Shortly after the Wachowski Brothers released a film called The Matrix in 1999, I got a job on a film shooting in Hendersonville, North Carolina about summer camp and spent a beautiful month and a half in a small cottage reading Ray Kurzweil’s The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence. It was a potent combination – the movie and the book; what the Matrix was doing for me spiritually, Kurzweil’s book seemed to be prepared to manifest on Earth.
Cut to a decade later, where I will be attending my fifth consecutive NAB Show – the largest tech and entertainment media show of its kind in the world – and have the opportunity to see Kurzweil actually speak in person for a power session entitled “The Acceleration of Technology in the 21st Century: the Impact on Media, Communications, and Society.”
Kurzweil will begin the session with a presentation on how information technology is transforming traditional industries, including media and entertainment, into infotech businesses. He will explore how the exponential growth of technology and the influx of new chip-driven tools is upending free enterprise as we know it and paving the way for an unparalleled change in human history. After his presentation, Kurzweil will be joined on the stage by Professor Donald Marinelli for a special discussion highlighting topics that directly impact Hollywood and the entertainment technology arena.
This is precisely what I have been asked to speak about throughout most of my career – the confluence of technology and the arts – so you can imagine how excited I am to hear these two go on about it.
To give you a better idea about Kurzweil’s relevance (besides the fact that he invented speech recognition technology) he has been described as “the restless genius” by The Wall Street Journal and “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes and ranked 8th among entrepreneurs in the United States by Inc. magazine. PBS included Kurzweil as one of 16 “revolutionaries who made America,” along with other inventors of the past two centuries. He is a six-time national bestselling author whose works include “The Age of Spiritual Machines” and “The Singularity is Near.” Which reminds me, Kurzweil also recently spearheaded the opening of The Singularity University where he invites the world’s foremost thinkers, doctors and technicians to figure out how to live forever, in harmony, probably with robots. And he is totally serious. And he might even pull it off.
Donald Marinelli is a tenured professor of drama and arts management at Carnegie Mellon University and is also the executive producer of that institution’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC). The ETC is recognized internationally as Carnegie Mellon’s “Dream Fulfillment Factory.” Its emphasis is on bringing artists and technologists together to work on substantive, real-world projects combining the latest digital media technologies with myriad artistic, educational, and entertainment efforts. Marinelli’s book “The Comet & the Tornado” will be released on April 6th.
This event joins an impressive line-up of previously announced keynote conversations, including Dana Walden and Gary Newman, Chairmen of Twentieth Century Fox Television (TCFTV); and Stan Lee, the iconic comic book visionary who co-created Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk and The Fantastic Four.
“A key theme of this year’s NAB Show is transmedia: developing, integrating and monetizing content for multiplatform distribution,” said Chris Brown, executive vice president, conventions & business operations for NAB Show. “Stan Lee has epitomized the concept of transmedia with his amazing creations, which have been turned into smash hit feature films, television series and innovative digital content.”
Did I already mention how excited I am? This is like Christmas for prognosticators like me, never mind robotics fans. And manifesting dreams. And wanting to live forever. And SEO types. And comic books.
The NAB Show will take place 10-15 April, 2010 in Las Vegas (exhibits open 12 April). It is the world’s largest electronic media show covering filmed entertainment and the development, management and delivery of content across all mediums. Complete details are available at www.nabshow.com.
"Keram makes excursions into almost every style of music imaginable here and does it with such flair that these very pleased ears, he could have settled on any of these genres and made just as brilliant a record." - Mark Rheaume, CBC Radio