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Redefining Immortality

(Source: Wikipedia)

(Source: Wikipedia)

Transcendence will project on movie screens all around the United States today. As a science-fiction thriller, first-time director (and acclaimed cinematographer) Wally Pfister and his all-star cast (Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman, Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Cillian Murphy, Paul Bettany) will pose surprisingly relevant questions about the current state of mankind and womankind and whether racing on the autobahn of developing increasingly personal technologies and building machines with only “pure upside” is the road we should be taking. Or, at the very least, at the speed innovators appear to driving their savvy imaginations in this day and age.

Can (or should) humans live forever, consciously, inside a computer?

The term “the grid” is taking shape and evolving in ways many of us either didn’t think was possible or were, quite frankly, fearful of. Once this mainframe is built (or perhaps it already is), is it even possible to dismantle it?

There are infinite questions to be pondered from this movie and other science-fiction thrillers. For instance: What does artificial intelligence look like today? What is its true reach? Is that reach good or bad?

Some may think that technology is tinkered with in basement facilities with pale walls, computers, wires and varying degrees of limitations. But what if the concept of “the cloud” is as unlimited and open as its sounds?

This blog has written about technology before, including its benefits and drawbacks. Without seeing Transcendence, an opinion cannot rightly be rendered. But this film presents a couple hours to escape into a creative and entertaining story of artificial intelligence and the pursuit of advanced technology on a Friday or Saturday night, as well as to take a moment to pause and reflect on the subject matter.

How long until we are in the “age of transcendence” as defined by Pfister and Co.? What does this mean for society as individuals, as well as the collective? Is the infinite space above and all around us becoming finite and controlled without us knowing? Should it be if it’s guided by a genius?

There’s one way to find out and it’s called Transcendence, playing in a theater near you.

Maybe we should ask Siri about transcendence…

The Infinite Possibilities of the Unknown

Two things:

First, Matthew McConaughey has officially transitioned from a charming romantic comedy staple to a character actor that explores deep, complex and sometimes morally conflicting terrain and alleyways. To clarify, his transition is not necessarily permanent and is somewhat representative of a Game Show portfolio. He can pick Door #1 (serious), Door #2 (comedy) or Door #3 (sports/drama).

It’s not a bad hallway to walk through each day as an actor. However, it’s not yet clear which door he’s built or walked into with his most recent adventure with a relatively unknown, independent British filmmaker…

Some of his roles recently (Mud, Dallas Buyer’s Club, The Wolf of Wall Street) surely have taken McConaughey into new levels of the unknown. The same likely goes for some of his longtime fans. Will these more serious character portrayals shine a new light on a before darkened corner in the actor’s study to reveal a gold envelope containing a decorated card stock with his name written on it?

Time will tell…

Speaking of time, the second note today involves the recent release of a trailer for director Christopher Nolan’s latest mind-bender: Interstellar. From Memento (psychological) to Inception (dreaming) to The Dark Knight trilogy (pain, fear, chaos, belief), Nolan and Co. (& Syncopy of course) has now entered the world of science fiction with Interstellar.

Here is the first glimpse:

The question isn’t whether or not¬†Matthew McConaughey can successfully propel himself into a new horizon in the stars that leads him to an Oscar, but rather if Christopher Nolan will have a good reason to invite him on another crazy road trip in the future, as the director tends to do with a select group of actors and actresses.

The better question today is will you take the ultimate journey to explore the unknown with McConaughey one year from now?

“How does somebody know what they want if they’ve never even seen it?”

Steve Jobs changed the world forever with his innovative products, released as if they were all continuously moving along an assembly line for him to pick up at his leisure. His business savvy has also been celebrated and assuredly studied by aspiring businessmen, businesswomen and big thinking dreamers in their basements and even parent’s garages. The iMac computer is not owned solely by Americans, but by adults and children all around the world. And not just this Apple product either. Terms like iPod, iPhone, iPad, iMac and Macbook Pro are household names. Techies and millions of fawning fans alike listened to his every word whenever he casually strolled onto that plain stage in northern California with a wall-sized projection screen behind, clothed in his trademarked look: blue jeans, New Balance sneakers and his low-key black turtleneck. In hand was his next big device to make its grand premiere, ready for an exhilarating public test run.

Rightly so, he is admired. In this age of increasing globalization, it was nice to say when he was alive that, ‘he’s one of ours….he’s an American innovator.’ It’s still nice to say. Walter Isaacson’s Behemoth of a book, “Steve Jobs,” details his life and includes just about any bit of information anyone would like to know about the man and technological icon. A movie is set to be adapted from this book by famed screenwriter Aaron Sorkin for a movie called, “Steve Jobs.” For those who are drawn to Jobs’ life and career, love dramatic stories as portrayed in cinema but can’t wait for this film to be released sometime down the road, they are in luck.

Lights. Camera. Genius.

“That ’70s Show,” “My Boss’s Daughter” and the cult classic “Dude, Where’s My Car?” offer a snapshot of the portfolio of the man chosen to fill the soles of some of the most famous New Balance shoes in history. Ashton Kutcher, the director, writers and cast are preparing to premiere the major motion picture, “jOBS” at the Sundance Film Festival tonight (Nationwide April 19th on Apple’s 37th Anniversary). Many may scoff at the idea of Michael Kelso portraying such a serious and beloved figure. However, before passing judgement, first take a look at a side-by-side comparison:

steve-ashton-apple

(www.sellcell.com)

Now come the vital questions that will surely be asked before and after the premiere: did director Joshua Michael Stern present the right details, milestones and key decisions to appropriately define the gigantic life of Steve Jobs through his multiple decades of leading Apple onto the top-shelf of the technological world? What overall theme and events did they decide to drive the story with? Is it accurate?

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (“The Woz”) recently shared his reaction of the first released clip of “jOBS” as seen below to the website Gizmodo. “Not close…we never had such interaction and roles…I’m not even sure what it’s getting at…personalities are very wrong although mine is closer…don’t forget that my purpose was inspired by the values of the Homebrew Computer Club along with ideas of the value of such machines and Steve J. wasn’t around and didn’t attend the club so he was the one learning about such social impact of the future,” Wozniak said.

Here is the aforementioned clip:

One thing that can be agreed upon is that the final retort from Kutcher/Jobs excitedly foreshadows the empire the two of them would soon begin to build. It’s probably safe to say that this clip alone will generate a significant buzz of curiosity about the movie.

Interestingly, Alexis Kleinman of The Huffington Post recently noted something very insightful about the clip. “With the premiere of the Steve Jobs biopic “jOBS” quickly approaching this month, its creators are doing something Apple never would: Pumping up excitement by offering a sneak-peak.” It’s certainly something to ponder…

Without seeing this movie in its entirety, it’s impossible to declare whether or not the script is misleading throughout or simply taking a little bit of artistic licensing, which does happen in Hollywood, for better and for worse. This could be the only hiccup or it could be first drip in a waterfall of inaccuracies. Until the lights go down and the movie is premiered, no fan/critic will know. The question is with his true life so fascinating and inspiring, why has such a step been taken for this important one minute scene? A few fortunate people will likely discover that truth tonight.

I suppose that like any Apple product though, there will be the occasional bug. Maybe “jOBS” is just life imitating art?

Come April 19th, will you give it a Friday night?