I personally think that the movie Her directed by Spike Jonze should be added to the class. The reason that I recommend this movie is due to the perspective it has on human and technology and the relationship between the two. The reason that I think that this movie should be incorporated is due to the opposite viewpoint it has on technology and human relationships in that it sees it as something beautiful and beneficial. I was a firm believer in AI being evil due to other movies such as The Matrix, Alien Covenant, and A.I. Artificial Intelligence. These movies show the negative sides of AI and how they will ultimately take over the human race. Her lets the audience see the beauty that can be created and how in the end we are still separate from one another and can still learn from one another.
The movie is all about a man and how he falls in love with an AI’s voice. This movie shows how a relationship between organic and inorganic being can exist in a peaceful manner. I think that this would fit in with the classes topics of Digital Consumer. The main character Theodore is a consumer of these AI and often cannot see himself living without his AI girlfriend. The reason that this movie is so captivating and interesting is because when we think of consuming media we think of physical things that we can interact with. This movie shows the audience that you can become dependent on media even if it is not physical. This type of consumption is one that shows the emotional side of technology and how it can control every aspect of out lives. Theodore cannot think of spending time with a real woman because with his AI girlfriend he can have her at his disposal whenever he needs. She is always there for him no matter what. He doesn’t have to worry about her finding someone else because she is HIS. This movie makes you think that she is his when really he is HERS (hint to why the title of the movie is the way that it is). This movie is also a direct opposite take on the Black Mirror episode Nosedive. Technology actually helps people connect with themselves in Her compared to the fake idea of self love seen in Nosedive.
I think that the assignment I would assign is to watch this movie and then have a discussion on what the message of the movie is. I know that a lot of my friends think that this movie is showing us that AI is manipulative and only wants to benefit itself, but I would disagree. I think that this movie shows how AI is caring and wants to better those that interact with it. AI is something that wants to help and make every single human the best version of theirselves. The other half of the assignment would be to partner up with someone and talk to them for two days on the phone for at least an hour. I would like to see how the absence of not talking to that person would feel. Whether they feel the need to talk to that person or not.
If you are considering making this an assignment please let me know! I think it would be a great experience to see the positive relationships between technology and humans and how that would change people’s perspectives.