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The God Question

HD   Unrated Closed Captioning

Douglas Gordon

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About the Movie

Two scientists ask an experimental super-intelligent computer the ultimate question: Is there evidence for God, for a spiritual framework for life? To their astonishment, it arrives at an answer.

Customer Reviews

Its OK

Its a low-budget movie but at the same time you can really see that these filmmakers tried. Its kind of got the feel of the movie “Contact” so I did enjoy it but I would rent in SD. Overall good low-budget film.

Indy film - good story

This is not a film for people who are looking for a big budget Hollywood film. It's a thoughtful interesting small film, a film festival film. Generally good acting by actors you've never heard of. The premise is especially interesting, since it is something that will one day happen. Computers will become smarter than people and when that happens, all sorts of interesting situations will develop, including the situation of this story.

So shallow, so thin, so boring.

I very much wanted to enjoy this film, but, found it impossibly naïve and poorly written.

As someone whose worked in both philosophy and religion and has done substantial reading in artificial intelligence, I can say that this film, which purportedly concerns deep questions, is remarkably silly. In genre it is more akin to the anti-science films of the 50s when audiences were warned against the dangers of accidentally creating super spiders and other monstrous results than with any of the real drama that surrounds the questions of knowledge, intelligence, or the existence of divinity. Frankly, it's just sophomoric.

The principal issue is writing. Academic settings aren't very visual and the film correctly depicts a modern supercomputer as a small room with good air-conditioning housing a few racks of processors. Thankfully, there's no attempt to create a visual persona for the computer, beyond a simple flat screen with a static logo. However, this is the only resemblance I saw between the film and the real academic world and the kinds of discussion and questions found there. Frankly, I think the writers were not up to the task of depicting the world they wanted to show. Or perhaps, to be generous, they were incapable of translating the everyday language of that world into film.

Done well, a film like this could rest at the intersections of neuroscience, linguistics, philosophy and logic. Instead we’re simply told that a new generation of software will create a “super-brain,” capable of answering almost any question. The phrase Deus ex machine comes to mind. That’s when a playwright cheats and invokes supernatural intervention to solve a problem in his or her play

(PARTIAL SPOILER ALERT)

Immediately after a federal ban on a new generation of "self – aware" software, the protagonist, a computer scientist, takes a decision to proceed, with the assistance of two friends, an anthropologist and a philosopher.

The three decide to proceed with an experiment in spite of the Government ban, and despite the fact that the software they're using is implicated in a series of Internet shutdowns. They do this almost blithely, in complete disregard of emergency regulations and an active investigation of the protagonist by the FBI. Why? Because all three believe that the question of the existence or nonexistence of god can be answered by this new self-aware artificial intelligence.

The dialogue is impossibly witless and facile. More to point, I can think of few methods of investigation of less interest to most philosophers than a computer search for the existence or nonexistence of god. The idea that a self-aware semi-self-directed supercomputer could answer such a question simply on the basis of being exposed to an electronic library of history, philosophy and the sciences, completely ignores the real issues that underlie such a question – concerns about the nature of knowledge and the role language, and indeed the nature of consciousness and self-awareness.

In the end, this film purports to concern the limits of human knowledge, but asks no serious questions about those limits. Like the anti-science bomb scare films of the 1950s it wants to be a kind of warning. In actuality the film provides little insight into the questions it asks, or the life of people involved in either the sciences or philosophy. In a word, it's just as shallow as the 1950s giant bug flics, without nearly the entertainment value. If you find the questions the film purports to address so intriguing that you can't avoid renting it, save yourself from its silliness and skip to the last 3 minutes. You won't have missed anything worthwhile. But then, neither will you find anything worthwhile.

The God Question
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  • $19.99
  • Genre: Drama
  • Released: 2014

Customer Ratings

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