I know that many of us go by the saying, “Love is Love” which is great however, the idea of a romantic relationship between humans and technology is absolutely asinine to me! Some may say, “woah that’s a little far fetch” or “you’re being a little dramatic,” but I think not. Soon you’ll see where I am going with this. I have never seen the movie Her but the fact that this movie poses the idea of such an advanced AI becoming a man’s companion due to her excellent performance, brings me great worry. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to bash the movie or the article because there were some interesting observations made. Namely, the main character, Theo, was living in the “future” but the technology in his apartment was not as advanced as we traditionally imagined what future technology would be like–it was nothing like what the Jetsons had. The writer said, “We decided that the movie wasn’t about technology or if it was, that technology should be invisible… Technology hasn’t disappeared, in other words. It’s dissolved into everyday life.” Now when I read this, I thought, “Hmm this sounds good. Okay, a new perspective–I like, I like.” However, as I continued reading, there was a statement that caused me to feel a little obscure. The article notes, “Technology is more people centric…where a new generation of designers and consumers have accepted that technology isn’t an end itself–that its the real world we’re supposed to be connecting to.” FLAG ON THE PLAY!
Before I proceed in expressing what I disagree with, I would like to note that the notion of technology not being the driving force of the demise of humanity is rather intriguing. In reality, I want nothing more than for humanity and technology to coexist happily and fluidly; however, I feel that the second portion of this quote suggests that the best option for our world is to have technology in it, and anything different is less valuable. I feel like it further demonstrates our strong dependency on technology, and that is the problem I feel we need to solve. I feel like we should have a “I could take it or leave it mentality”, simply because it shows that we do not depend on it for our happiness. Call me old school but I think it is better for society to have a rigid separation between interacting with technology, and human to human interaction or even just time to one’s self. I appreciated the analysis of the smart house versus the smart phone because there is a clear difference in the demand of attention for both. It is obvious that the smart house allows one continue doing their daily activities while engaging in technology use, hence its lesser demand for attention. The idea of this is awesome, because there are plenty of times where I wish I could respond to text messages while doing other tasks. On the other side, you have the smart phone, where you have to do one task at a time and requires way more attention. This can be a major inconvenience, but the thing that I like about this is that it gives me the option to separate from technology, or to engage. It gives me the option to choose.
The example of the smart house lighting different rooms as Theo moves through the house, is symbolic for how technology follows you everywhere like a shadow–depriving you of the opportunity to just be. Having that option is more healthy for society, in my opinion. It allows the value of human interaction to still be great, and allows it to remain authentic. For example, by using the earplug they suggested, one could have an in person conversation, but still receive information from the outside world all at the same time. That is rude to me, and it lessens the value of that in person interaction. I said all of that to say that the more we incorporate technology into our lives, and give it such a dominant position in our lives, the less human we become. Then this leads to humans falling in love with software. Then what happens to our future generations? It is not technology that births children, that nurtures, that understands the emotional changes that humans experience. It is people! There must be a separation, and there must be a balance.
By Victoria Robbins