Monday, January 20, 2014

The movie Her is boring

I am surprised by all the praise for the new movie Her, considering that it is a dull two-hour movie about a man talking to his pocket computer. It is yet another story about an AI bot that is likable at first, but ends up misbehaving. That idea has probably been done in the movies 100 times.

The hero writes letters for a living, so I was expecting him to use the 1000s of letters to train the bot to understand what he likes and does not like. That would explain how the bot could be uniquely customized to his personality, and know how to make him happy. Loss of the bot could be genuinely upsetting to him if he had personally invested many weeks teaching the bot what he likes and does not like in his letters.

But in the movie, the bot is not customized to him at all. Hardly at all, as he just initializes it with his name and a couple of other facts. The bot chooses a name, but the name is not based on his likes or interests at all. Nothing about her is, and for all we know, the bot is essentially the same program that is shipped to all the other customers.

When the bot goes bad, the hero takes it as a personal betrayal, but for all we know, it is just a system bug that will be corrected with the next update. I guess the movie is trying to tell us that the man should not have taken the bot so seriously, and human connections are better. Or maybe the opposite, as all the human relationships in the movie are cold, sterile, boring, and broken.

I am not saying the movie is bad, but if you are looking for something thought-provoking about artificial intelligence, there are many better AI movies.

I was likewise surprised as so much praise for the Brad Pitt zombie movie, when so many other movies have much better zombies.

Update: For comparison, see this video promotion for the 1956 movie Forbidden Planet with Robby the Robot.


Unknown said...

I have to agree. I was let down hard with this.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that I find likeminded views here!
I watched the film 'Her' last friday and after 45 minutes of feeling incredibly bored I decided to leave and go.... doing something more exiting!

Anonymous said...

Boring as hell.