Can the Technology of Her One Day Be a Reality?

Posted by David Konow

The movie Her has gotten rave reviews, and it’s also caused a bit of Oscar controversy because Scarlett Johansson wasn’t nominated. It’s certainly raised real issues about what constitutes an Academy Award winning performance, especially when you can’t see the actor in the film, or when an actor is doing a motion control performance, a la Andy Serkis. 

There are also a lot of questions being raised about whether the scenario of Her can one day become a reality. Can somebody really fall in love with a robotic voice? Dag Kittlaus, the co-creator of Siri, weighed in on this in a humorous op-ed piece in Variety. 
 
First Kittlaus pointed out the relationship between Hollywood and technology. He mentioned that Spielberg asked around Silicon Valley about what kind of technology we’d have in fifty years before he made Minority Report, and that Siri absolutely took a few cues from 2001’s HAL 9000, and Knight Rider’s KITT. So of course when he watched Her, he wondered, “Is that possible right now? Can we really make a dent in solving the ‘loneliness problem?’”
 
This of course wasn’t the goal of Siri. She was supposed to be your digital personal assistant. What you saw in Her had more intelligence, and maybe Siri could get there one day as well, “but don’t hold your breath.” For a real scenario like this to happen, Samantha, the computer system in Her “needs to understand the vast spectrum of elements that make up emotion, conversation and even the ability to observe and share in the world around her. That’s no small feat in the world of software.” 
 
No doubt, but we wouldn’t be surprised if some mad techie’s trying his brains out to create something like Samantha that we can all enjoy, and possibly fall in love with, in the future.