When Joaquin Phoenix fell in love with ‘Samantha’, in the 2013 film ‘Her’, he sets about creating a meaningful relationship with an operating system that is artificially intelligent, and able to communicate with him in a language he can understand.
At the time the film was released, Apple’s Siri technology had been in the market, and in the hands of users for about two years, so the concept of speaking to a ‘smart’ device, and having it speak back to you wasn’t something entirely foreign to audiences. In the world Spike Jonze created in ‘Her’, this technology had evolved far enough that a human was able to develop a real emotional connection to it.
In reality, we’re not quite at the point where an exchange with your computer or smart device may lead you to romantic feelings, but it does make us consider where the technology is headed.
What is Natural Language Processing?
The technology that drives Siri, Alexa, the Google Assistant, Cortana, or any other ‘virtual assistant’ you might be used to speaking to, is powered by artificial intelligence and natural language processing. It’s the natural language processing (NLP) that has allowed humans to turn communication with computers on its head. For decades, we’ve needed to communicate with computers in their own language, but thanks to advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and NLP technology, we’ve taught computers to understand us.