Spike Jonze’s Her has sparked conversation about the future of artificial intelligence and how soon the movie will become reality.
For those unfamiliar with the film, Her is the story of a lonely divorcé, Theodore Twombly, played by Joaquin Phoenix, who falls in love with his OS system, Samantha, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. The movie takes place in the near future and centers around the idea that people are always in pursuit of intimate connection. In a recent blog post, distinguished futurist and Google Engineer Ray Kurzweil says that the AI power of Samantha will exist by 2029. Samantha lacks a body, and that obviously creates an awkward problem for Twombly, but Kurzeil is sure that that won't be an issue for the Twomblys of the future.
"There are also methods to provide the tactile sense that goes along with a virtual body," Kurzweil explains. "These will soon be feasible, and will certainly be completely convincing by the time an AI of the level of Samantha is feasible."
That statement alone can allude to a frightening future where robots surpass the intelligence of humans, something known as the Singularity. However, Kurzweil refutes the hyperbolic prediction with this statement:
"In my view, biological humans will not be outpaced by the AIs because they (we) will enhance themselves (ourselves) with AI. It will not be us versus the machines (whether the machines are enemies or lovers), but rather, we will enhance our own capacity by merging with our intelligent creations. We are doing this already. Even though most of our computers — although not all — are not yet physically inside us, I consider that to be an arbitrary distinction."
Kurzeil also touches on topics covered in Her such as creating avatars, human surrogates, and why Samantha will exist and evolve like she did in the movie, just not as quickly.
To read the complete blog post, click here.