to actually being conceivable to achieve this so the ideas underlying get ever more widely known. Its the level of someone unironically making an "Evils of dungeons and dragons" movie in 2014. Bob is right, this movie is made by people who are fucking inept dumb-asses.

I now exclusively get my movie news from one static 3 second frame on Movie Bob's post-credits scenes. And there are two post-credits scenes! What is this? Marvel?!

But seriously, how great would it be to have another Movie Bob segment commenting on movie news. Editorialized news. Kinda like the Big Picture, but shorter, lighter skits on movie news and buzz showcasing Bob's position on the thing. Movie Bob would have to clone himself... with nanobots...

I LOVE that he used Peggy Hill as an example of someone who's unaware of how stupid they are! XD Also, I saw a trailer for this movie before Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and not to spoil anything, but there's a scene in the middle of that movie that's very reminiscent of this movie, only it's not trying to take itself so seriously. :P

Don't sit on the fence their Bob! Tell us what you really think. :P

I really enjoy it when Bob rips shit films a new one.

Izanagi009:
My understanding of the Singularity is that computing and technology progresses to a point that AI's can be built that are indistinguisable from man and that technologies that help build up to that point like enhanced neurological based processing and a higher understanding of the Human body and brain could allow for implantation of AI, robotic parts and the like into humans such that the line between man and machine is gone.

Yeah, that's mostly Kurzweil.

Here is a summary of the three as Yudkowsky sees it.

Basically, Kurzweil is relying more on the inevitability of exponential technological progress (such as Moore's Law on a larger scale), in which the development of transhuman bodies can be one big symbolic watershed moment.

Vinge puts more emphasis on this exact "Event Horizon". He is the one who first named singularity, specifically to emphasize that beyond this line, the old rules are incomprehensible, as superhuman intelligences are different in kind from us, and can upset old trends.

Yudkowsky would agree with Vinge on the part of the event horizon changing the rules, but specifically predict that superhuman intelligence would cause an "intelligence explosion", a positive feedback loop that would rapidly exploit all physical limits of increasing itself.

Izanagi009:

I say that if a movie wants to explore the Singularity, it should not be an action movie, It should be a drama between characters as they debate the movie and the activation/destruction of the AI base system occurs at the end as a sort of culmination of dialogue

That could work well as a small scale indie movie set in one room, like The Man from Earth.

Namewithheld:

Yeah...it'd basically be: "And then the Singularity happened and everything was awesome."

Or "And then the singularity happened and our bodies' molecules were all transformed into paperclips."

There are plenty of possibilities for an AI to fail to acknowledge the value of human life, and there would be no shooting war against bipedal skeletonesque robot soldiers, it would be over pretty quick with nanotechnology.

One possible interesting premise, is if the superintelligence starting the process is just *mostly* right. It was written by humans with an intent to be a responsible, human-friendly, life-valuing singularity AI, and it is supposed to help humans, but one vital order is missing.

There was a great story about that, Friendship is Optimal. It TECHNICALLY starts out as a My Little Pony fanfiction about a MLP MMO's AI reaching sentinence and applying it's original programming to the whole world, but ends up as something of a subtle cosmic horror.

"Dr. Tonto Sparrowhands" is my new stage name

So dumb premise, bad execution, high opinion of itself, and NANOBOTS?

This movie appears to be a somehow worse version of Chriton's "Sphere"

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