Transcendence

To my fellow classmates,

I believe that the movie Transcendence would be an excellent addition to this class. This science-fiction thriller encompasses many of our core topics regarding the relationship between technology and the senses. Therefore, I strongly encourage for this film to be incorporated in future material as I am convinced that many meaningful discussions will take place.

The film revolves around the actions of world-renown Artificial Intelligence researcher, Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp). Along with his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and confidant Max Waters (Paul Bettany), Will has dedicated his entire life in building a sentient computer in order to reach and discover technological singularity. His project is put to a halt when he is poisoned by an extremist group called “Revolutionary Independence From Technology” (R.I.F.T). Evelyn and Max are shocked to hear that Will only has one month left to live. Evelyn struggles to let Will go and ends up connecting Will’s consciousness to the A.I. computer. The transfer is successful and later Will’s soul is spread throughout the Internet, giving him access to unlimited information. His increasing knowledge enables him to become more powerful and controlling. He then begins to alter human biology causing Evelyn and the government to question Will’s motives on “making the world a better place.”

This work would allow the class to reflect on the rightful role that technology should play in our lives. Similar to the discussion on the film Her, the class would be able to deliberate and talk about whether or not the power and knowledge provided by technology is humane and acceptable. However, I believe that a more debatable discussion can occur, as this film remains neutral on the subject of artificial intelligence by brilliantly portraying the strengths and weaknesses of both sides of the argument. This allows the class to attain a personal and individual stance on the topic that will result for more thought-provoking discussions to take place. Furthermore, the film also ties in well with our unit on logos, pathos, and ethos. The film uses rhetorical appeals to help strengthen its argument that causes the audience to either agree or disagree with its point. Therefore, viewing the movie would be a great exercise to investigate and analyze the incorporations of these rhetorical devices.

This film would not only be very entertaining to watch, but would also greatly contribute to this class. The class would be able to discuss and analyze both the content and the portrayal of the movie and relate it back to many of the topics covered in the course.

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