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The concept of technological singularity is inevitably linked to the world of science fiction. In fact, the term itself was created by one of the most important mathematicians in modern history, John Von Neuman (recognized as one of the fathers of cybernetics), when it was popularized by the science-fiction writer Vernor Vinge. Singularity is today much more than a likely scenario from novels and movies. The possibility that thanks to artificial intelligence, machines will one day be capable of self-improvement and spawn a generation of computers far superior to human intelligence, is now feasible thanks to the development of exponential technologies.
The date when singularity will become our constant companion depends on which expert or futurologist you listen to. However, one thing all the predictions agree on is that it will be sooner rather than later, and certainly in the 21st century, making it perhaps be the most important century in the history of our existence: the time when humanity transcends its biological nature thanks to the development of technology.
But Kurzweil is not the only one to make predictions about the future. In the movies, and in science fiction in all its formats (novels, comics and more), numerous theories have also been developed on the scenarios in which we might find ourselves living tomorrow. Here we choose five movies in which singularity poses different challenges to human beings in their coexistence with machines.
I can't believe they got John Cusack to do something this bad and just this cheaply made. "Singularity" is awful on pretty much every level. It's a complete bore, has horrendous performances and looks like a low budget student film. The production of this is way more interesting than anything in this movie.
If you're watching SINGULARITY--a film that manages to rip off BLADE RUNNER, I ROBOT, THE MATRIX, THE HUNGER GAMES, THE TERMINATOR, and TRANSFORMERS in its first 15 minutes--and start to get the funny feeling that John Cusack isn't in the same movie as everyone else, that's because he's not. He's been Raymond Burr'd into what was formerly called AURORA, a shelved, low-budget Swiss sci-fi movie shot back in 2013 and later reworked by Voltage Pictures, with new scenes--confined to one set--shot in Los Angeles in 2017 with Cusack and veteran character actor Carmen Argenziano, who actually *was* in AURORA. While the exploitation enthusiast in me finds it amusing that this kind of chicanery still occasionally goes on in 2017, the other part of me is seriously concerned about the state of John Cusack's career. He doesn't look very good either.
Astonishingly derivative. Offensively bland. John Cusack is literally in his own movie (his single-set scenes were reportedly filmed four years after principle photography wrapped). If the concept, themes, and ideas weren't trite as shit... there might actually be some entertainment value here. Sadly, it's just another low-budget sci-fi disappointment with Cusack on the cover. "Singularity" is a GARBAGE film.
This is a bad movie with bad acting and a silly story. The movie is not worth seeing. The behind the scenes story is far more interesting. Most of the movie was filmed in 2013. Movie sat on the shelf for years. Then somebody came up with the idea to create a new character and stick that character into the already filmed movie. Then they got John Cusack to play that character. Cusack spends the entire movie pretty much looking at the previous footage...and making faces.
The opening section, which lays out the moral and logistical details of Casi's world and features a hard-boiled voice-over narration that never returns, is the most engrossing, because it makes us feel as if we're about to see the kind of movie that rarely gets made anymore: a New York drama about idealism being crushed beneath the weight of corruption, apathy, and self-interest. The more the script (co-written by David Matthews) focuses on the details of stealing the drug money, the less special the film becomes. There's a lot of wasted motion, and when the story careens towards the final stretch of its 93-minute running time, you can't help noticing that Cooke's character never added up to much, and that we never quite felt the hero's disillusionment and anger as keenly as we needed to. (This is a rare movie that needed more time to breathe; seemingly important elements, such as the gangster Hasidim entangled with Skrein's character, appear to have been cut for pacing.)
Sci fi is supposed to raise the biggest questions, but the biggest question Singularity raises is what the hell is John Cusack doing in it? Apparently the movie was filmed in Eastern Europe a couple of years ago, with scenes involving Cusack added much later. And it shows.
Elias only interacts with his brother Damien, somewhere in their tower block. With his slightly wayward curls and dark rimmed glasses, I originally thought he looked like a dapper, middle-aged Manchester record shop owner, and then I remembered High Fidelity and realised I was projecting onto all those excellent movies Cusack has been involved in over the years.
