Scarlett Johansson‘s voice wakes you up to persuade you out of bed. Later, while talking about past romances Scarlett’s voice offers heartfelt advice and soothes your fears about love. No this is not a dream, it just might be the future.
Joaquin Phoenix stars in the new film her directed by Spike Jonze. The film is about the blossoming relationship between an artificial intelligence and its user. Phoenix plays melancholy Theodore Twombly while Scarlett Johansson voices “the most advanced operating system in the world” Samantha.
It isn’t impossible to imagine Samantha as a future iteration of iOS or Android virtual assistant software. Apple’s Siri itself is a spin-off of DARPA-funded SRI International’s CALO artificial intelligence project. As computational power increases, the types of information our devices will understand about us will also increase. How might we interact with our computers when we start to see them as counterparts?
Also thought-provoking is examining how our culture may react to these types of relationships. Would you accept a neighbor falling in love with the operating system that runs his home? Could you find yourself becoming best friends with your car? Just like the computational power necessary to make these interactions reality, the need to answer these questions is rapidly approaching us. Consider this, if Japan is already moving quickly to provide robot caretakers for its elderly, what can we expect of a society like ours that is increasingly dependent on virtual assistants?
Release Date: November 20, 2013
Director: Spike Jonze
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, and Olivia Wilde
Score by: Arcade Fire