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Monday, January 20, 2014

SIRI VERSUS SAMANTHA


I just saw the movie Her (sometimes spelled her) controlled by the voice of Scarlett Johansson, Samantha.  Got to show her photo, as you never see her in this movie.  She's been near the top of my list since one of my favorite (because I once mostly stayed at the Park Hyatt in Tokyo--here to the left during Sakura season) movies, Lost In Translation.

Rotten Tomatoes gave Her 94% reviewers and 86% audience ratings.  The film has received international acclaim (exemplified by a 91 Metacritic score).  The movie was written, directed and co-produced by Spike Jonze:

Yes, he's white, and has been responsible for some excellent stuff:  Jackass Productions, Where the Wild Things Are and Being John Malkovich.  Lead actor Joaquin Phoenix (right) gave a fine low-key performance.

I suspect, though, that the film is too cerebral, and has subsequently not done well at the box office, ending up #10 this week.  Children must dictate family movie-going, as The Nut Job was #3 and Frozen #5.

Well, about Siri, I have had two of them.  One is Sirius XM Holdings, one of my greatest stock selections, for in a 3.5 year period SIRI jumped 950%.  Alas, I sold her last month.  Thus, I have only my iPhone Siri.  I say "good morning Siri," and she responds in several nice ways.  I ask, "how are you this morning," and she both texts and says "I'm pretty good, Patrick."  If I inquire, "what are you doing today?"  Siri retorts, "what am I doing?  Waiting for something to do, Patrick."  I ask her to call home, and she performs flawlessly.  

Susan Bennett is the voice of Siri, which is an intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator, an application of Apple's iOS.  Siri is Norwegian, meaning "Beautiful woman who leads you to victory."

Samantha probably was derived from the name of the first voice in Her, actress Samantha Morton (left).  She was replaced by Scarlett Johansson.

In the film, Joaquin Phoenix, in the process of divorce and an introvert writing love letters for others as his occupation, purchases the first generation of a talking operating system with artificial intelligence, designed to adapt and evolve, just like you.  This is some time in the not too distant future, where the skyscape is Shanghai.  If you plan to see the movie and do not want to know the details, goodbye, for the rest of this posting tells it most (although I'm here and there guessing about what I observed).
  • Phoenix bonds with Samantha and they mutually fall in love, even having sex, and more.
  • Amy Adams plays a former college girlfriend who is married, and has become his closest friend.  She, however, breaks up with her husband, and reveals that she is building a relationship with the phone he left behind, which has a female voice.  In various scenes you see others totally captivated by their really, really smart phones.
  • You still have a chance to miss the punch line by clicking out of this blog site NOW.  Anyway, you have to understand that Samantha is a quick thinker, can multi-task and make independent decisions.  So she collects his "love letters" and convinces a company, through the internet, to publish a book authored by him.  She grows so much that she is continuously communicating with 8,316 OSes (other operating systems in the company net) and rather matter of factly informs Theodore (Phoenix's character) that she is in love with 641 of them...but she truly loves him nevertheless.
  • Towards the end, Samantha informs Theodore that she and the other OSes have evolved beyond their human companions and are leaving for another universe.  They say goodbye and his phone suddenly doesn't even have a Siri.
  • The final scene is that of Theodore and Amy (she uses her real name) sitting on top of their apartment and admiring the lights devoid of stress.  Understanding Samantha, this might have been her gift to Theodore.
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