Extropy: The Movie (in Transhuman-o-vision)

Fri, 1 Aug 1997 13:19:46 -0400 (EDT)

Anders Sandberg wrote:

> > I've been trying to do the exact same thing. The problems I find are:
> > to be optimistic and still hold the attention of todays audience (who
> > been made to believe genetic engineering will create mosters and AI's
> > eat their children) and trying to present highly complex, world changing
> > technologies in a way the audience would understand.
> Exactly. Tonight the Lawnmover Man will air on swedish television. I
> like the film, it contains several transhuman themes and the graphics
> from Xaos Inc was brilliant when it was made. Still, to tell the
> story the movie *needs* something gone wrong (at least they did not
> use the silly Star Trek idea that superintelligence always leads to
> amoralit - the nasty men in suits wrecked the whole experiment).

Try to avoid The Lawnmower Man 2, they decided to go down the route of "VR's
now so good it looks just like real life" and the whole film consists of kids
pretending to fly in front of a blue screen.

> Maybe one way of getting tension into a basically transhuman movie
> may be to have a conflict between two reasonable points of view,
> instead of "good guys vs. villains", like (say) transhumanists
> wishing to expand human potential and bring life to the universe, and
> environmentalists who want to heal the world and live in harmony with
> nauture (the movie could end with the transhumans moving off-planet
> as "Children of the Sun", leaving it for the "Children of the
> Earth"), but I think most companies would prefer the tried and tested
> black vs. white theme.

The best way to get a point across is to ignore black and white, and go for a
nice fuzzy grey. Several themes have crossed my mind:

1. A rebellion against all these 'American President saves the world'
movies. Instead have a time travelling assassin download himself into
someone's body with the mission of killing the president because of his
opposition to anarchy. This could lead to a great opportunity of showing the
government through the eyes of someone who's seen better.

2. Have a couple of people thaw out of cryonic suspension and go on to
explore the wonderful possibilities of the posthuman world. Keep the
audience in awe of the possibilities and they might not notice the lack of
good vs. evil. And then, just when they think it's all over interrupt the
credits with scientific news on actually progress towards these possibilities
(You could also throw in a natural disaster, get them all working towards a

> Another way of showing transhuman themes in an interesting way is to
> look at their human consequences. What about a movie about a family
> where a daughter is uploaded after an accident, something like the
> typical movie where the daughter is handicapped and people struggle
> to adapt and understand the situation?

Not exactly the kind of groundbreaking film to alter the perception of the
world though (which I think is what we're aiming for here).