BBC – Human 2.0 : creeeeeepy!

So apparently the BBC did a documentary on Transhumansim and the singularity back in 2006 and somehow it managed to slip through my viewing filters without me hearing about it.

I was extremely excited when I did hear about it since it seemed to have as interviewees some of the greats of the topic; Ray Kurzwiel, Henry Markram, Miguel Nicolells and more.

I managed to “find” a place I could get a copy of the documentary and fired it up with much excitement and anticipation.

Unfortunately I was to be greatly disappointed. The documentary spent less time with the likes of Ray Kurzwiel and more time covering the unabomber (there is actually a sentance about how he might be heralded as a “hero” by future generations) and people like Hugo De Garis talking about how “Artilects” will kill us all and laugh while they do it.

The pro-singularity researchers were shown in the worst possible light; with Ray being made to look like a pill popping, twitchy, naive optimist and repeated playing of Seth Lloyds (admitably annoying) nervous laugh over all his segments.

The creepy music played whenever they covered something like peoples minds being simulated on computers and the disturbingly impassive black eyed “future children” playing in a virtual forest all came together to give a wholly freakish image of our possible future with machines.

Now I’ll be the first to be realistic about the future and the fact that it’s not all going to be roses and asimov robots carying our groceries for us while we zoom around in our non polluting jet cars. But seriously? “Artilects” swatting humans like bugs? I’d be interested to see that trick from a simulation being run on a mainframe in a rack mount supercomputer in a lab. Sure it could hack things and make mess all over the internet but hey.. we have 13 year old boys doing that for us now. So arguably the difference would be unnoticeable.

All in all I was exceedingly disapointed with this documentary. I’m all for balanced views on this kind of thing.. and I’ll agree that some of the scientists involved have overly rosy views of the possabilities. But generally people like Kurzwiel deal in facts and numbers for their (usually quite accurate) predictions of technology trends. To put people like De Garis and his “OMG TEH CoMpuTers will EaTs UR minds!” cometary opposite these people is kind of embarrassing for all involved.

I’m afraid I’m having to rate this “F-negative will not watch with again”. You have been warned.

AM