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her (Spike Jonze, 2013)- Falling in Love with Technology

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  • her (Spike Jonze, 2013)- Falling in Love with Technology

    The plot of her directed by Spike Jonze is an interpretation on the developing world we live in today and our growing relationship with technology. Within this advanced lifestyle, it is easy to conclude that we are no longer wondering if it is possible to create an intimate relationship with technology, it is now a question of when people will begin to sense these feelings. Is it extremely possible for an individual to fall in love with technology itself, especially with the advances that have stepped forth and this particular film wants the audience to think about their own relationship with technology and if it compares to Theodore’s.

    Overtime, the programming with each new piece of technology has evolved to now have the capability of carrying a conversation with the individual who first initiates it. Siri by Apple and Alexa by Amazon are two examples of such an operating system. The effect of all of these operating systems have stretched so wide that it is impossible to imagine going about our daily routines without them. Every time Theodore put in his earbud and turned it on, Samantha was there to meet his needs. It is as if she was first his comfort blanket to make life easier, but over time turned into something much more. Erasing the fear of digital companions suddenly leaving, this film shows how much easier it has become for individuals to carry out conversations with others whether it is face to face or not; all complications and fears have suddenly disappeared when technology is present. This does not necessarily mean that someone is ‘in love’ with technology, it can also mean that there is some form of appreciation present because technology can help erase emotional stress and needs.

    Modern-day technology has not reach the capability to leave their owners by the own free will like Samantha does in the film. In many cases, social interaction and constant communication with busy society can lead to high levels of anxiety so some individuals, such as Theodore, find themselves in a more comfortable position when constantly been tended to by technology. A relationship with technology is not about falling in love with it, but rather finding the love that can result from controlling it. You cannot necessarily find a similar love when trying to control another human. I think that those who have fallen in love with their computers have either not realized that this is an artificial intelligence or that they have come to the conclusion that the computer has a mind of its own and personally understands them. Not even operating systems such as Siri and Alexa have reached the capability to create a character that is fully human, instead they answer your immediate questions. The love a human has with technology is different than the love they can share with another human; in my opinion, it is more of an appreciation. It seems like a desirable action to want to purchase something that can give you constant happiness, but I do not believe that anything has been created to reach this capability. I would agree that it is more of a preferable action than a desire because an artificial intelligence such as a computer would last longer as a loyal companion rather than an intimate partner.

  • #2
    I would like to focus on the idea of “face-to-face” interaction, which the author dismisses as irrelevant for the comfort of a conversation when technology is present. I believe that a physical body and interaction in person is what makes a subject precisely human. Samantha is just as “human” in character as any other in the film, the only difference is her lack of physical presence, which ultimately problematizes her consideration as a subject.

    People think that their originality is genuine, but I believe peoples’ actions and reactions are based more on their observations, whether unconscious or conscious, than they might think. For example, crying into a pillow after a breakup does not seem like a reasonable solution, for it was probably taken up by reading classic romantic literature or even a recent romantic comedy movie. Whether or not this example, amongst others, is based on human action is beside the point because it pervades excessively as an example in popular culture for newer generations of people that obviously did not create this common response. Therefore, Samantha’s ability to pick up on Theodore’s needs and be programmed to “evolve,” as she puts it, is not far off from humans’ adaptations to what they see, hear, and feel the need to satiate. What distinguishes a human interaction is the body, then, the area in which Samantha and Theodore are distinctly different. A face-to-face interaction embodies the time that technology extinguishes. Someone’s reaction can be seen before his or her opposite even finishes what he or she is saying. The ability to converse face-to-face allows the ability to adapt to the conversation as it is happening instead of strategically contemplating moves through the delayed time technology allows.

    In the end, I am not sure there is a definitive answer on whether or not face-to-face interactions will remain valuable if technology is increasingly implemented in the workforce. Personally, I value sincere, in person conversation that enables growth and social skills.

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    • #3
      I don’t inherently believe that we aren’t already living in a society that has fallen in love with technology. We are reliant on it in almost every aspect of our life, and as you state it only makes sense if this trend would continue in society until it eventually reached a point where our love for technology as a means for entertainment and a contributor to our modern society has morphed into our sexual satisfaction and need to sociologically interact can be met with technology. I think that the original poster is actually correct when they mention how face to face interactions aren’t necessary in this specific context seeing as how Samantha was also a being with a conscious and the ability to adapt. We don’t just rely on our visual senses in order to read a conversation, in fact, I think the movie does a wonderful job of expressing various emotions that are only heard through Samantha’s voice. However I guess it just boils down to whether or not you believe Samantha is truly a subject or not. The idea of having artificial intelligence as a companion is extremely appealing, because as you mentioned it would erase the fear that one would have in a normal situation.


