“THE FUTURE OF WORK AND DEATH”— Technology, Work and Death


Technology, Work and Death

Amos Lassen

Sean Blacknell and Wayne Walsh bring us a provocative documentary in which worldwide experts in the fields of futurology, anthropology, neuroscience and philosophy consider the impact of technological advances on the two certainties of human life: work and death.

“The Future of Work and Death” looks at the exponential rate at which mankind creates technologies to ease the process of living. Then as we set out on the next phase of advancement with automation and artificial intelligence driving the transformation from man to machine, what we see here is a realistic look into the future of human life.

The documentary includes experts on this such as author Will Self, futurist Gray Scott, transhumanist Zoltan Istvan, and neuroscientist Rudolph Tanzi. Not only do we learn something here, the film often surprising, and always engaging.

We hear a dialogue that is as exponentially terrifying and increasingly utopian. Not only do filmmakers have to traverse a complicated narrative concerning the implications of technological advancement, but they also balance the arguments in terms of outlooks, themes and prejudices.
 We would think that a film concerning work and death would seems to be morbid but these are just themes that consume our lives. We spend huge amounts of time doing the former and apprehensively awaiting the latter, so much so that a film about these concerns will not only find its place with a large audience, it is also essential viewing. This is a film that is fervent and a thriller. It uses talking heads, animations, techno music, archival footage and much more to give us a collage of computer-aged conundrums. The main threat is that technology is advancing at such a rate that humanity is ill prepared and dangerously incapable of handling such a responsibility. Putting this into the everyday context of work and death, we get quite a complex and fascinating film.

 Both filmmakers freely admit to being frustrated by other attempts to tell a story such as this and that such films didn’t ask the questions which they wanted to hear. We soon understand that we are a part of an enormous conversation in which the result is a forceful film that delivers a coherent commentary on one of the most apparent yet ignored subject matters of our times. The frenetic pace and short run time is the perfect complement to a story about technology and life and it gives an urgency to it that is thought-provoking and compelling and the film allows for the inevitable philosophical debates which will ensue. Like all good documentaries, the film does not attempt to answer the questions it posits; instead it lets us think about what we have seen. Very few conclusions are drawn and even among  the scientific, anthropological, futurist speakers who appear on screen, there is no sense of a specific thread that emerges, except that we all need to start thinking more about it this. The film does an incredible job of challenging us. engaging.

The film charts human developments from Homo habilis, past the Industrial Revolution, to the digital age and beyond as it looks at the shocking exponential rate at which mankind has managed to create technologies to ease the process of living. As we embark on the next phase of our adaptation, with automation and Artificial Intelligence signifying the complete move from man to machine, this film asks what the implications are for the human purposeful fulfillment, making money and ageless immortality.

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