There’s a scene in the new movie Her in which Samantha, the sultry-voiced computer operating system of the film’s title, talks up the benefits of being nonhuman.
“I’m not limited,” purrs Scarlett Johansson as the artificially intelligent heroine. “I can be anywhere and everywhere simultaneously. I’m not tethered to time and space in the way that I would be if I was stuck inside a body that’s inevitably going to die.”
I’ll bet she never feels bloated, either. Or insists on switching over to Downton Abbey when the game’s gone into overtime. Or complains about the lingering lunchy onion stench on the breath of Theo, the lonely divorcé who buys Samantha and falls in love with her.
Both onscreen and off, modern society is flirting with the notion that technology can satisfy us in ways that flesh-and-blood lovers can’t.
Don’t believe me? Check out InvisibleGirlfriend.com, set to launch this Valentine’s Day. For a monthly fee, the company will conjure up “believable virtual and real-world proof” that you have a girlfriend. Yup. You can order up voice mails, text messages, social-media interaction, cards, and even flowers from a nonexistent female in order to, say, convince a roommate you’re not gay, put an end to a coworker’s come-ons, or get your nagging parents off your back.