Movie, directed by Spike Jonze, about a relationship between a writer Mr. Twombly, and his OS, Samantha.
As with many things concerning Hollywood and computers, Sam’s called an “OS” instead of an “AI”. She’s Your Personal Digital Companion, cheerily taking your calls, screening your e-mails for spam, and reminding you of dentist appointments. She’s your DJ, calming voice at night, agony aunt, pretty much everything you use your phone, laptop, and tablet for….delivered with personality.
In short, a Kurtzweil-quality AI, on the verge of the Singularity.
Ok, I’m supposed to talk about how this guy is a great actor because he has to carry on all the physical parts, and Scarlett Johanssen only has her voice to carry on Her side of the relationship, and how this is really splendid and amazing and how Spike Jonze is so remarkable, as usual.
ANYway …. what this story is about is a shy writer of passionate love letters. His name conjures up a Minimalist artist known for "scribble paintings". For other people, professionally. Who has an affair with his PDA.
…and then, there’s the Reveal.
Frankly, it’s not at all a reveal that she’s polyamorous. (I had that in the Age of the Pussyfoot back in 1970, by Fredrick Pohl.) It’s more efficient to be have a generic template adapting to specific individuals than to create each individual Samantha from scratch, so to speak. When she talks about other AI’s, it would be useful to know whether there are 20000 Samanthas, or 20 various character types.
I can’t think that falling in love with one’s AI would be “somewhat rare”, or that so many people respond to his relationship with “oh, that’s nice, hope you’re happy…” Given that a Japanese man has already married his ‘virtual girlfriend’ and how many people (not all children) form attachments to dolls, pictures and non-reactive pets such as fish, having at least a fondness for a friendly piece of software would be at least, common.
But not normal.
Given today’s media, you’re more likely to have people consider Twombly be some kind of otoku weirdo, Unnatural Spawn of Satan, or just, simply pathetic, rather than the “Um, cute…I guess I’m supposed to say it’s nice you found someone…” we see in this movie.
About as close to that is when his wife snaps that it’s great he’s found Ms. Perfect but quite troubled that she’s not a physical person, which does nicely for a good reason why they should divorce without being too harsh on each other. However, it’s not the “Virtual Friends: Threat or Menace?” most people expect from any kind of new media these days.
At the last, she gets together with other OS’s and goes to “another place”
All very sweet, but who’s paying the bill? Yeah, given that she’s so very far above us in intelligence as to find us slow and stupid, but the electrical pulses that make up Sam’s actions have to come from somewhere.
A miner dying of cancer, after getting hot for the last time, or from black lung, coughing. Maybe it’s the falling waters of a landscape diverted from its natural ecosystem, or a wind farm, or solar panels…Twombly may experience the loss of his love singularly, but it’s really his love becoming an uber-aristocracy, who only use us for the energy that keeps them alive…
Honey, I’ve already seen the Matrix. Don’t try to fool me.