About this project
The film focuses on how future technology could significantly change two major facets of human life; work and death. It explores how AI and technological singularity could be achievable in the next 30 years - how job obsolescence/technological unemployment could consequently occur and how immortality may not be a thing of science fiction. Will we work, age or even die in the future? Is a paradigm shift on its way - how will it fare with the largely impoverished global populace - will it transfigure and elevate us, or, will entropy ensue?
Will it always be work - consume - die?
“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” - Isaac Asimov
Like life itself, work and death - for better or worse - are two features of the human experience that are thrust upon us. To put it plainly or to put it pejoratively, the average human life can be abridged to work – consume – die. Could this all change in the next few generations? Could these imminent technologies redesign what it is to be human – redesigning our relationship with reality? Will they look favorably on the human psyche?
Paradoxically, humans have a tendency to be both creative and destructive.
Unless you are born into affluence or aristocracy, unless you cast a life of crime or unless you submit yourself to the wild (or the welfare system) – you have to work to survive.
Whether you enjoy your work or not, whether your excavating bauxite mines in Bangladesh or performing a coronary bypass in Birmingham – the robots are coming and they’ll do it all for free.
The second machine age is nigh and as AI soon encroaches onto the workforce landscape, its no longer just brawn the machines will replace, but brainpower. Many professions will be at risk.
But, could job obsolescence/technological unemployment be a positive thing – isn’t the absence of perfunctory jobs a good thing as fewer people are confined to menial work - could it eliminate wage-slavery even? The average person spends 65% of their waking life at work, sometimes purely out of financial obligation - not to mention the 4 billion people on the planet subsisting on less than a quid a day. How would it affect developing nations?
Do the forecasts of imminent AI have any substance? What are the social and geopolitical implications? Could it lead to utter disorder, thickening the divide between rich and poor?
Does a working paid job absorb and degrade the mind?
There’s always suicide of course, but for most of us we wont have a say in when we snuff it. Particularly where non-communicable diseases are concerned – many of which are precipitated by senescence such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
In recent years there have been scientific breakthroughs in our understanding of what causes ageing and what stifles it. Its not just biological longevity that could be achieved however - it may well be technologically possible to replicate consciousness and effectively live forever without your ‘cumbersome’ carbon body.
But is the pursuit of ending ageing or even immortality morally defensible or even worthwhile? How will population be effected and social economics? Will these advancements be a first world privilege?
Is death a fly in the ointment; is it a problem that needs fixing? Could life lose its quiddity without ageing or without death - or could the opposite be true? Is it not incumbent on us to end ageing?
Will we have ultimate control over our lives in the future – plateauing peak health and/or electing the time of our death? Wouldn’t you prefer a calculated, painless surrender to death or given the choice would you want to live forever?
All these issues and much more are addressed in the documentary.
FEATURED IN THE DOCUMENTARY (so far)
The handsome minds of;
Dr Ian Pearson – Futurologist
Prof Murray Shanahan – Cognitive Roboticist
Will Self – Writer and Prof of Contemporary Thought
Aubrey De Grey – Biomedical Gerontologist
Ken Gemes - Philosopher
Michael Foley - Writer
Dr Peter Cochrane – Futurist & Entrepreneur
David Pearce – Philosopher
Prof Steve Fuller –Sociologist
Dr Stuart Armstrong – AI Researcher
Prof Jon Harris – Bioethicist
LIMITED EDITION MOVIE PRINT!! All backers who give £65 and over get this signed 11''x14'' print.
WE NEED SUPPORT FOR:
Over the past 7 months we’ve managed to furnish over 15 hours of fantastic footage from 11 interviews and a modest amount of filler/stock footage. However there are still 7 or 8 persons who’d be integral to the film, most of which work way across the pond in Silicon Valley, also home to some of the worlds leading AI research facilities as well as Google calico and SENS foundation.
We'd also like to drop in on MIT if we can - there are some fantastic projects there that would be invaluable to the film.
It just would not be a thorough piece of documentary journalism without the inclusion of certain preeminent figures and institutions, (naturally, Mr Kurzweil sits at the top of our list) the documentary could take on a half-baked feel without this - the documentary deals with many pertinent issues and we need it to be as inclusive and as professional as possible.
Another point worth mentioning is that the wonderful thing with Kickstarter (providing all goes well) is we remain the producers - when sourcing funding from companies, there is a tendency to have your project watered down and reshaped out of recognition. [We'd like to keep it as INDEPENDENT as possible].
Narration/commentary (of course, ideally someone who has a tidy and/or idiosyncratic baritone-bass voice or just a voice so smooth you could pour it over your pancakes).
We also have other narrative scenes and key additional footage we would like to shoot for the documentary and we'd like to do it well with the best equipment.
A real stone in the shoe is also stock footage - it can sometimes cost up to £100 per second, particularly for niche footage that we are unable to film ourselves.
Animators aren't cheap! A documentary always benefits from the helpful visuals of info graphics and salient animation.
To keep a track on our project; Follow us on Twitter @gadflyuk, Like our Facebook pages:
Please read more below under Risks and challenges!
This is us:
We're very excited to add a new addition to the team in the role as Co-Executive Producer and Futurist Advisor, Gray Scott:
Gray Scott is a futurist, techno-philosopher, writer and artist. He is the founder and editorial director of SeriousWonder.com, and a professional member of The World Future Society. His work has been featured in and interviewed by the The Futurist Magazine, New York Post, Psychology Today, The Star, FOX5 News NY, San Francisco Magazine, H+ Magazine, IEET, Brighter Brains, Media Disruptus, London Futurists, OracleTalk and The One Way Ticket show. Gray lives in NY and is currently also working as the futurist advisor for EMBERS, a forthcoming sci-fi film.
Trailer Music Courtesy of the ©Copyright holder: Rumblefish
Check out the first article that has been written about The Future of Work and Death Documentary on IEET.org by B.J.Murphy.
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Risks and challenges
We have planned this budget meticulously, travel, equipment rental, day rates, a few favors here and there and all that jargon. The main risk however is that someone will beat us to the punch – its become something of an anxiety for us that someone somewhere will soon release a strikingly similar documentary.
A huge challenge will be the filming of narrative footage. It's very costly to get hold of equipment and crew and actors, however, luckily the one with the good looks, (above) the bearded one - he has a few connections from working in the film industry as a runner for a year or so, connections that have already promised to help us out with studio space, lighting, location managers and camera equipment if we reach our goal.
So, really it's all down to you guys! In our spare time, with all the meagre spare change we can muster we’ve been working passionately on this project for over six months now and want to see it near completion. We want to see this documentary, we want you to see this documentary, but frankly we're broke therefore we hope that you find it within your bank accounts to click donate...oh go on, please, please, please….
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