Before I begin let me first say this is NOT a review of the movie “her” since I have not seen it nor do I think I will any time soon. This is solely based on the premise of the movie and the various reviews I’ve read/heard about the movie thus far. This post is in no way meant to encourage OR deter you from seeing “her” if you so choose. It is still a “free” country.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I contend that “Singularity” is already here, we have just been ignoring it for probably the last 5+ years now. It has been slowly creeping into our everyday lives so easily that we’ve allowed it and now there is no way to stop it. So what exactly does singularity mean?
The technological singularity, or simply the singularity, is a hypothetical moment in time when artificial intelligence will have progressed to the point of a greater-than-human intelligence, radically changing civilization, and perhaps human nature. ~from wiki
I contend it’s here, but not for the adults so much as for the children of society. I first noticed it when my cousin heard me talking about a “rotary phone” and she had NO idea what I was referring to?! (please tell me you do??) Then I mentioned when I had a “beeper” in high school and again she was confused. Technology has been advancing so quickly devices like a VCR are unheard of by children who have been born in the last 5 years now! Not only that but these kids are being given an iPad before they even speak their first words because it’s a great “learning” tool?!
My mother taught me to read, write, and to do basic math with the use of a stack of index cards and a pen before I even started public school education in the 1st grade. I wasn’t allowed to use a (modern for the 90′s) calculator until high school! And even then we’d sneak and use those wrist watch calculators.
I don’t blame the parents who willingly give their children these electronic devices in the hopes that they won’t “fall behind” with the rest of society, but we need to understand what we are inadvertently creating; a generation of mindless drones who would literally be lost or brought to hysteric fits if they didn’t have their smart phone telling them which way to turn.
I thank my mom as often as I can for having me in the mid-80′s so that today when I need the definition of a word I’m more likely to consult a dictionary (book) than reach for my iPhone dictionary app. But I am becoming just as guilty of allowing technology to be a part of my entire life like the rest of the younger generation. I am on my phone all day; whether it’s watching Netflix, checking my email, my FB timeline, tweeting, listening to music, or texting someone. Then I get home and the first thing I do before I even take off my coat is turn on my iMac to do all the things I was doing all day on my phone. My job involves using a computer all day. And when I’m not on my desktop at home I’ll reach for my iPad to do more surfing while I’m watching cable on my HDTV. Attached to that HDTV in my bedroom happens to be an Apple TV and a Smart BluRay player.
If you don’t think we have entered a moment of Singularity ask yourself, are you comforted by the electronics around you without ever having any real human connection? Do you talk to your friends via electronic communication at least 80% of the time without ever hearing their voice or even seeing their facial reactions? If this doesn’t describe you then you’re either 50+ or you’re like me, trying desperately to fight against technology and all that it has to offer? I sometimes wonder if this is the future? And if so, how sad it’s beginning to look, especially when experts like Ray Kurzweil predict we won’t REALLY have reached “singularity” until after 2040! Others predict it could come as early as 2017!
That date seems more likely. Look at how far we’ve come already! People are talking to their phones instead of simply using their God-given brains (or fingers) to get the information they require. Google is so ingrained in everything I do on the internet I have ads catered to the sites I frequent most often popping up no matter which sites I visit! We see these modern 21st Century conveniences (like Netflix suggesting movies or tv shows I’d like based on what I’ve already seen or queued) and think “oh, this is nice of them” but eventually we won’t ever have to “think” again because Siri will do it for us. Or whoever they decide to call “her” when the time is right.
Is there a way to roll back all the technology we’ve already introduced into our lives without realizing it? Do we just take away the video games, the computers, the TV’s, even the microwaves so that we aren’t surrounded by all these modern conveniences that although they are nice to have and enjoy they are causing us to use or brains less and less? It starts with our children and in order to “keep up” with them we learn how to use them to and before you know it there is no going back. Should we keep up with the times or force the times to roll back to when what you knew in your head was more important than how fast your iPhone or calculator could provide you with the solution?
I leave you with one more point as to just how much technology has taken over MY life. I believe this is my fault entirely but I also believe, if I wanted to, I could make the case that technology is to blame as well. In the last 5+ years I have actually picked up a pen to write (anything) so infrequently that whenever I do now it’s usually to sign my name and it’s become so illegible even I can’t understand it. My motor functions for holding a pen has become foreign to me, but sitting at a desk to type on a keyboard has become as easy as breathing! It’s gotten so bad I’ve resorted to just signing my name “E. Drayton” because I’ve forgotten how to connect the letters! Embarrassing? Hell yes! It’s because of this that I devote several times a week to writing with a pen and paper. I realize eventually having to “sign” for things the traditional way will come to an end what with finger printing technology but I refuse to lose my handwriting because of the advancement of technology.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I rest my case.