I recently watched the trailer for ‘Her’. A wonderful looking movie, featuring the voice of Scarlett Yohanson, as a plucky AI who reaches the heart of a man who appears to have lost all hope following the break up from the love of his life.
Many people can probably relate to that sole crushing isolation that comes from a break up, a bad childhood or a traumatic event, or that isolation that persists into later life even when you’re in a relationship or marriage.
I wonder would this really help us free ourselves of that pain? In many ways I think it could. There’s something that comes with dealing with computers for example: a logic, a reliability amidst the chaos of life. We attain the comforting knowledge that if we perform certain tasks and follow the rules then the flashing screen before us will do what we want.
When it comes to AI I’m guessing it’s going to work (or at least start to work) from a series of rules and strategies. If all AI’s were interconnected then they’d also learn from one another, seeing which tactics are successful and which go too far. This improving ability could come in the form, or feel, of getting to know someone better over time.
What I think would be crucial is what the AI is programmed to do. Will it be programmed to be a constant companion so that we develop a reliance upon their usefulness and the feelings we develop for them or will they push us to go beyond ourselves and free us of our fears.
It seems strange but ultimately I believe that whether we love another person or an A.I. is irrelevant, because in order to love another we must in fact love ourselves so every relationship we have is really internal…