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Author, inventor, futurist and director of engineering at Google.com, Ray Kurzweil, has reviewed Jonze’s film about a man that falls in love with an artificial intelligence. Kurzweil is perhaps the best equipped to review the film, given his background as not only a high-profile public advocate of the futurist and transhumanist movements, but as the man who popularised the idea  Singularity, that at the hypothetical point in time when AI overtakes human intelligence, civilization and perhaps human nature will change radically.

He claims that the film is a “breakthrough concept in cinematic futurism in the way that The Matrix presented a realistic vision that virtual reality will ultimately be as real as, well, real reality.”

Another reason “Her” is so successful is that, unlike many futuristic films that introduce one new technology without really changing the rest of the world to fit. Jonze’s film portrays “a somewhat futuristic world in which the leap to human-level AIs is not so implausible.”

“I would place some of the elements in Jonze’s depiction at around 2020, give or take a couple of years, such as the diffident and insulting videogame character he interacts with, and the pin-sized cameras that one can place like a freckle on one’s face. Other elements seem more like 2014, such as the flat-panel displays, notebooks and mobile devices…Samantha herself I would place at 2029, when the leap to human-level AI would be reasonably believable.”

Kurzweil also discusses avatar technology, which he believes would advance in proportion to AI, and various technical glitches. He concludes by giving his predictions for the future of AI; that “biological humans will not be outpaced by the AIs because they (we) will enhance themselves (ourselves) with AI.”

The future won’t have such a separation between humans and AI, but will rather be a collaboration. “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.”

Matt Derody

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