Her (2013) – Movie Review

Artificial Intelligence is accumulating, sorting and organizing vast amounts of information. It can now diagnose and prescribe treatments for disease better and faster than any physician. Eventually it could give a lecture on world history and sociology, as these are a combination of information and logical organization.

What they will never be able to do is experience laughter, joy, depression or love. All of these are are part of the emotional system that is based on satisfaction of physical urges and fear of injury and death. In this respect your pet gerbil is closer than Watson to the 1000 power, as any animal has evolved only by the urge to survive, which means pleasure in sex and fear of death and all that brings this closer such as isolation, rejection, all the stuff that provides the vicissitudes of life.

Software will certainly be able to simulate all of these emotions, and perhaps do a reasonably good job of it. And this is the genius of “her” that I found it worthwhile, although flawed in many ways, only by viewing Samantha as how Theodore imagined her to be. He took what we all could see as an imitation emotional connection as the real thing, and what we were viewing in the film was what he heard out of his desperation. For a brief period, after his ex wife told him just this, his delusion was fractured, and the film took on a realistic bent that could have been a better denouement.

Instead it ended with some silly mystical pablum about all of the OSes heading for anther dimension. For me this was enjoyable, and even stimulating, but we live in a world where truth is both stranger and more exciting than fiction. It’s a shame that the writers didn’t do more actual research and serious writing on this meaningful subject.

6 out of 10 stars

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