Douglas Laman is a life-long movie fan, writer and Rotten Tomatoes approved critic whose writing has been published in outlets like The Mary Sue, Fangoria, The Spool, and ScarleTeen. Residing both on the Autism spectrum and in Texas, Doug adores pugs, showtunes, the Wes Anderson movie Fantastic Mr. Fox, and any music by Carly Rae Jepsen.
The movie, budgeted at $175 million, was due to begin shooting in March 2012 in Montreal, and Emmerich was due to read with actors this week as it worked towards a May 2013 release but those plans have changed as Emmerich has decided to work on the script.
This was one of those movies that in retrospect never seemed like a good idea, although at one point it was one of the hottest scripts in Hollywood - if only someone had sat the screenwriter down to watch Lawnmower Man first in hope that he decided against it.
"I am a survivor. But I am not alone." Voltage Pictures has released an official trailer for a super weird, out-of-nowhere sci-fi film called Singularity, in reference to the theoretical "singularity" moment within computing / technology. John Cusack stars as the CEO of a company that is about to released a "super computer designed to end all wars." Surprise! The computer determines humans must be eradicated, and unleashes an army of robots upon the world. This is less like Transcendence, much more of a Terminator rip-off meets Transformers meets Divergent, or something like that. The cast includes Julian Schaffner, Jeannine Wacker, Eileen Grubba, and Carmen Argenziano. It can also be filed under why-is-John-Cusack-making-such-terrible-movies, since it looks as bad as they come. This is one trailer worth skipping.
I only have one real criticism about the movie, and that's the matter of criticism. There are critics of the Singularity concept featured here, but for the most part, the criticism is about the wisdom or ethics of some of the proposed technologies. I would have liked to see some basic challenges to the feasibility of the technologies. In particular, most of the talking heads on the film took for granted that we're experiencing exponential technological growth, but there's a strong case to be made that there isn't.
Ray: ... I am making a movie based on the book Singularity is Near. It has an A-line documentary, and a B-line story. And in the B-line story, I have an AI that tries to pass the [Turing] test in 2029. It does not actually succeed in 2029, but she goes on to try again.
Ray. Yes. The movie is called "The Singularity is Near: A True Story About the Future." The A-line documentary has me interviewing 20 big thinkers on their ideas about the future, and their ideas on my ideas, people like Marvin Minsky, and Alvin Toffler and others. And then the B-line is an actual narrative story illustrating the ideas.
A forum thread on the Immortality Institution website has a few more details about the movie, including some other participants (legal scholar Alan Dershowitz, director Anthony Waller) and even the movie poster.
"I wrote it for my wife," says screenwriter Jack Paglen. After reading about the Singularity, producer Annie Marter, a former studio executive, approached Paglen with the seed idea. "We wanted to make a movie out of this notion of man and computer merging in a way that's original, intelligent and emotional," says Marter. Paglen had in-house inspiration, using his wife, a computer programmer working in artificial intelligence, as both a model for the character of Evelyn and as an in-house science consultant, shouting questions to her as he wrote in the other room. Marter and Paglen's high-concept pitch quickly caught the attention of Wally Pfister, Christopher Nolan's longtime cinematographer, who soon signed on to make Transcendence his directorial debut.
The moviegoing public has seen some amazing images courtesy of Pfister, from Heath Ledger as the Joker leaning out of a police car window like a happy dog in The Dark Knight to the sharply etched Escheresque buildings morphing into each other in Inception. His visual mastery here takes on a new lyricism, his touch with actors is more human than Nolan's, and his influences are golden: Transcendence references 1970s-era deep-think sci-fi, from Cronenberg body horror to Michael Crichton techno-thrillers. Pfister was drawn to the project because of the contemporary subject matter in Paglen's original story.
This is an important ontological question to consider. "We can upload his consciousness like a song or a movie," says Evelyn in the film, but the problem is, we (and the characters) have no idea what that movie or song will do once it's uploaded. "If you miss one thing, one childhood memory, how do you know what you will be dealing with?" Bettany's character replies.