Futurist Kevin Kelly—who is no stranger to wild technological extrapolations, as in his 2010 book What Technology Wants (Viking)—thinks that Kurzweil is probably right about where the technology is heading but far too optimistic about how soon immortality and other dreams will be realized. In the film he describes Kurzweil as "more a poet than a mechanic," and adds that Kurzweil's unswerving commitment to his ideas makes him a kind of "modern-day prophet…that's wrong."
Kelly's assessment may be the canniest of any in the film. Kurzweil is devoutly sure that the angels of exponential progress will triumph over all doubt. He intends to see nanotech-embodied intelligence expanding outward, inhabiting every speck of matter in the cosmos until the universe itself springs into consciousness. His eye is on the long game, the infinitely long game that he intends to witness personally. Those critics who join him in eternity will come to realize that he was the one who saw it first and best—a singular distinction, if you will.
"Does God exist?" Kurzweil asks rhetorically in the film. "I would say, 'Not yet.'" The wittiness of the joke almost hides the immodesty at its core.
(During February, Kurzweil and Ptolemy will be on tour with Transcendent Man, with screenings in New York City, San Jose, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Boston, London and Toronto, leading up to the film's release on iTunes and Movies on Demand on March 1. A DVD release is scheduled for May 24. Visit transcendentman.com for details.)