Jason Silva: Transcendant Man

Jason Silva says he is trying to share his techno-optimistic views in ways that inspire people with awe and wonder, and spark conversation within the greater “marketplace of ideas”. 

Jason Silva is a transcendent man. As a filmmaker, philosopher, and futurist, Silva is always thinking big. Currently in the process of creating a feature length documentary, Silva has released a series of short clips that are attracting attention. The videos are sometimes under 2 minutes long, and show Jason during an ecstatic meditation covering some specific idea related to the future. Silva says he is trying to share his techno-optimistic views in ways that inspire people with awe and wonder, and spark conversation within the greater “marketplace of ideas”. His most recent video centered around Abundance: The Future is Better Thank You Think.

Watch the video here:

Big Think interviewed Silva to find out about his inspiration for the video, and what we can expect from him in the future.

Big Think: You seem so optimistic about the future, why are you so convinced?

Jason Silva: When I came across Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity is Near, I began to understand the unlimited creative potential of the human species, to not just transcend our biological limitations by upgrading our biological software, but also to impregnate the universe with intelligence. The exponential growth curves of information technology spilling over into the domestication of biotechnology and nanotechnology coupled with the possibilities of artificial intelligence were dazzlingly seductive.

I couldn’t get enough, and often felt that these ideas were bigger than their usual dry, academic packaging.  Where did aesthetic presentation fall into this? And so I decided to launch my own answer to this question. The Beginning of Infinity video, shown recently at The Economist World in 2012 Conference and The Singularity Summit, is part of a series of short form “ecstatic meditations” exploring this co-evolution of humans and technology that simultaneously epiphanizes and inspires. The goal was to animate and reverse engineer rapturous awe.  Think of them as shots of philosophical espresso. My latest, ABUNDANCE, was inspired by Peter Diamandis' book of the same name.

Big Think: What about Abundance inspired you and why is it such an important book for people to read?

Jason Silva: What's exciting about Abundance is that it does a marvelous job of articulating precisely how the exponential growth curves of technology can be leveraged to solve humanity's grand challenges. In a world of "doom and gloom", Its nice to have an alternate vision, and one based on data-drive facts and extrapolations.

Big Think: How did you get the idea to create these videos? What was your creative inspiration?

Jason Silva: My short videos are an attempt at communicating genuine inspiration: they seek to transmute epiphanies in real time. In an age saturated in media, how do we infect people with optimism and excitement? My videos aim to do that--- they are capsules of passion and curiosity.

Big Think: How has technology enabled you to become one of these “do-it-yourself innovators” as mentioned in the book?

Jason Silva: The fact that I can shoot, edit, and produce these videos independently is a testament to the exponential growth curves of technology.  20 years ago the camera alone would have been 25 thousand dollars.  For under 1000 dollars today you can shoot, edit, and post your vision in the world.

Big Think: Where does this video fit into the larger context of your work, and what can we expect from you in the future?

Jason Silva: I'm working on multiple levels of content so that people have multiple points of entry to these ideas.  The short films of philosophical espresso will live online and hopefully continue to spread. I'm also raising financing for a feature length documentary-- (working with a talented Oscar Winning producer on that)... I'm in talks on some TV projects as well... and will be speaking at several places over the next few months including Google, The Economist Ideas Fest, Next Berlin, UPenn, and MIT.

More videos and information on Jason can be found on his website at www.thisisJasonSilva.com and make sure you follow him on Twitter @Jason_Silva.

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