Anyone that knows me well knows that I love books and movies. I love getting entrenched in a good story line. I really and truly believe that a story, whether written or performed, can be a window into another persons perspective of the world. When taken in aggregation these stories are a really good way to get a pulse on the topics that are on the forefront of our global consciousness.
My wife and I went and saw Her by Spike Jones recently. This isn't going to be a movie review so it should be spoiler free. Instead this is going to be a commentary on a particular aspect of the movie. But I'll start off saying that Her is one of the best movies I have seen recently and I would suggest that you take some time to go see it.
The story-line has many levels to it and you can choose to invest yourself as deep as you'd like and still feel like you 'get it' when you walk out of the movie. I like these types of movies because I can watch them over and over and pick up on a new level to the story each time.
What really impressed me about this film initially is it's use of technology. The movie is set in the not to distant future. But honestly, the way Spike Jones made this it doesn't really matter when. He did such a wonderful job of making it feel like the future while also making it feel like it is our future. Most movies in the genre go too far, IMO, in trying to clue the viewer in that they're watching the future that they make me feel disconnected.
Her kept me feeling connected for a few reasons. First, the technology felt real. What I mean by that is that while most of the technology isn't really possible today it didn't feel like it would be too much of a stretch for us to get there from where we're at. Second, I think Her answers a question that we've been trying to answer for the past half decade. And that question is: what would it really look like to live in a world where we don't have to think about integrating our devices together? A world where the technology boundaries exist but don't feel present.
In the movie the main character is interacting with his operating system via an all-in-one computer at home, the cloud, a mobile device, and an ear piece very akin to how Ender and Jane communicate in the Enders Game series. This interaction is seamless and flawless in my opinion. The mobile device is context aware and multipurpose. At one point it's a second screen used to help illustrate a conversation, in another it's used as we would to check email, and yet in another it's a video input device used to provide context.
What makes these interactions really work is that I don't have to think about the interactions. I don't have to be aware of how the mobile and the all-in-one are connected. I don't have to think about how the cloud is setup (and neither do the characters in the movie). This movie really does a good job of positing what the world could look like if we continue down the path of always connected while simultaneously fixing our current problem of integration. It makes this a world I could imagine living in and enjoying.