[ExI] The Excitement-Disillusionment-Reorientation cycle of online transhumanism

Florent Berthet florent.berthet at gmail.com
Sun Apr 5 23:30:30 UTC 2009

Hi Jimmy,
I've just read your amazon review of Shannon's book, and I'll soon check the
script, it seems interesting.

About the movie, when you say there was no interest for it in Hollywood,
what were the reasons exactly ? What kind of audience are you looking at ?

Those issues are important because I think we need something that can be
seen as the next Matrix in terms of success. By the way, I find it pretty
impressive and encouraging how big was that success given the topics
involved. I don't think I would have bet on it at first (sure, there was the
Keanu Reeves card, but still...).

As for my personal screenplay, I have the overall picture and I'm now
getting into the details. The story takes place in the near future (around
fifty years from now, definitely less than a hundred years), in a recently
created virtual world where the humans can upload themselves and live à la
Egan's Permutation City, but with real mind-blowing epic fun. I will try to
make it clear that it's actually a trully possible future by making people
understand during the beginning that some years in the past, a team of
scientists succeeded in making an AGI, which quickly managed to get the
interest and sympathy of the people by being really smart, funny, and by
being a great advisor on every subject. Then this AGI gained more political
influence, and eventually, since she was so popular, some governments were
forced to apply what she was proposing. Year after year, people could see
the great improvements taking place all over the world, and finally, one day
she introduced the virtual world with a speech along those lines:

"During the past years, you have been giving me your trust. You allowed me
to help you by all the necessary means, and together we have been able to
get rid of most of the major world issues. But this is nothing compared to
what I can offer you today. Let's try something : just imagine the best
thing that could happen in your life. Go on, try it, even the craziest thing
you can think of. Done ? Good. Well I can assure you that whatever that is,
I have *way* better for you. Welcome to your new home."

So that is basically the starting point and it shouldn't take more than a
tenth of the movie's duration. For the rest, it's pretty tricky do make a
fiction where nothing is going wrong or where there isn't any real threat
involved, but it's not at all unsolvable. Indeed, for once we can use an
environment where there aren't any limits. We can literally make the best
action scenes ever because, well, screw the laws of physics! Same thing with
the mystery or weirdness of the events, the beauty of the sets, or anything
that can shape the story. The only limit is the imagination, and it will
also be a key point within the movie itself.

The guideline is about a young guy that will wake up in that world (for a
very valid reason...), not knowing where he is, and discovering the life in
there. In particular, he will discover the Games (yes, with a capital G.),
and how pretty much everything will be about them from now on. The games,
like I said, will take place in a context of infinite possibilities, which
will permit some never saw before kinds of stuff. The kinds there were in
Tron but a lot more complex and fun, and not only based on techno-creepy
environments. Every part of them must be highly attractive. After all, the
aim is to make people really really want that future.

After having finished the screenplay (it's far from being done), and given
the nature of most of the scenes, a finely detailed storyboard will be the
least I can do to hope making a big director go woo-hoo. That's why the time
and efforts needed are huge, but so could be the potential results.

Florent Berthet

2009/4/5 Jimmy Adams <jadams.neuro at yahoo.com>

> Hi
> This is my first post here, it has been interesting to read the emails.  A
> couple of years ago I wrote a
> screenplay'>http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/21stcenturykids.html">screenplaybased on Shannon Vyff's book "21st Century Kids"  It is a story that has
> transhumanic themes written for children. There was no interest for it in
> Hollywood. I found a director who had a degree from UCLA Film School and
> owns a Production company in Estonia, but he wants cash to make the film.
> Nobody wants to buy the script or put it on "option". It is a fun story that
> has aliens, cryonics, uploaded dolphins, uploaded humans and a space
> adventure. Natasha's PRIMO Posthuman is also a character in the script. Read
> it and see what you think. If you know anybody who won the lottery or has a
> few extra 100 million dollars (special effects aren't cheap, and this
> screenplay has a lot of them!) let us know. Shannon's kids are the right age
> to star in the movie now. :)
> 21st Century Kids screenplay: WGAE Registration code #VQEA1BD9428; July
> 2007
> Please tell us more about your project. Do you have a screenplay?
> Take Care
> Jimmy
> ------------------------------
> *From:* Florent Berthet <florent.berthet at gmail.com>
> *To:* ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
> *Sent:* Sunday, April 5, 2009 10:42:55 AM
> *Subject:* Re: [ExI] The Excitement-Disillusionment-Reorientation cycle of
> online transhumanism
> Very true. We have to be effective. Maybe we should focus on discussions
> about what we can do and how we can do it?
> So I'm asking everybody : according to you, what are the most important
> things you want to see achieved, and what are your plans to get them done ?
> My idea, as I spoke about in the "I am now a creationist" thread, is to
> make "a great transhuman utopian movie, where things actually GO well, and
> about which people would think "Wow, if only we could have that!". Then, it
> could only be a matter of time before some rich folks start to fund things
> like the Singularity Institute and other AGI related projects. Because now,
> obviously, they are not moved by these ideas. It seems like we can't
> convince rich guys to give money using clever arguments. And since they
> don't think that funding an AGI project will make them earn money, the only
> way to make them give anyway is to use feelings. Indeed, they may see the
> act of giving money as charity. But you don't manage charity with arguments,
> you manage it with tears, whether they are tears of sadness, or tears of
> hope. You don't make people give money to the starving children by saying
> "thousands of them die each day". You make them give money by showing them a
> picture of ONE starving little girl. That's the way it is. We have to use
> the power of pictures. This would be the most effective way to expand this
> movement around the world."
> It will take several years and a massive amount of work and money, but I'm
> currently on it.
> Anyway that's my project. What's yours ?
> - Florent Berthet
> _______________________________________________
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> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
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