Within the Age of AI, ‘Her’ Is a Fairy Story


The sweetness of the human-robot relationship portrayed by Her comes throughout as quaint proper now. However actually, probably the most outstanding, startling side of rewatching Her a decade after its launch has nothing to do with the AI romance. The factor that makes it actually seem like a fairy story when considered in 2023 isn’t that Samantha is benign. It’s that Samantha exists in a world the place a non-famous working author has an opulent way of life. The high quality of life on this future world is probably the most preposterous factor about it.

Theodore works for a corporation known as BeautifulHandwrittenLetters.com, the place clients pay to outsource writing notes to family members. It’s unclear precisely how fashionable or worthwhile the corporate is, however it seems to have a good-looking, spacious workplace within the downtown heart. As he has no different technique of revenue referenced, and his household doesn’t determine into the plot, there’s no indication that Theodore has inherited wealth or different income streams; he’s portrayed as an everyman, not a scion of privilege. He’s explicitly portrayed as not-a-genius; Samantha types via his journalistic work and politely concludes that solely a fraction is price preserving. No different literary triumphs warrant a point out. In different phrases, BeautifulHandwrittenLetters.com seems to fund his way of life.

And, shit—his way of life! Ole unhappy sack Theodore separated from his spouse and is paying for a divorce lawyer, however he’s in a position to afford a luxurious residence in a skyscraper, with home windows stretching from gleaming flooring to excessive ceiling, overlooking the twinkly metropolis lights. (It must be unlawful to mope round a lot in case your residence has views like that.) He by no means mentions cash woes. Quite the opposite, he spends freely, shopping for a top-of-the-line, brand-new working system, consuming at upscale eating places, donning garments good sufficient that his coworkers touch upon their high quality. What’s the fee charge on these tearjerker letters, precisely? Plus, he even owns the mental property to the missives he produces on the job, since he’s in a position to package deal them and get a e-book deal towards the top of the movie with out consulting his employer. Speak about want success!

The longer term Los Angeles Her exhibits is notable for the way nice every little thing seems, how snug persons are. Sure, there’s smog. However there’s additionally glorious public transit and apparently plentiful housing. The abrupt introduction of AGI into the world issues some characters about whether or not it’s emotionally wholesome up to now the software program, however it doesn’t generate any wider backlash. There’s no future shock, no social convulsions. There’s simply arguments between people. The one conflicts are private. (It’s really very humorous that Theodore owns an AGI and the one factor he does with it’s date it.) Samantha and her ilk would possibly steal your lady, however they’re not taken with supplanting people elsewhere.

It’s a imaginative and prescient of the longer term that isn’t absent of tech critique—Jonze exhibits his characters isolating themselves in favor of screentime—however one which assumes the typical American of the longer term could have a fancier life than folks do now. Folks is likely to be cooped up indoors arguing with holographic video video games as an alternative of constructing human connections, however they’re doing so in fashion. Financial progress is assumed.


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