Transcendent Man: A Conversation About the Future
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3
Where: Green Hills Regal Cinema
Picture an American Indian circa 1700 contemplating an iPod — an object for which nothing in the observer's experience or understanding of the world provides a clue to its function, use or existence. In possibly as few as 30 years, that's us facing a Cronenbergian future in which the division between flesh and machinery — and the soul and programming code — is fading fast. The maverick intellectual and futurist Ray Kurzweil terms this prospect “the Singularity,” meaning a moment projected in the future when we literally cannot imagine what is technologically possible.
Such prospects once included events like this one — a live panel discussion broadcast in theaters, in which Kurzweil joins thinkers such as theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Segway inventor Dean Kamen and Deepak Chopra (not to mention a celebrity phalanx ranging from Al Gore to Suzanne Somers). Besides the free exchange of wildly theoretical ideas, the appeal here is the company of Kurzweil, a compelling figure who maintains his biochemistry like a Japanese garden and pursues artificial intelligence and immortality with Ahab-like fixity of purpose.