Watching Spike Jonze’s film, Her, made me realise that I will one day become an old and boring man and that I am, at least at present, a boring man.
There is a brief moment between when Joaquin Phoenix’s character mentions to a few friends that his significant other is the operating system, labeled as OS1, in his phone and their response that evoke the viewer’s reaction, if they were on the receiving end of this comment.
Initially, when I was in that brief moment, all I could think was, ‘*Harumph* How far away are we actually from something like this?’.
Then, in my opinion, the twist comes where the couple acts as if this is not a problem at all and soon we see numerous inhabitants of this not-so-distant, but kind-of-distant, world establishing relationships with their ‘OS1’s.
I couldn’t help but draw a connection between my reaction to this and the reaction that some members of an older generation had when they first heard about same-sex marriages.
The more I thought about my reaction, the more I felt guilty about judging people who would potentially connect to, what seemed like, a genuinely ‘intelligent’ being.
The core problem in the relationship between any of the owners of OS1 and the OS1 is whether or not the OS is just responding to their needs or whether it actually ‘feels’ for its owner.
In the end, the OS1’s connection to its owners appears to stem from a void in their own lives, delaying their inevitable recovery from their failed human to human relationships.
I was hoping the ending of the film was going to be somewhere between the start of ‘The Matrix’ and Sky-net becoming self aware.
However, I was met with a satisfying, though less apocalyptic ending, that can be summarised as, ‘It’s not you…It’s… Actually, it’s all of you.’
This led me to realise that people boring, especially me, and out relationships, though cinematic to us, are trite to everyone around us, which is what, I suppose, makes them nice.
Unfortunately, to an objective computer our pursuits to understand one another inevitably become boring because there is no point in trying to understand a single minded being.
From a pessimist point of view, this is a really sad message because it suggests that we are so self-centred as humans that even our computers find us trivial; on the other hand an optimist would say that computers, no matter how well programmed, cannot grasp how beautifully illogical humans are.
Then again, if Jonze is at all prophetic, I am staying as far away from GoogleGlass as humanly possible.