Falling in Love with Artificial Intelligence
There is a beautiful quote in German: “Die schlimmste Art, jemanden zu vermissen, ist die, an seiner Seite zu stehen und zu wissen, dass er nie zu einem gehören wird.” — There is no worse way of missing someone than to sit next to them, knowing they’ll never be with you.
The romantic story of love tells us that our search for a partner is inspired, above all else, by a desire to find someone who can make us happy. who can help us come alive, who can hold our hands and look into our eyes and can reassure us that everything is ok. that everything is fine and even if it isn’t, it won’t matter because she will be there with me always. And this desire to find that person sometimes gets so intense that we really don’t care if that person has to be a human being or just its shadow, a love or mere its reflection, or in some cases just a voice.
The movie Her doesn’t just show us how ubiquitous artificial intelligence would get in these coming years or how exciting would it be to live then, but I think this movie also very subtly reflects a peculiar human behavior. A behavior that is exclusive to us and especially significant in our Romantic undertakings. Theodore Twombly hauling around with his tattered self, desperately searching for someone to come by and sew it back doesn’t stand much different than our condition. No matter how strong we might have had been through out the evolution to survive but I am sure human beings are the weakest of all species when it comes to love. Love breaks us all. every one of us. And when it breaks us, like Theodore, we all seem to shut ourselves to the rest of the world. Everything that surrounds us no more stimuli us. We all go dead and silent like a river about to meet the sea and never to be found again.
Before long, Theodore gets himself an operating system with artificial intelligence named Samantha, designed to adapt and evolve. And it doesn’t take much time for Samantha to feel Theodore’s broken heart and evolves herself to a loving and caring girlfriend, who not just bestows him with an imense amount of love but she creates an entirely different world for him with just her beautiful voice. She becomes Theodore’s ever present personal assistant to a literary agent that proactively arranges the publication of Theodore’s letters, to an intimate partner sharing in a verbal sexual experience. She is everything any lover could be. Her breathy voice makes her come alive, her caressing words mark her presence, her selfless service proves her love. She is as real as the sun, the moon, and the stars. But like the Sun moon and stars you can only relish in her beauty, can never hold her. And there is not a single beautiful thing I can remember of that Humans haven’t tried to possess, humans never tried to hold unless there are not far far away beyond the horizon of our reach, like the voice of Samantha.
We, humans, are inflicted with the sense of possession and this is nowhere more prominent than in our romantic life. “I don’t just want you to love me but love only me.” “don’t just care for me, care only for me, be there but only for me.” It’s not just love, care, and support we crave in our relationship but more than anything else its the very existence of the other person in our life that we need. “I don’t just wanna hear you. I want to touch you, see you, gaze your eyes, hold you so close that our heart beats are synced, so near that I hear your breaths.” And it is this sense of possession on which AI will always disappoint us. We can’t possess them. we can’t look them in their eyes and be as intimate as we could be with any human being. They are so vast in its entirety, vast in its knowledge and fast in its evolution that soon enough we will be unsatisfying companions to them. Human failing in love with AIs is same as a chimpanzee falling with human beings. why would I love a chimpanzee when my love can be reciprocated better by a human being, why would I sit beside an orangutan when I am understood better by a person. why would I sleep with them when I find a human body more pleasurable. And same applies with AIs for us. Their intellectual need, their understanding, their proficiency is at completely different level. They might be our creation but they are altogether a different species and will always be ahead of us. we are nothing more than a chimpanzee to them.
So in the near future, AIs might replace our world from top to bottom. We might receive our parental care with AIs, our education with AIs or we might even be try to Immortalize ourselves with the help of AIs but when it comes to choosing our romantic partner, when it comes to falling in love, when we give our heart — we would always extend our hand to a mortal human being who unlike any AI commits mistakes, bleeds when cut, squints when it gets too shiny, whose eyes have witnessed the same course of evolution as us and who occasionally, to feel our love let us possess her/him for she/he is so special to us.
watch this in video — HER — Falling in Love with an Artificial Intelligence
My other works — Just a Thought