In 2013, Spike Jonze's Her imagined a world where humans form deep emotional connections with AI, challenging perceptions of love and loneliness. Ten years later, thanks to ChatGPT's recently added voice features, people are playing out a small slice of Her in reality, having hours-long discussions with the AI assistant on the go.
In 2016, we put Her on our list of top sci-fi films of all time, and it also made our top films of the 2010s list. In the film, Joaquin Phoenix's character falls in love with an AI personality called Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), and he spends much of the film walking through life, talking to her through wireless earbuds reminiscent of Apple AirPods, which launched in 2016. In reality, ChatGPT isn't as situationally aware as Samantha was in the film, and OpenAI has done enough conditioning on ChatGPT to keep conversations from getting too intimate or personal. But that hasn't stopped people from having long talks with the AI assistant to pass the time.
Last week, we related a story in which AI researcher Simon Willison spent hours talking to ChatGPT. "I had an hourlong conversation while walking my dog the other day," he told Ars for that report. "At one point, I thought I'd turned it off, and I saw a pelican, and I said to my dog, 'Oh, wow, a pelican!' And my AirPod went, 'A pelican, huh? That's so exciting for you! What's it doing?' I've never felt so deeply like I'm living out the first ten minutes of some dystopian sci-fi movie."