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Watching Spike Jonze's sci-fi romance Her, I was struck by how plausible its concept seemed. Sure, some have sneered at the idea of a man falling for his computer's Operating System, but think for a second about how attached you are to your phone or your laptop. These devices become places where we store our favorite songs, movies, and articles. They are where we turn for entertainment, comfort, and--to be perfectly frank--porn. In all these ways Her's reality -- where mankind falls for hi-tech computer programs -- seems strikingly close to where we are now.
Well, prepare to be buzz-killed. You're not getting a Samantha for Christmas anytime soon. Dag Kittlaus says so. And he would know, as he's one of the people who created Siri.
On Variety, Kittlaus shared his thoughts on Her's Samantha, and broke down which of her attributes our brightest minds are still miles from figuring out. He begins by explaining that upon the virtual personal assistant's creation in 2007, "Siri was built to get things done." Kittlaus never imagined people connecting to this artificial intelligence assistant. But, he recalls:
"Then a funny thing happened. Siri blew up into a cultural phenomenon overnight. It wasn’t just a new and easier way to use your phone. Siri was fun. It felt a little human. Millions of people would chat with Siri for hours at a time. Siri was a little bit "Her" before Scarlett was a little bit Samantha."
However, Siri is emotionally immature when compared to Samantha, and Kittlaus isn't optimistic that she's likely to catch up. "Samantha needs to understand the vast spectrum of elements that make up emotion, conversation and even the ability to observe and share in the world around her," he explains, "That’s no small feat in the world of smart software."
But before Siri got that level of an overhaul, she'd need to have the kind of flawless interface of Samantha. You know, the kind that never mishears a word, even when Theodore is at a crowded carnival. Or the kind of hi-def camera that can capture and process images on a level that can detail facial moods, or navigate even when being spun around.
And Siri's conversation is not up to snuff when you consider Samantha's verbal dynamics. No time soon should you expect Siri to carry on intense conversation, much less phone sex. But hey, Kittlaus and his crew have been enticed by Her, and have already built some pretty wonderful characteristics into Siri, like unique movie reviews, an opinion on texting and on Her itself. Maybe they could at least get Scarlett Johansson to be Siri's new voice model?