I Am Human

dir. Taryn Southern, Elena Gaby
2019, USA, 90:00, Nonfiction * Filmmaker in Attendance

A female-directed and produced sci-fi documentary, I AM HUMAN explores the co-evolution of humans and technology

There are several hundred thousand people in the world with implantable technology in their brains. By the year 2029, that number – based on industry estimations – is expected to triple. The film follows the harrowing and courageous journeys of three of the world’s first “cyborgs” and the scientists and entrepreneurs on the cusp of unlocking the secrets of the human brain.

Meet Anne, Bill, and Stephen. Bill, paralyzed in a biking accident, signs up for a mysterious research study in hopes to regain movement. Stephen, a former Canadian government IT officer, undergoes a novel bionic eye implantation to regain sight. Anne, a former artist with degenerative Parkinson’s, considers deep brain stimulation as a solution to her worsening symptoms. As we follow their three journeys, society is forced to reconcile with the larger implications: will the same technologies that heal disease and dysfunction lead to superhuman abilities, telepathic communication, and cognitive enhancement?

In addition to the primary characters, the film features institutions including The Wyss Center, Duke University, Case Western Reserve University, University of Washington, BrainGate2, and Second Sight and interviews with entrepreneur Bryan Johnson, neuroscientists John Donoghue, Andres Lozano, David Eagleman, Andres Lozano, Bobby Kasthuri, Chantel Prat, and Miguel Nicolelis, surgeon Robert Devenyi, sci-fi author Ramez Naam, ethicist Tristan Harris and professor of law and philosophy Nita Farahany, amongst others.

“When I began as a neuroscientist it was impossible to imagine that curiosity to figure out the greatest puzzle of what it means to be human – brain research – could lead in my lifetime to a whole field that will have vast impact on humanity, says Director of the Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering, Dr. John Donoghue. “I think a fundamental understanding of a principle by which the brain computes will be one of the greatest revolutions in scientific history.”

The Trailer

The Filmmakers

Taryn Southern – Director/Producer

Taryn Southern is an artist & technologist with more than 500 million views across her online videos. A recipient of the Google Creator VR grant, in 2018 she became the first solo artist to compose an album with AI. An official ambassador for The Geena Davis Institute’s Women in Media, Taryn’s work with VR, AI, and blockchain has been featured in publications like Vanity Fair, Fast Company, Business Insider, Wired, and more.

Elena Gaby – Director/Producer

Elena Gaby is a Brazilian-American filmmaker whose debut film, Paper State: Undocumented, Unafraid, Undeterred, won Best Student Documentary at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014. A graduate of Vassar College and proud female Director, Elena’s credits include docu-series and films such as Showtime’s Seven Deadly Sins, CNN’s The Hunt with John Walsh, Vlogumentary, and Super Size Me 2.