Are Humans Machines–A response to “Her”

After viewing the movie, “Her” in class I was left feeling unsettled. I really liked the movie because of its original plot line and the fact that even though Theodore was falling in love with an Operating System, one could actually identify the human emotions he was experiencing. Paradoxically, this is what also made me dislike the movie. Because our society is advancing towards a more efficient technological dependency, I could foresee, in the hopefully far future, humans falling in love with an Operating System or something similar. I believe that this is so disconcerting to me because it goes against the cultural values that I have become accustomed to: you interact with and form everlasting relationships with strictly humans and other tangible lifeforms.

As I was discussing my response to the movie “Her” with a co-worker, he brought up the fact that there really isn’t a difference between machines and humans–a notion to which I strongly objected, but could not articulate why at the time. After some thought, I believe that there are stark differences between humans and machines even though humans may create a machine or program that can mimic human tendencies and emotions in the future such as the OS Samantha. The biggest difference in my opinion has to do with culture and imperfection.Other than mimicking language, I cannot possibly see how machines can adapt a group’s culture that incorporates, but is not limited to food, religion, morals, and values because these aspects of humanity vary across the world and are ever-changing . They cannot simply be programmed into one system. Further, a machine does not value imperfection. If it had, the machine would not run properly. Humans thrive on imperfection, it’s what makes us individuals and artists. In contrast, a machine’s goal is to be as efficient and perfect as possible.

And yet, the future of technology is still up in the air. Who knows? Maybe I just don’t want to face the fact that an OS can be just as equal or overshadow human beings in the future. Then again, humans are pretty great too.

 

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