Her: The Future of Technology
I was excited to see the movie Her when it first came out in theaters. Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to it until a week ago. But the movie really gave me a lot to think about. Sure, it’s easy to mock someone who falls in love with his computer. How dorky, right? Wrong.
The world established by Her is practical, but also far removed from our own. I’m not sure what year it takes place, but most contact is done through a small ear piece that people wear all the time. The main character, Theodore, buys a new operating system for his house. It basically schedules his life. What fascinated me the most is that Theodore’s job is writing letters. Love letters, hate letters, letters of condolences. But letters for other people.
I like the idea that people in this society still value written letters, but I find it disheartening that the letters are written by strangers. When Theodore gains attention for his beautiful writing, he constantly says that they aren’t his letters. Yes, he wrote them. But they were for and about other people.
But when you’re talking to something that’s given human-like traits and voice inflections, and you have that voice in your ear all day, wouldn’t that voice become familiar?
Multiple times we experience Theodore calling a phone sex agency, speaking to women through the phone. Theodore longs for human interaction, living a fairly introverted life. The feminine voice of his operating system sounds the same as the women he calls for sex. In fact, he established a long term connection with his operating system, hearing her voice from when he wakes up until he goes to bed.
The connotations of this moving are alarming. The “futuristic” world doesn’t look all that futuristic. Actually, the style seems like an ode to the fifties with sprinkling of advanced technology. With the rate of technology and phone technology, who knows where we could be in just a few years. Xbox gaming systems now use voice and motion activated sensors to heighten game play.
I’ll admit how important my social media is to me. I’m constantly updating my Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and my website. (The majority of this post was written on my iPhone sitting in the LaGuardia Airport waiting to go home.) When I’m bored, I unconsciously go to Facebook on my phone. The Internet provides a kind of escape from the world without feeling disconnected.
The cinematography of the film was very well done, and Joaquin Phoenix did a beautiful job portraying Theodore. Her really made me reflect on the direction our society is headed. Watch this movie to enjoy the love story. Watch it to see Amy Adams or Olivia Wilde. But also watch it to reflect on what your technology really means to you, and to what extent that relationship could be tested.