Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World full movie review - Thought-provoking but ultimately limited
The was a small disappointment for me. Wheeling in a long succession of intellectuals and posing philosophically abstract questions at them about the implications of the Internet seems like something that could yield interesting results. In this case it leads almost nowhere.
Boffins and great minds are sometimes a slave to their own sense of purpose and grandeur, always looking to imagine the most incredible eventualities and possibilities regardless of how impossible or possible they are. The people in this documentary are no doubt amazing intellects who have the native IQ to leave myself and the majority of humans dead in the water.
However, it takes an intellectual to sell the idea that the Internet could gain autonomy and want to control us as a species. This is anthropomorphic projection on the grandest Earthly scale.
Werner also employs a deeply foreboding soundtrack of elongated drones and celestial dread to add weight to the scientific poetry and future doomsday predictions of his interviewees. At times you could almost be drawn into this darkening of mood, but then you hear another piece of vague mumbo-jumbo and interlocutory nonsense and chuckle, remembering: it's a documentary by Werner Herzog, which sadly means you are just experiencing his default style.
As well, the question "can the Internet dream of itself?" is so deeply boring and unbound by any objective framework it merely acts as a conceit from which to further ramble on the topic of non- biological sentience (something this film does rather well) and ends up in another cul-de-sac, (like all conceits do).
The area of AI is seemingly in a very strange cultural place right now whereby hitherto rational people are being drawn into imagining a secular religion based around a technological cosmology. Technology is either the devil, God, or both. Either way, the great power it possesses comes from the mundane necessities of our collective lives. Mythologising is fun but really we just want the same things we've always wanted (see Maslow 'hierarchy of needs'). The internet will not change that.
This strange, almost creepy substitution for God in Godless world, or power bigger than ourselves, is silly to watch coming out of intelligent people's mouths. Humans will not sleepwalk into the matrix. We will not eat the apple in the garden of Eden and reach a tipping point between our desire for technological innovation and the rise of AI overlords. This won't happen because humans won't desire it. Even if it was plausible, the road to such an event is not clearly laid out here.
Lastly, moral questions about the effects of technology are useful. This poses some but doesn't go deep enough into them in order to create a basis or first principle to work from. Too much technology is one thing but please explain why. What should we keep and why? What should we discard and why?
Anyway, partially thought-provoking but ultimately limited to thought experiments and conjecture about a future we can only vaguely imagine and will likely not happen.?