Building Gods (2006)
by Ken Gumbs
Ken Gumbs takes a different approach in his documentary about the singularity (when machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence). This film by Ken Gumbs tackles the issue of pending greater-than-human artificial intelligence and the possible ramifications. Different individuals with different backgrounds are interviewed on the subject, including a theologian, a philosopher, a brain builder and a cyborg. A wide spectrum of topics are discussed, including trans-humanism, mind-machine mergers, uploading, and artificial super-intelligence. Even De Garis admitted that humans and machines may evolve and merge in concert, thus avoiding this kind of sociological split. He referred to the adherents of this middle way as the ‘cyborgians,’ but seemed embarrassed to have to say it. A middle way, after all, would ruin his alarmist non-normative SF action drama vision of the future. While Building Gods certainly painted the future in a gray and ambiguous light, it was not explicitly anti-trans-humanist. At one point, a blurb on the screen noted that, “Trans-humanists advocate the ethical advancements of technology.” For those familiar with these concepts, the video will be interesting and provocative; for those new to these concepts, the video may come across as quite frightening and alarmist. Most film makers would spend half of the movie predicting when it could happen, Ray Kurzweil style. Gumbs skips that and gets right to the big questions. What is life? What is intelligence? What does it mean to be human? What is a soul? How will human society deal with the difference between those who go cyborg and those who don’t? What use will super intelligent machines have for humans? Fascinating stuff.