Robots, Love, and Her


Tonight I listened to the most recent episode of Science Friday's podcast. They have a segment called "Science Goes to the Movies," in which they invite scientists to comment on a film's treatment of scientific topics. This time they talked about Spike Jonze's movie Her.

I haven't seen the movie, but I don't mind spoilers (warning: there are spoilers in this edition of Science Goes to the Movies), so the scientists's discussion just further piqued my desire to see it. But they also reminded me of something that I think is missing in most conversations about Her , our relationship with technology, and the possibility of real love existing between humans and intelligent machines: the history of these ideas. In the context of science fiction, these concepts have a relatively long legacy, and exploring that legacy helps us understand their modern incarnations better.   Consider, for example, Lester del Ray's short story "Helen O'Loy" and Isaac Asimov's short story "Satisfaction Guaranteed," which were published way back in 1938 and 1951 respectively.

I could tell you my thoughts about them, but it would be far more interesting to you if you were to read them yourself, don't you think?

You can read "Helen O'Loy" here...

...and you can read "Satisfaction Guaranteed" here. 

Enjoy! Oh, and please do tell me what YOU think in the comments below.

photo credit: rtcosmin via photopin cc