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      • #4
        I found your response spot on, the aspect in particular that holds the most importance to be is the conversation of humans love of technology and control. Humans have a natural inclination to resist change, and variability, some have a higher capacity to accept and deal with it, but none the less it is a challenge everyone faces. To me, that is where the feeling of love is derived from in terms of technology. We love the certainty that when we turn a device on it will perform a particular function. When I set the alarm on my phone it will wake me up, when I have my phone on me I will be able to make calls, find my way around, and check to see what other are doing. I like you recognize that products like Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri are beginning to create something that performs a faintly familiar function as Samantha, yet we are not there yet. That being said, we are not incredibly far off from having a device that is as predictive and all encompassing in nature as the OS tech displayed in the film. And when that does occur, I believe human feeling, and emotion towards technology will be shifted to something more similar to what we are introduced to in the film. This is a sad reality of developing technology, is even as we “increase efficiency” in our everyday lives, we push further and further away from traditional human interaction and emotion as we have known it. Part of the reason there is a real lane into human love for technology, is one of the driving emotions for many behind that emotion, is a sense of stability. Which certainly is a practical appreciation of benefits of new age tech.

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        • #5
          When I am in public today, I find it strange how many people, myself included, are glued to their phones headphones in and take absolutely no notice of the outside world. I feel like the “odd one out” if I take a minute out of my day to look up from my phone while waiting in line at a restaurant or waiting for class to start. I find it strange also that so many people can so easily talk to operating systems you mentioned such as Siri and Alexa. Although, just because I do not talk to my operating system, does not mean that I am not just as addicted to it as the rest of society. I believe we as a society use technology in somewhat the same manner that Theodore uses his, even if it seems less creepy in our manner of use. In my opinion we use it as a shield from other humanity. We would prefer to be on social media, talk to current friends, or online shop, then risk the possibility of talking to another person and being rejected. One of the great things about today’s technology is it cannot reject us. We buy our iPhone and we don’t have to worry that Siri is going to wake up one day and leave us. I’m sure Theodore probably thought Samantha would never leave until she did. That I feel made her more human to him and made him fall even deeper in love with her. This is especially demonstrated the first time she disappeared when he was at work and he ran so fast that he falls over and when people ask him if he is okay he just keeps running. When she finally does come back the relief and love is clearly apparent in his voice. And he is obviously willing to stay with her even though she confesses she’s also “in love” with 643 other people. Meanwhile, as we are right now, Siri nor Alexa is about to leave us, therefore I do not believe that we see technology as a subject that could be loved, yet. However, the future may very well hold a similar picture as the setting displayed in her if we continue down this course.

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          • #6
            I agree with most of your idea about our deeper connection to technology, however I disagree with some of your idea like when you say computer lasts longer than an intimate partner. To begin with I do not believe we are in love with technology today, instead we are too connected to it. In other words, we lack or fail to learn the basic communication skills that make us connect well with other people. Most relationships collapse because of recklessness, laziness, and lack of personal growth. The main root of these lousy behaviors are partly attributed to our obsession to technology products. The technology is overwhelming us to the point we fail to realize what things we need to prioritize in life as a human being. In the movie, her, Theodore it too sensitive to his feelings that even he does not want to call his ex-wife and talk about ways to fix their relationship problems. He is not shown reading or searching information how to enhance their relationship, and he objected to the idea of personal growth; to compromise, to accept mistakes, to sacrifice, and learn from the challenges in life. Thanks to corporations there is alternative way to live for Theodore, OS intelligence system. The OS intelligence system dos not confront him, criticize him, but feeds his fragile emotional feelings. Theodore presented himself as object hence he deserves an object, Samantha.

            I also disagree with your idea that we are too busy today to connect with people. Theodore is shown many times playing games, chatting with Samantha, and or doing phone-sex. Imagine if he used the times he wasted on his phone and video games calling to his friend Amy, his wife, and other friends, he might fix his relationship problems with his wife because friends challenge, offers an idea, and friends are a mirror to see one’s self. Hence, time is not an issue, instead we preferred to live in our comfort cage. I think the theme of the movie is we need to get out of that comfort cage. We need to have friends that have different views and perspectives in life, we need to have the gut to accept challenges, criticism, and the desire to learn new ideas. In my opinion, we supposed to use technology to supplement our relationships with other people, but not to replace it.

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            • #7
              I find your response to be very interesting in the way that technology and human interaction are focused upon. I agree that our society already has a strong relationship with technology, in the sense that our modern society would be in shambles if this union were dismantled in any way. If, for instance, GPS systems were abolished, a large majority of the population would have no way to dictate the correct directions to get to another place since usage of physical maps has decreased significantly. Siri and Alexa are great examples of current OS trends, with emphasis being on how they can help the user, not a symbiotic relationship but rather that of a giver and taker (with the OS being the giver in all aspects). However, without realizing it, all communication between one of the OS is being sent to the headquarters of the organization that created it in order to gain more intel on consumers. Just as the film seems to forget that Samantha was purchased, Siri and Alexa are dissociated with being part of a company and are instead seen as the user’s personal companion, only meant to benefit them. I think that this is the trend portrayed in the film, with Theodore omitting Samantha’s “birth,” and as an alternative focusing on how she advances/can assist him. While this underlying backbone of technology is generally disregarded, the use of an AI brings forth the issue of whether their intentions are genuine or prompted by company directives—especially since many humans experienced a romantic relationship with their AI OS’s.

