1. I saw “Her” on Monday with my 18 year old daughter, whose AP English class will be discussing the movie. One question they will consider is whether it represents a utopia, or a dystopia. I enjoyed the movie very much, particularly the rich, beautiful technology and architecture. (I especially like the elevator!) In the beginning of the movie, Theodore is so sad and disconnected, and it appears that he is surrounded by similar lonely people, in the midst of the beautiful yet aseptic city. Then new technology becomes available and little by little Theodore’s world becomes brighter, and the people around him seem similarly lifted.
    Technology is at its best when it enhances the ability of people to communicate, create and connect. The smart phones and tablets we have today allow us to keep up with friends, to read, watch and learn from an unlimited assortment of media, and to share our thoughts with abandon. Yes, it is possible to block out the world around us and only see our screens, but I find that the opposite is more often true for me: that I see through the window of my screen a world that is more complex and beautiful, and I meet people who are doing exciting things or facing incredible challenges. Most amazingly, from my small place on the planet it is possible to learn about and then participate in events in my community or across the globe. As technology improves, it gets easier to join in. The movie imagines further enhancements, and explores new opportunities and challenges.
    Ultimately the film reminded me that the best interactions occur between people, face to face, and ideally outdoors. The similarities that humans share makes it easy for us to relate. Technology is a tool to facilitate these experiences – not an end in itself.

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