Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is a brilliant computer scientist and theorist. His work is focused on creating a computer program that is sentient and could think and act independently. He calls this Transcendence. His wife, Evelyn (Rebecca Hall), also works with technology in the hope of improving healthcare and the environment. Their friend, Max Waters (Paul Bettany), focuses his research into preventative and curative uses for nano technology and artificial blood.