I am going to see HER tonight in the cinema. I first read the movie’s review a few months back, and have wanted to see it since. The reviewer brought up a philosophical question of human – computer relationship. My memory of the exact words has faded, but longing sadness in HIS look haunted me ever since.
Maybe having a relationship with an Operation System is something of a “slight future”, but computer’s integration into human relationships did not just start yesterday.
I had my first online friend Nhu, way back in early 2000s. Nhu read my blog in Yahoo! 360°, and I read hers. We had similar rebellious ideas toward rules and identity. We became good friends, and still are even though Yahoo! 360° disappeared from the net about a decade ago. Now Facebook has taken over our friendship giving out only catchy status and tagged pictures.
Nhu is just one of many relationships that I have technology maintain for me. I don’t have many choices because I live miles away from my family and all my good friends. I treasure the ability to talk with my mum now and then on the phone, or chat with my best friend every Wednesday. I often feel sad afterwards because I would much rather watching mum cooking in her kitchen or riding on the back of Miki’s bike. While I need those online intangible contacts, they are not enough. I will always want more.
I don’t know yet how HER as a movie answers the reviewer’s question, but I think I have mine for HIS sadness.
We have calendars in our mobile phone, work laptop, home desktop, on our office desk and our home wall. As if they are not enough, some of us have time tracker apps, work logging software, reminder tools. At the moment, I have a calendar on my desktop, to-do-list reminders popping up every half an hour, a work logger opened since 7am, a time tracker running in the background. On the phone lying next to my keyboard, there are three friendly reminders that I have been ignoring in the last three hours. My watch is within my reach, and computer clocks are shown in both screens. Since music is not on, I can also hear the clock in the kitchen.
I prefer living slow: walking instead of driving; reading thick out-of-date novels instead of around-the-clock live news; cooking marinated grilled chicken instead of getting drive-through McDonald nuggets. But I surrender myself to the tick-tock devices because I can’t manage to not fall behind without them. Even though I don’t give a damn about what three quarters of the world think/do/achieve, the rest do matter to keep me on the clock with emails/messages/conversations/updates. In fairness, the tick-tock devices help. I keep up with deadlines of multiple projects that I have. I remember to call my Mum a few days after our last conversation’s bitterness has expired (No, I am not a terrible daughter like it might sound). Demonstrably, I get around to start this post thanks to an hour time slot created in my timelyapp.
Basically, I get things done. But I become hopelessly dependent on them. It is like putting my life into a massive clock on the wheel, which only moves towards my grave yard (No, I don’t mean this to be too dark).
Anyway, the hour slot is coming to an end. It’s time to move on.