Ray Kurzweil Is Predictably Unimpressed by Avatar

Posted by Andrew Price

1268162609-avatar-screenAvatar has already been variously criticized for being racist, anti-military, eco-fascist, and neo-colonial. Is there any pernicious ideology the movie doesn't endorse? It seems not. Ray Kurzweil, the famous futurist and singularity evangelist, has added his voice to the cacophony. He thinks Avatar promotes Ludditism:

In Cameron's world, Nature is always wise and noble, which indeed it can be, but he fails to show its brutal side. The only thing that was brutal, crude, and immoral in the movie was the "advanced" technology. Of course, one could say that it was the user of the technology that was immoral (the evil corporation), but that is the only role for technology in the world of Avatar.In addition to being evil, the technology of the Avatar world of over 100 years from now is also weaker than nature, so the rhinoceros-like creatures are able to defeat the tanks circa 2100. It was perhaps a satisfying spectacle to watch, but how realistic is that? The movie shows the natural creatures communicating with each other with some kind of inter-species messaging and also showed the tree of life able to remember voices. But it is actually real-world technology that can do those things right now. In the Luddite world of this movie, the natural world should and does conquer the brutish world of technology.
I wonder if Kurzweil has ever read Thoreau. He's someone with an overly rosy view of nature who people actually take seriously. That said, it's still fun to hear Kurzweil take Avatar to task.