UPDATE: As of December 2017, Morgan Spurlock and Warrior Poets are no longer involved in the production of “The Untitled Human Intelligence Project,” which is now being produced exclusively by Futurism Studios and co-directed by Taryn Southern and Elena Gaby. The original headline of this story, “Academy Award-Nominated Filmmaker’s Next Project? Merging The Human Brain With AI (Updated)” has been updated to reflect this news, as have the third and fourth paragraphs of this story.
Over the last few months, the world’s most prominent innovators have unveiled a host of projects aimed at decoding the brain and augmenting human intelligence. Mark Zuckerberg announced that he is working to make a brain interface that will let people communicate via their thoughts. Bryan Johnson created Kernel and invested $100 million to make our neural code programmable. Just last week, Elon Musk finally unveiled Neuralink, the company he founded to correct traumatic brain injuries and increase human intelligence.
As a result, we are fast entering a new age in humanity, one in which we dictate the course of our own evolution. And thanks to the aforementioned projects, the humans that exist a century from now will likely look little like the humans that are alive today.
“Unlocking the brain is the most consequential advancement in history.” – Bryan Johnson
In order to trace this remarkable stage of evolution, Warrior Poets (the production company founded in 2004 by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Morgan Spurlock) and Futurism Studios started creating a new film, which was to be executive produced by Morgan Spurlock, Jeremy Chilnick, and Taryn Southern.
Currently called “The Untitled Human Intelligence Project,” the feature-length documentary (which is now exclusively being produced by Futurism Studios) will investigate the ways that human intelligence (HI) and artificial intelligence (AI) are evolving, focusing specifically on how future technology might allow us to augment our intelligence in ways previous generations never dreamed.
“Imagine a future where you could eliminate depression without taking a pill, instantly learn a foreign language, or communicate with loved ones telepathically. While this may sound like a sci-fi novel, it may be our not-so-distant future,” says Spurlock, who is directing the film. Of course, such developments come with a host of ethical and theoretical questions that will need to be answered.
A new era in biology, one in which we have everything from cognitive enhancement to the restoration of motor function in paralyzed patients, prompts a number of compelling questions. For example, if we can ameliorate depression, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other disabilities, can our capacity to love, feel empathy, and cooperate also be improved? If so, by how much? How do we overcome issues related to wealth inequalities and ensure that all people are able to benefit from human augmentation? In a world of cyborgs, what does it mean to be human?
The film will interrogate and attempt to answer these most pressing questions—capturing the evolution of AI and HI and giving audiences a glimpse of what the connected evolution of these two intelligences will mean for humanity.
Unlike Hollywood dystopias, which are bathed in Terminator-style unsubstantiated fears of AI, the documentary will be rooted in commentary from experts in neuroscience and engineering, providing an honest look at what researchers and innovators working in the field have to say about AI and the future of humanity.
Johnson’s company, Johnson’s company, Kernel, will be among the dozen or so scientists, ethicists, universities, and private institutions Spurlock and his team will follow throughout the year in this film. Kernel has opened its doors in the hope to ignite interest in the field, shine a light on the entire neurotech landscape, and facilitate public discourse.
As Johnson notes, “Unlocking the brain is the most consequential advancement in history. Human intelligence is the most powerful and precious resource we have — everything we are, everything we do, and everything we will become, will come from the brain.”
Viewers can expect to see the documentary hit screens soon.
The interview with Bryan Johnson was slightly edited for brevity and clarity. Johnson is an investor in Futurism; he does not hold a seat on our editorial board or have any editorial review privileges.