Werner Herzog’s upcoming film, ‘Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World’, features interviews with some of the most notorious names and innovative minds in the technological circle. But who are the people behind these machines and ideas? We take a look at some of the featured interviewees of the film:
Sebastian Thrun: Thrun is one of the leading minds behind the development of the driverless car. Also a founder of Google X, he played a crucial role in the creation of ‘Stanley’, the robot car that won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge. His new line of work, ‘Udacity’, which he was inspired to set up after 160,000 people enrolled in a free online course he created, offers free educational opportunities to people who are unable to go to university. And what does Thrun think will come of the technological revolution? Well, he strongly believes that in the not so distant future, there will be no task that machines are unable to perform better than humans.
Lucianne Walkowicz: A popular TED speaker, Lucianne is an astronomer at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. She specialises in the study of stellar activity and, in her words, “the tempestuous tantrums of stellar flares”. She discusses the last significant solar flare, the 1859 Carrington Event, one of the largest solar storms ever documented and the affect it had on the communication services. She ominously tells Herzog that it is not a matter of IF, but rather of WHEN one of these storms will occur again.
Kevin Mitnick: One of the most notorious hackers in history, Kevin Mitnick is nothing short of a legend in the technological world. As a federal fugitive, Mitnick gained illegal access to several computer networks and cellular companies, and was later arrested in 1995 in what was a high-profile and controversial trial. He spent 5 years in prison, a year of which in solitary confinement. He now runs his own security company, and tells Herzog that people are the weak links in the security of the internet, not the systems themselves.
Shawn Carpenter: Carpenter was responsible for identifying the biggest known cyber attack of all time, branded ‘Titan Rain’ by the FBI. Carpenter, who worked for the American Navy, tracked down the cyber espionage to China, and played a part in stopping what could have been an absolutely catastrophic cyberwar. Although he is unable to divulge much information about Titan Rain, he tells Herzog of the huge scale impact a cyber attack like this can have on the military, NASA, and all of civilization.
Elon Musk: Elon Musk has been ranked the 83rd wealthiest person in the world, with a net worth of $12.7 billion. He made his fortune on PayPal and then started Tesla, the company known for creating electric luxury sports vehicles. His latest endeavour is to create an environment on Mars in which humans could thrive, in case for some reason Earth becomes uninhabitable. His private company, Space X, discuss the practicalities of this, such as transport, internet on Mars, and ‘costs per unit’, edging ever closer to the possibility of “multi-planetary” life.
Lawrence Krauss: Krauss is a theoretical physicist and cosmologist and director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University. Krauss is mostly recognised as a public advocate for science and atheism. He is also a best-selling author with several books under his name including The Physics of Star Trek and A Universe from Nothing.
Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World is in cinemas 28 October - special Q&A event on 13 October with Werner Herzog and hosted by Richard Ayoade. Details and tickets: loandbeholdfilm.co.uk