Watch: 'District 9' Director Neill Blomkamp's 'Aliens' TED Video

February 3, 2010
Source: SlashFilm

Neill Blomkamp

Last November, District 9 director Neill Blomkamp was chosen to be a part of TEDx in Vancouver. The director wanted to join the program but couldn't be there in person so he recorded a video (via SlashFilm) which is now online. He was asked in an interview once if he thought the aliens represented in District 9 were an accurate representation of what extraterrestrials are really like. His answer was "no" and from there he goes off on a talk about what real aliens would be like and if there is life on other planets (and why we haven't found it yet). It's an absolutely fascinating video presentation that I certainly suggest watching.

Although Blomkamp didn't receive an Oscar nomination for directing, I was extremely happy to see District 9 receive nominations for Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Visual Effects, and Film Editing. Blomkamp is obviously not only an incredible filmmaker, but he's just a brilliant guy, as is evident watching this video or our interview with him from last year. He travels into some very interesting and highly theoretical areas in this video but that's what it makes it so cool. Thanks to our friends at SlashFilm for first discovering and featuring this. I already can't wait for Blomkamp's next movie. But for now, we're hoping for some Oscars.

Find more posts: Sci-Fi, To Watch



Niel Needs to make a movie about what he just spoke about. There's no doubt that he can do such a thing. One of the coolest vieos I've seen this year.

scott on Feb 3, 2010


The problem with SETI is that they refuse to look at any UFO evidence because their minds are already made up - plus if aliens are here, then that means they, as scientists, are pretty much on the scrap heap. So of course they're going to refuse to look at any alternate evidence. Another problem with SETI is the fact that they're under the assumption that advanced civilizations would โ€“ 1. Use ancient technology such as radio waves to communicate. 2. Would even want to communicate with us. 3. SETI agree that there's most likely advanced civilizations out there, probably in the hundreds, that may be hundreds, even thousands of years more advanced than us - YET - because we can't travel the distance between stars, then surely they can't either. I believe the aliens are already visiting us. If you look at the videos on youtube and Google about the ancient ruins on the moon, the evidence that other lifeforms have/and possibly still are, visiting us is overwhelming. I'm not talking about UFO nut jobs who claim they talk with men from Venus. I'm talking about real hard science. There's so much evidence out there - both FAA radar, military radar, police and pilot testimony, site and trace landing evidence, astronaut testimony and video and photo evidence - yet mainstream science refuses to acknowledge it, and most credible UFO researchers are written off as cooks and hacks. I dare anyone who is sceptical to jump on the net and seek the evidence. You will soon start to see that we are indeed being visited, and in some ways, they may be playing a part in the worldโ€™s current situation, even possibly responsible for our being here.

Klo on Feb 3, 2010


Obviously a very intelligent and articulate individual and the speech made some impressive arguments, but im not so sold on the necessity that all life would become a thirst for knowledge, it ignores the basic feelings of the real world such as love hate and faith all of these exist and surely effect each and every single humans decision and decision making capability, simply put i don't believe we would give up our own materials such as earth and wildlife just for informational gain. But all the other stuff was pretty good

matt on Feb 3, 2010


Hello, my name is Neill Blomkamp and I am a freaking genius. Oh, also I am a ridiculously good filmmaker as well. Good day.

Knawx on Feb 3, 2010


Agree with no#1, thats infact 4 movies he just spoke about, Type 0, Type 1, Type 3 and Type 4 ๐Ÿ™‚

David Banner on Feb 3, 2010


can't believe they forgot to add "to" before "participate" at the end of the vid. COME ON, its' TED for chrissakes.

sedna on Feb 3, 2010


Simply brilliant video, but when he started to explaining the evolution of AI and the expansion of it throughout the universe... I thought for a brief moment that he was referring to the Borg in Star Trek.

Dirty Dutchman on Feb 4, 2010


Great speech, but he's wrong. To assume that Earth has the most advanced biological beings in the universe is not only conceited, but unfounded. If his "everything becomes a computer" theory is correct, then surely some other of those billions of habitable planets would have already undergone these steps and, because of the rate of speed, we'd most likely have seen proof of it by now.

