December 11, 2013
“The more proactive, the more [intelligent assistants] know about you, the more empathetic the interaction will be.” — Gary Clayton, Chief Creative Officer at Nuance Communications
The intersection of man, machine, and love gets the film treatment in Her, an upcoming film by Spike Jonze. The movie chronicles the relationship between a man named Theodore Twombly and his intelligent assistant, played by Scarlett Johansson. Samantha is the name of the operating system of the future that does such a good job adapting to Theodore’s needs, along with the needs of thousands of other people, that he eventually falls for her. An artificially intelligent system ends up capturing a non-artificial heart.
Intelligent assistants like Siri, Google Now, and our own MindMeld, use contextual information to get to know you better. Natural language understanding, information retrieval, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, are all pooled together to make these assistants, like Samantha, possible. Intelligent systems aren’t tangible objects, yet are still integral parts of our lives. As a system’s predictive intelligence expands, there is a very real possibility of it taking on empathetic characteristics, just like Nuance’s Gary Clayton describes. When intelligent assistants get better, they will not only give us what we need, but will eventually know us so well that they will anticipate what we want, similar to how a partner knows us like the back of their hand. The personification of inanimate assistants raises a crop of philosophical questions about what our relationships really mean with them.
Her hits theaters on January 14th. Take a look at the trailer right here and let us know what you think!
(Quote via NYT / Image via Warner Bros. Pictures)