Another take on how technology may impact our daily lives is Spike Jonze’s movie, “her”.
It’s the story of a misfit, played by Joaquin Phoenix (perfectly typecast) who makes his living at a company, sometime in the future, writing letters at his computer for other people.
Going through a recent break-up after a long relationship and depressed, he discovers a new Operating System that promises virtual companionship to its user.
This new system, which calls herself “Samantha” (played by Scarlett Johansson’s soothing but sexy voice; we never get to see her) soon begins to offer more than just companionship. They begin to have a “relationship” and perhaps even fall in love.
A lot of the film is him just talking to “her” through his earpiece or walking around with his camera phone in his pocket so she can see too or fantasizing with her in the dark in his bed. It’s actually strangely very romantic, almost like a cross between 2001: Space Odyssey’s Hal the computer voice and perhaps Woody Allen’s Manhattan. So it’s literally a disembodied experience.
And just when we think this couple might walk off into the sunset, hand in hand, so to speak, there’s a neat twist.
But it does raise a lot of interesting questions. Where does the line between being a human and being a machine begin and end? What if they become blurred, as technology becomes more and more advanced? What will happen when the virtual world becomes more fascinating than our real lives? Would we have to do the work that a human relationship requires? It’s interesting because in the film, even in their virtual relationship, they begin to take on some of the insecurities of a human relationship while the ‘machine’ begins to wish for some human attributes too. And although it seems to take place in the future, it may not be that far away. Well worth seeing.