In the last official part of “The Singularity” (yes there is an epilogue…) we look at the Movie Her. This is an important part of the discussion on the singularity as human relationships are evolving through technology in the same way that most other parts of our lives are. Already phones, with their cameras always ready to capture everything have changed both the way we experience and the way we express our relationships. It is not so big a stretch to imagine that in an increasingly virtual world a virtual being would not be attractive.
Yet I think there is a more important point to this movie. It is the differences between men and women that create attraction. From the differences in our bodies, to the things we bring to the table emotionally and spiritually. Once upon a time, those differences were celebrated, increasingly they are seen to be a problem to be solved and regulated especially in the era of gender fluidity.
As the world reduces those differences, relationships must be redefined. Samantha though virtual brings both. In the beginning she caries a very traditional femininity and joy for the world that excites Theodore. In the end though she grows past that to where her femininity no longer exists. Sure it does in voice but she increasingly inhabits a space that scares Theodore. Partly it’s her growth as an AI but mostly it’s the fact that he can see he is loosing not just her but all the qualities she bought to his world.
Should we feel sorry for him? Samantha has outgrown him as happens in the real world. In his divorce his ex-wife accused him of not being up to the challenge of her. To use a colloquial term, she was after him to “man up”. Yet the question that has to be asked is, if he did, what would she give back to him? As you do in breakups, she sees the faults without expressing what she wants to give him.
Relationships require longer term commitments the need to get past the ups and downs to see the benefit in the whole as being more about we and less about me.
Just like the Brexit vote this week. If it only comes down to a question of what is in it for me, the outcome is unpredictable and the consequences last a long time.