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AI and the ‘human saga’: how has artificial intelligence changed our relationship with each other?

Joaquin Phoenix

AI and the ‘human saga’: how has artificial intelligence changed our relationship with each other?

Artificial intelligence is a scientific field which is continually sparking debate and sometimes controversy amongst both scientists and the general public.

Whilst there is a compelling case to be made for the positive impacts that artificial intelligence has on our ever developing culture and society, there is a sense that humanity could be becoming too reliant on artificial intelligence and technology.

In a less dramatic manner than is portrayed in science fiction, artificial intelligence has indeed infiltrated society and interaction with AI is becoming almost as commonplace in some sectors and industries as interactions with humans.

In a culture where hitting ‘refresh’ on our social media feeds has become a staple of modern living, it’s not difficult to see why there is increased demand for artificial intelligence and technological ‘solutions’ to other areas of our lives as well.

Let’s consider for a moment the ‘driverless’ cars we’re seeing in the news – in these cars driving is taken care of my the system’s in built computer, meaning that the very human activity controlling the car is no longer strictly necessary, it’s a choice. Speaking of choices – it is now possible to choose whether we have human assistants or whether we rely on automated offerings from companies like Apple and Microsoft – think Siri and Cortana – therefore making the choice between artificially intelligent technologies and humans.

The ability to make this kind of choice in today’s society seems to naturally give rise to the debate about whether artificially intelligent technology is changing the way we are interacting as humans. Is there then, a case to be made which suggests that AI is beginning to replace our relationship with other humans? Definitive conclusions in this debate have yet to be made however, science fiction seems to have an answer.

The 2013 science fiction offering Her directed by Spike Jonze is an exploration of human loneliness the future. The film tells the story of Theodore who writes letters from other people for a living. Emotionally disconnected and in the process of a divorce, Theodore becomes attached to Samantha – the only thing is, Samantha is an intelligent operating system. As the film progresses, Theodore and Samantha enter into a romantic relationship and he becomes less involved with ‘real’ people until he is reliant upon Samantha for companionship.

It is not until the end of the film that Theodore realises that Samantha is in contact with hundreds of people and that his relationship with her is no more significant to her than any other…