The Implications Of Technology In The Movie Her

1344 words - 6 pages

About nine years ago I discovered a book called The Age of Spiritual Machines by a man named Ray Kurzweil that demanded my immediate interest. I was captivated by his view of the future of technology - astoundingly positive and bright compared to most peoples’ negative or dystopian outlook when it comes to the dangers of a society increasingly reliant on machines and technology. I recently had the privilege of watching Spike Jonze’s 2013 movie her. While focusing on the personal aspect of a man falling in love with an artificial intelligence in a near-future Los Angeles, I couldn’t help but be surprised and delighted when Ray Kurzweil’s theories and mindset came shining through the backdrop. This is a smart, moving love story at first glance, and a philosophical contemplation of the undeniable path technology has set upon when delved deeper into. I am going to attempt to parallel certain events and allusions in this movie with the theory of the Singularity that Ray Kurzweil has helped usher into popular culture in recent years.
I remember first learning about Ray Kurzweil and being increasingly impressed with his prior accomplishments, and how factually based his epic predictions of the future of technology are. This man has worked in robotics since his youth, and is widely respected as an expert in the field. Since gaining popularity in his work and theories in the past decade, he now sits as head of robotics for Google. At first, certain parts of his vast, multifaceted outlook are hard to grasp or seem downright ludicrous, but it is important to mention that any prediction he has made thus far concerning any kind of technologic timeline have all come true with a high degree of accuracy. A basic tenet of his theory is the fact that technology expands exponentially, not linearly as many believe. The more technological power we possess, the more efficiently we can improve upon it. This creates an exponential curve that eventually hits a near-vertical line. This point is referred to as the Singularity, or a point in time that artificial intelligence progresses so quickly that our biological processes become obsolete in comparison, radically changing civilization and even human nature.
Spike Jonze’s recent movie her takes place in a future LA, but not one that you would expect, having most popular visions of the future being dark and dystopian. The streets are clean and the people are happy. Everything is basked in a pastel-like glow, feeling nostalgically retro. Technology is used to their advantage for convenience, but has not overtaken their lives and created a society of anti-social recluses. Jonze’s vision of the future is decidedly positive and a refreshing take on what humanity can do if they make the right choices. Enter Theodore, the protagonist who has separated from his wife in the past year. He is a depressed, hopeful romantic clinging onto the thought that his wife will change her mind and come back to him, evident...

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