In this day and age, spending time ‘online’ is the norm. With Britain’s spending in excess of 20 hours per week plugged into the world wide web, and with industry analysts predicting that the number of networked ‘things’ (such as phones, wearable tech, tablets and even cars) will rise from 4.9 billion (now) to over 20 billion (2020), the craving to be ‘plugged in’ to the world is not going anywhere.
But what does being plugged in actually mean? How will we interact with the global digital network in 2020? More YouTube clips? More memes? Use of new social media channels? Uploading yourself to live forever as a floating head on a television screen with access to all the knowledge in the world…?
It is exactly that last point which is explored in the 2014 science fiction movie Transcendence. Directed by Wally Pfister and starring Johnny Depp, Rebecca Gall, Kate Mara, Cillian Murphy and (of course) Morgan Freeman, the $100 million movie sees Johnny Depp transform into a networked floating head/computer, capable of living forever with all the knowledge on the internet. The movie covers various aspects relating to a future where this can happen. From very famous scientists to radiation poisoning to a group of activists who want to see the idea of uploading yourself into a network remain science fiction – this movie has questionable science…
To investigate the genuine scientific state of a future were we upload ourselves to a network/being infinitely knowledgeable, the ethical implications for society as a whole and the big question of ‘would you be willing to upload yourself?’, we are joined by Professor Mark Slevin, Head of Healthcare Science Research Centre at Manchester Metropolitan University.
After you have heard this month’s podcast and find yourself interested by the future of Artificial Intelligence, make sure you check out the episode ‘AI: More Human than Human?’ – investigating the cult classic Blade Runner.
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