In the movie "Transcendence" one of the lead characters is the AI itself:

A scientist's drive for artificial intelligence, takes on dangerous implications when his consciousness is uploaded into one such program.

After Will Caster was uploaded and the AI came online, one of the central themes of the movie was the question "Who was the AI?":

Was it actually Will Caster as planned? Or was it still PINN, the original AI program that existed before Will was uploaded?

Throughout the movie it was hinted that the AI was


But in the end it was hinted that the AI was


Which of those characters actually was in control of the AI?

  • also, wasnt there some hint or dialogue about PINN uploaded from a monkey brain? – vzn Aug 6 '14 at 18:37

I don't think this has an either/or answer. The AI entity was made up of both Will and Pinn. It could not possibly be identical to the original Pinn, because it was heavily modified in the attempt to upload Will's personality. It was not an exact copy of Will either; the uploading process had never been tried before, and it did not produce a perfect emulation of his brain.

Futhermore, any elements of Will's personality would have gone through the massive psychological trauma of almost dying, and then "waking up" with a body and senses totally unlike those of a human being.

The AI reproduces some aspects of Will's personality. It tries to help and protect Evelyn, and make her happy. But can it really be said to be a continuation of Will's love for her? Or is it a new entity programmed to do things which have a high probability of benefiting Evelyn, like Google producing personalised search results?

The question is not "Who is the AI?", but "How much of the AI is Will?" As we learn at the end,

much more of Will is in the AI than anyone realised.

  • Shameless self-promotion: A post on my blog discussing related issues, and my review of Transcendence. – Royal Canadian Bandit Jun 25 '14 at 8:39
  • Out of the 3 answers posted so far, I think the most helpful sentence on this page is: "Futhermore, any elements of Will's personality would have gone through the massive [transformation from] 'waking up' with a body and senses totally unlike those of a human being." – Ryan Mar 26 '16 at 23:06

For most of the time, It was Will. That was the plot twist;

despite almost everybody thinking it was PINN, it turned out to be Will.

My reasons for supporting this theory:

  1. PINN would not have saved, helped and comforted Evelyn, which Will would certainly have. He made Evelyn a new home, with everything she liked. PINN could've gone on with his plans without Evelyn.

    Especially that in the end, Will sacrifices everything to save her.

  2. The technology that was developed in the facility,

    was so that Will could manufacture himself a new body. Which he finally did, to be able to be with Evelyn once more.

  3. Will does not hurt anybody in the end. The AI would have had no reason to hold back, and would've destroyed everyone.


The answer to this question is in the movie. However it is towards the end. Leaving viewers wondering the majority of the movie (or afterwards if you failed to see it).

  • When the monkeys brain was uploaded, all it could do was scream, and have reactions of fear and panic. (Will was able to make sense of now being a computer, "Are you there?"
  • For those with the PINN argument. PINN (Physically Independent Neural Network) was Will and Evelyns brainchild. Also PINN was the mere "operating system" that aloud Wills uploaded brain to function in a virtual reality. I will now refer to Will + PINN, as WINN. (Wills Independent Neural Network).
  • Will doesn't say much in the movie, which only makes this question more intriguing.
  • WINN at all cost to its self, does not try to hurt any body.
  • Will never wanted to change the world, but Evelyn did. He only wanted to understand the world. However Wills actions were driven by his love, and partnership, with Evelyn. These same actions can be seen in WINN.
  • WINN could have taken the entire world, but did not. It only focused on preserving already beautiful things.
  • "Administrative Controls" WINN can take over a hybrids body at leisure (almost always to interact with Evelyn). The first hybrid was Martin, saved from death (a symbiotic relationship). WINN tells Evelyn that he can touch her through Martin, and is shut down by Evelyn because she is freaked out. So.... WINN invests its resources into complete human regeneration in order to reincarnate Will, in the soul* purpose of physically being with Evelyn. (Self Awareness)

    - ALSO.... The movie says it at the end. It was him the entire time!

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