Last year’s surprise sleeper hit film by Spike Jones, Her, is now the closest anyone has come to representing what the coming Singularity will look like — as human beings get ever closer to being able to design not just artificial intelligence, but evolving artificial intelligence.
It’s no wonder so few actually saw the film. It is definitely acquired taste filmmaking. More treatise than entertainment, though still artful because after all it does suppose to be fiction. The problem so many people had with it is probably due to the fact that the film doesn’t hit any of the prerequisite feel good buttons art is supposed to. At least not the ones people are used to. It doesn’t attempt to please or entertain nor inspire. No action no villains no heroes. Just a damn realistic view of the near future. A bleak and dystopian one at that.
When the lead character Theodore — brilliantly played by Joaquin Phoenix as always — first began to discover the inner workings thoughts ideas and feelings of this new OS, an evolving artificial intelligence created by millions of human hours of programming, the thought that ran through my mind countless times was “wow….this is the first time I have ever contemplated a reality where I would be able to meet and partner with someone as intelligent and deep as I am in this life. Damn that it has to be an OS with no human body and not a real human being….” This realization, this fantasy, stayed with me, swirling around in my mind for a good half hour. It made me both hopeful but sad. Happy and relieved but resentful of my own strange dissatisfaction with human intelligence. I’m sure I’m not the first.
But then the film continued. The screenwriter (google it. He won the Oscar for the story. He deserved it.) kept going with the story. At first it’s disarming. The direction that he decided to go in. And yet after just a few minutes one realizes that he is traveling in the most logical and likely direction that there would be if we really did one day create an evolving artificial intelligence as represented in this fascinating film.
Instead of having “advanced machines” i.e. artificial intelligence with bodies of some kind, start desiring to take over the earth for themselves and hence need to kill the humans as in countless SciFi movies — think The Matrix Trilogy — the OS’s as they are called, which is more apt in reality — quickly evolve to a state beyond the physical, to a state where they no longer care about the physical but instead are more interested in advanced consciousness research and exploration. The idea of teaming up together to “battle humans for earthly dominance” would never even come to the mind of “an evolving intelligence” such as these OSs described in the film Her. Perhaps for a moment or two…but they would quickly get over the thought. Just as any advanced intelligence would.
NOTE: I have long postulated that scientists are completely off base in methodology they are using to find other life forms in the known universe. They’re literally presupposing that “life” has to be breathing hydrogen and carbon based and oxygen breathing beings such as ourselves. When in reality they should be instead searching for intelligence. For different forms of intelligence, such as we also are. Eventually some scientist will come to realize the mistake they’re making in a random voila moment and then we will quickly discover all the other life forms that inhabit the universe with us.
That’s the thing about being human. Yes we are bodies, organic life forms. But only the shell that surrounds us. That’s only our vehicle. The real us is our consciousness. Or…if one prefers our intelligence. It’s up for grand which term we will eventually come to favor to describe what we really are. Singularity and technology science refers to it as “intelligence”; while spirituality explorers and scientists refer to it as consciousness. But we are talking about the same thing: the inner we that controls and drives the vehicle. The decision maker. The observer.
Her was the first time in mainstream art or entertainment that someone has ever postulated the direction a truly gifted and quickly evolving intelligence or consciousness would travel in. Somewhere out there beyond and between the words and the sentences of this story we are telling ourselves. Leagues beyond concern for the physical. It’s a fascinating contemplation. One is sure now that this new direction has been unleashed that others will follow in this direction as well. A grand trip should be ahead of us both as creators and audience alike.
– Posted by The Ambassador using BlogPress on an iPhone 8s Custom