My boss sat down with me for coffee a few months back and we ended up talking about a movie she’d seen – Her, with Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlet Johansson and directed by Spike Jonze. See the trailer below if you haven’t heard of it or are intrigued and I’m held in such high esteem as a blogger that those first two sentences were enough In any case, it doesn’t really give much away (unlike some trailers, which seem to make it their mission to reveal the entire movie apart from one single event that is the key to it all).
My boss said it was “like, really good”, so I waited for it to come out on DVD then downloaded it.
Ok – so the first 20 minutes were ok. A very authentic portrayal of San Francisco set in the not to distant future. The lead character, Theodore Twombly (played by Joaquin Phoenix) writes emotional letters for people who either can’t be bothered to write them themselves or just think Theo is just so amazing at writing them they’re willing to pay for it. To be fair, his letters are pretty good, if a little soppy…
Theo is a lonely guy, and one day wandering around this future world’s equivalent of a Mac Store, he impulsively decides to buy the world’s first artificially intelligent operating system (OS). Groundbreaking, eh? He takes it back home, and to cut a long story short, falls in love with ‘her’, being the self-named Samantha as she acts as his part-PA, part f*** buddy. Weird, I know. And yes, they do actually have sex, how I’ll leave you to ponder.
Anyway this isn’t a film review. This film got me thinking about a lot of things. Artificial intelligence has been heavily documented in books and films for a long time, but it’s one of those futuristic, far away inventions that may not be so far away as we think. In the film, Theo gradually becomes more and more emotionally attached to Samantha and begins to tell his colleagues and friends about the fact he’s bonking a mobile phone. The greatest thing was that dating these new generation of artificially intelligent operating systems seemed kind of widespread and almost accepted as a norm.
While Samantha seems to be extremely efficient and helpful, even emotionally supportive, I felt distinctly uncomfortable imagining a world where my future children might have a sentient being inside their laptop. It’s a nice nice an rosy in Her but one only has to think how badly things could go wrong.
Forget the Millenium bug, let’s make sure The Wachowski Brothers didn’t make an accurate prediction with their film The Matrix…