In a somewhat unsettling New York Times op-ed, columnist Frank Bruni presents some provocative ruminations on our increasingly close relationship with technology – so close, in fact, that not only has the virtual world already largely conquered the traditional porn industry but has also begun what may be an inexorable drift toward actual romantic attachment.
As Bruni notes, this also happens to be the theme of what appears to be an intriguing new film entitled “Her” from acclaimed director Spike Jonze in which Scarlett Johanssen is cast (sort off…) as a near-future version of Siri that becomes (sort of…) intimately “entangled” with a loner played by Joaquin Phoenix. The movie has already drawn considerable controversy and conversation – not just due to its subject matter – but because Johanssen was recently ruled ineligible for a Golden Globe nomination on the grounds that her “acting” was accomplished merely through the form of a disembodied (yet admittedly rather alluring) voice as opposed to a more traditional on-screen presence. (I guess that means no Golden Globes for the actual Siri either. Well, at least not this year.)
Bruni concludes as follows:
“Economists have sounded the alarm about what [technological advancement] could mean for employment and the distribution of wealth. It falls to artists to contemplate what this could mean for psyches and souls, and “Her” imagines a society in which human beings are so thoroughly marginalized that they’re being edited out of courtship and companionship, because they’re superfluous, messy. It’s a love story as horror story. If we no longer need anyone in the passenger seat, do we need anyone at all?”
Hmmmm… I’d personally have to guess that there are a lot of married folks out there with VERY different answers to that question.
That said, I’ll make up my own mind after watching the movie.