Barry on Feb 4, 2010


#9 did you even listen to the video.... that is exactly what he said. we are the most advanced right now since we have yet to see any other society that has undergone singularity and it expanding to meet it's necessary demands to grow. I think he assumes this society would be so advanced due to its massive potential for growth of knowledge that speedy interstellar travel would be no problem, so since we have not see any sign of this we must be #1. That also doesn't mean that we've always been #1 it's just that other societies who were ahead of us ended up self destructing going from 0 to 1. Pretty cool stuff, can't wait to see blockbuster #2 from him.

Nick on Feb 4, 2010


I'm I the only one that feels like Blomkamp is a really smart guy but that District 9 wasn't as great as it was hyped up to be?

Alex T. on Feb 4, 2010


I'm picturing Terminator as an actuality when I watch this.

Ben on Feb 4, 2010


this guy is changing film for the better ๐Ÿ™‚

Christi Johnson on Feb 4, 2010


What qualifications does Neil have for doing a TED talk about aliens. He made a Hollywood film about them! Gimme a break, TED has fallen hard for this fool, they should have gotten someone who actually studies UFO sightings and the probability of aliens. Nick Price who used to be in the defense department for the UK would have been a much better choice. Sorry but Hollywood's version of aliens sucks.

JTMoney on Feb 4, 2010


Heavy. Awesome.

SacLA on Feb 4, 2010


This is interesting since globalization and a one world government is talked about in the Bible, a book that is discarded by many men of science as foolishness and as superstition from the past. Go figure.

Myname is mine on Feb 4, 2010


I loved District 9 and I think Blomkamp is great... but a global government, a global culture? Has he actually studied culture (like religion, for eg)? Is it really happening? Not really. Plus AI... let Professor Noel Sharkey pop that balloon. (Here he is talking about robots built for war if anyone is interested >> http://soundofscience.wordpress.com/2009/12/18/show-81-first-broadcast-on-18th-december-2009/) And for God's sake, does all life have to be air-breathing carbon creepy crawlies? Who said so? It seems awfully limited and human-centric.

phiq on Feb 5, 2010


one way to build a computer is to get more people thinking about something. perhaps conscious awareness is the key to infinite knowledge, or the total information contained within the Universe. and perhaps a natural course of evolution dictates that biological life is the only kind able to connect to this cosmic computer, ultimately limiting the computational capacity and effectiveness of AI. the irony may be that this process is the solution to making the transition to a Type 1 civilization. all you have to do is think about it. this intention of being may be the state which allows us to rationalize and create balance on Earth. so in effect Neil may have ignited a Universal take over, of directors, thought directors muhahahh #canigetlaidnow

Kalladin on Feb 6, 2010


Blomkamp's discussion of a Type 1 Civilization is part of a debate that's been going on for a while. Famed futurist and physicist Michio Kaku has even discussed this concept in a very similar manner, but without all of Mr. Blomkamp's great visuals. What they both have in common is in discussing an extremely important aspect of our development as a species, and the dangers that a transition towards a unified global community poses. Like stated by many religions, humanity will face a period of difficult trials, a Judgment Day if you will, that will decide whether we persist and endure as a species, or fade into nothingness. I believe that day happened in July 1945 when the nuclear weapon was developed, and for the first time in its history, humanity was entrusted with knowledge that could directly lead to our own self-destruction. So far, we seem to have passed the test, with a couple of near-misses. Japan, unfortunately, got a taste of the horrors of such a weapon, and the terror of the Cold War almost escalated to the end of it all. However, if we continue to develop, not only technologically and scientifically, but also socially and as a global community, if we finally accept our common heritage on this lonely planet on the outskirts of the Milky Way Galaxy, if we embrace that most sacred imperative, to endure, then we might see the dawn of an Earth united from one hemisphere to the other. Even though it may sound Utopian, this is something well within our reach. The estimates range from 200 years like Neill's estimate, to Ray Kurzweill's 45 years. However long it takes and wherever it may lead us, we should be shouting from the roof-tops to stop, look and listen. Keep the discussion rolling, and keep the debate going. The one thing we can in fact do is discuss our common future on this planet, and what future we want our children to truly have. If you would like to find out more about the idea of a Type 1 Civilization, please visit http://www.type1civ.org/ Welcome to the discussion.

T1C on Feb 12, 2010

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