The future is all too real in the critically acclaimed film Her directed and written by Spike Jonze. The protagonist, Theodore, is a lonely writer living in the near distant future in Los Angeles and is still healing from his failed marriage. He finds solace in his computer operating system named Samantha and eventually falls in love with her. The movie dances around the idea of people becoming dependent on Siri-esque operating systems, something that has obviously happened over the past five years or so. In the film it adds more to the fact by adding emotion to the OS system, something our current Siri is not fully capable of (yet).
The most amazing part about this film is the fact that it’s not too hard to imagine our world evolving similarly to the one Theodore is living in. It doesn’t over exaggerate the future with flying cars, time travel, or with creatures straight out of The Terminator; it uses real possibilities and devices and makes them into something extremely reachable for the near future of technology. In the film, people walk around the city having conversations with their advanced device that is usually placed in their shirt pocket or ear, looking as if they’re talking to themselves in public. Everyone around is accustomed to it and doesn’t think twice about it. Not only has that slowly become a part of our reality (Bluetooth, GPS, and of course Siri), but you somewhat expect to see someone on the bus, the street, or the subway doing just that.
The movie also captures human emotion and allows for OS systems to develop feelings similar to ours so they can relate to humans and fulfill needs easily. Spike Jonze doesn’t take away parts of the human spirit and replace them with robotic undertones, but instead his characters celebrate emotions throughout the film. It’s a love story that captures Theodore’s honest compassion for something that wasn’t entirely human. I wouldn’t be surprised if we reached a point in the future where we could develop feelings for a device and have it become socially acceptable. We’ll find ourselves 20-30 years from now thinking “how the hell did Spike Jonze know?”