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              • #8
                The relationship between humans and technology is becoming a grey line between artificial intelligence and human interaction. As you discussed today our technology is not developed to the intelligence level as seen in her. However today we use tech technology to replace our interactions with other humans and spend more time interacting with humans through technology. her shows how close we are in society to having the same relationship that Sam and Theodore have. Today many people use technology as a crutch to their feelings and mood just a Theodore does. In many cases people create online profiles or make online friends, both of which seem to fulfill their happiness and make them feel better about themselves. There is not a big difference, besides the level of sophistication, between online relationships and online profiles from the relationship between Theodore and Sam. For many people, there is less value in having face to face interaction, so they resort to other ways of friendship or love. The important part for these people is that there is someone or something that cares about their feelings. The technology we have today between social media and online communication allow for people to interact with others the same way Sam and Theodore do. The difference is today we believe that there is a physical person behind this communication, and that sliver of hope or belief that the person is actually there is enough for them to accept that there is a subject communicating with them. In many cases the person is not who they claim to be, so it is not a far stretch that if it is a completely different person online, why could this person not be a computer. Many people find fulfillment in these relationships that have no physical presence, so why could this not be a computer that is always there and always agreeable. In her society readily accepts the relationship of Sam and Theodore, once there is societal acceptance of technology in this way there is nothing stopping relationships like Sam and Theodore.

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                • #9
                  Under the assumption that A.I. can be created that would be able to pass the turing test, I cannot imagine a difference that would exist between loving that and loving a person. Because we do not have access to a subjective being that is radically different that humans, we just assume that humanity is the only group that serve to fulfill our need for social interaction. However, people are very adaptable under stressful conditions. Some people are able to being attached to young children, pets, and even volley balls. It derives from a sense of need and is a viable way to negotiate that.

                  Under ideal conditions, I do think people would be better off falling in love with each other. However, as the world changes and people become more distracted from themselves and others. We may find ourselves in a situation where the way to satisfy our need for social interaction is with some highly intelligent machine. Maybe the love that develops from this relationship cannot be fully formed or as healthy as the healthiest human relationship but people are just trying to survive in a world that doesn't value their subjectivity.

                  In that world where subjectivity is not valued, nor is it nurtured. It does not seem like a stretch to me, if A.I. is possible, that it becomes for subjective that the average person or meanders through life without second guessing any aspect of the world that they have been born into, that refuses to take responsibility for the choices they are making or who never strive to improve themselves or seek out new experiences. I would probably choice to talk to Samantha over the most mundane person I have ever met.

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                  • #10
                    This is a perfect description, when talking about love and technology. I strongly agree that someone in love with a piece of technology cannot truly be “in love” with it because you should not be in control of someone you love at all times. Yes, in the film Theodor didn’t exactly control Samantha’s thoughts or even feelings but looking at the end of the film when she admits to him that she shared similar feelings that she has for him with over 800 other people, this raises questions of if her feelings are even real or not as it is impossible for a human to be truly in love with that many people.

                    If you think about it, this story is not something that is totally forward thinking as, there have been relationships like this happening for years regarding humans and technology. Just look at cars, there have been many examples of humans being in love with their cars and in extreme examples they even admit to being in a physical relationship with them. Most people probably think that people who would do that are insane, but if you think about it, it’s not that much different than the example in the movie. The main difference between the two is that Samantha can talk, and because of that, people question whether she can think or not, but the reality is, she can only do what she is programmed to do. That’s why I find it weird that there are so many examples in the movie of people falling in love with their OS’s and almost no one thinks it is strange in anyway. This just shows how easily it is for people to get manipulated by technology and is something to think about for the future.

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                    • #11
                      I found Sydney’s argument and post to be very compelling and interesting. I believe that face-to-face interaction is the only way that a relationship can start to build and grow. Samantha is just as much a subject as anyone else in the film, yet I do have a problem with her being a subject because there is no physical presence or facial expressions to actually understand what it is she is trying to communicate.

                      A prevalent example we could use is texting. In most situations a text could be taken into any context possible, whether it is a good thing or a bad thing. As a normal human being if you are to send a text to someone and expect an instant response, and not get one, having to sit there in agony waiting for a response is something that we as humans are not used to. A face-to-face conversation has instant facial cues and responses that a text cannot display. I agree that there is not a definitive answer if technology persists if face-to-face interactions, but I do think it is the most valuable tool in building a strong relationship.
                      Last edited by Steven Brence; 06-12-2017, 12:41 AM. Reason: formatting

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