Saturday, March 08, 2014

Can you really fall in love with "HER"?

Disclaimer: If you have visited this page thinking that I am going to reveal everything about my past / present / secret / "what-nots" with an actual woman, gotcha! This post is about the movie "HER" and contemplating the possibilities of this scenario actually happening in real life.

Short review of the movie - "HER"

"HER" is a movie where the protagonist falls in love with an OS. Yes, I know, it sounds awkward and ridiculous. But watch the movie completely before you make a judgement. Its a futuristic movie in terms of technology. Talking to your machine while it records everything correctly with punctuation is the norm. The hero (Joaquin Phoenix, awesome) of the movie is passing through a painful divorce. One day he overhauls his existing OS (Operating System) with a new one with Artificial Intelligence. He goes ahead and discovers that the OS has a voice - male / female. He chooses the female voice. The concept of the OS is to understand the user and evolve the intellectual capability accordingly. She (since the voice is feminine) is just like a personal assistant who can help clean up everything that's remotely digital. The protagonist starts understanding the OS and vice versa and this develops into a relationship which neither can avoid. Then some cracks arise (akin to a real human relationship) and the way they sort it out and then eventually the climax (revealing it will spoil everything). I personally found the movie intense, "A" rated, emotional, sensitive and completely based on justifiable situations. Kudos to the director (Spike Jonze) to come up with a concept like this and actually making it work! The only negative aspect of the movie was the length (2+ hrs). The emotions displayed are so stretched to make this movie into a semi-art film. However, a movie worth watching.

Now the question - Can this really happen? Can you really love "HER"? Can anyone fall in love with an OS?

Your immediate answer would be a resounding "NO". This is bizarre to say the least. I agree with you, I felt the same way too. But then don't you think that a lot of things happening in this world are actually bizarre? Don't you think we are slowing moving towards anticipating such a relation to happen somewhere in this world. Isn't the technology moving towards making our gadgets more human with emotional feel? Samsung tagged one of their mobile as a phone with a "human touch" and "Life Companion". Nokia allows users to "dress up" their devices with various colors giving it a distinct persona. Even my device (Galaxy S3) knows what I am searching in Google (using Google Now app) and suggests me options based on my search. I don't even need to search on my device, I can search on my laptop or any other device in this world provided I am logged in to Google. You can call it intrusion, but you won't deny the fact that its actually a personal touch. I mean, my phone knows what I am looking for and is trying to help me out. Isn't the movie an extension to what's currently happening in this world?

We humans have a tendency to share our emotions with others - be it happy, sad, elation, nervousness etc. The "others" I mentioned are usually considered as humans / God. That someone can be a family member / friend / even a stranger. Just a walk in the park will convince you that most of us are interacting with their gadgets - listening to radio / playing games / chatting on messaging apps / talking. There's an headset always attached as if its actually a part of the human body. Now consider this - what if the device starts talking to you and helping you use the gadget better / rearrange your life better? Isn't that possible? In that case, wouldn't you be more inclined to share your feelings with the device? After all, you are always with your device 24*7 even if the same duration doesn't apply to your close ones.

The world was intended to be a place where we interact with fellow humans and share the best practices to live a happy and safe life. Then gadgets emerged primarily as a need to interact with people not physically present near us. Dependence on gadgets have increased to such a level now that we don't even need humans around us. Gadgets have actually replaced humans. That's where this movie is relevant. As much as I hate to say this, I strongly feel we are just a decade or two away from such a relationship to emerge. And when it does emerge, we will only have ourselves to blame.


  1. This seems like such a fascinating idea. Falling in love with an OS! Well it cant be bizarre because at times I feel my husband has the same problem :D

    But to love is to understand - to listen, to be heard to vent out feelings. It is something above appearances, make ups and physique. And I guess that aspect of love is conquered in this movie.

  2. This seems fascinating for sure. But scary too.. This would mean we will be comfortable with someone who we cant see and still be fine with it..

    PS: My wife feels I am already in love with my laptop (not the OS) :D

  3. It's an awesome movie which failed to watch. I feel that we humans will come back to traditional way to interaction which is face to face. These days people are addicted to Tech. You can see almost anywhere that two people will be sitting but each one will be busy on their mobiles. I guess your last line says it all, we cannot blame other humans also when we ourselves are addicted to tech. One person by Daniel Goleman, has done a research which shows that, our human body is naturally made to connect face to face conversation. So it's just a matter of time before we understand the importance of human relationships..:)

    1. I wish you are right Prashanth. I however feel the reverse is beginning to happen. We interacting with devices will increase compared to our interaction with humans. And it will reach such alarming levels that there wont be turning back.


All yours..

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