This past weekend I went and saw the movie, “Her,” and as I was watching I kept thinking about our readings for this week. I mostly thought about Iwan Rhys Morus’ “‘The Nervous System of Britain’: Space, Time and the Electric Telegraph in the Victorian Age,” and Vannevar Bush’s “As We May Think.” First, what I found interesting about the Morus reading was how the Victorians saw the telegraph and its technology as something that breached time and space. I never thought of technology in this way before, as if it were able to break the laws of time and space, but as the Victorians described it in this way I can see how they came to those conclusions. We are able to communicate with people in the blink of an eye and all over the world. Then, as I was watching Her, Samantha, the operation system, said that being in a relationship with Theodore, Joaquin Phoenix’s character, at first made her wish she had a body, but then as she grew and learned, because she didn’t have a body she was able to be in multiple places at once and travel and learn things at the speed of light. She said she was able to transcend time and space and described it exactly how the Victorians described the telegraph. The similarities in the way the technology was described and differences in the technology then made me think about the Bush reading and were we as a society now.
Technology has come so far since the telegraph and seems to be moving so rapidly still. In the film the technology and operating systems did not seem too far off from what we have today. Everyone is already glued to their phones and our computers can solve many problems. Bush seems to wonder if our experiences with technology will start to be more direct and fluid. “All our steps in creating or absorbing material of the record proceed through one of the senses – the tactile when we touch keys, the oral when we speak or listen, the visual when we read. Is it not possible that some day the path may be established more directly?” (Bush, 13). If I had the technology in Her I would not be typing this blog on my laptop right now, instead it would be speaking it out loud and it would be written and published for me. I would still be using a sense to communicate with the technology but we would be getting closer to eliminating that step. I think Bush is right and that someday technology and our bodies will be more in sync with each other. For me it is scary to think that I could be so dependent on something such as an operation system, but then again I am already about 95% dependent on the technology of my phone, laptop, and wifi. I again think back on how the Victorians compared the telegraph to the nervous system. I think there has always been a connection between the body and technology, and one day we may see them as one in the same. With things like activity trackers, Google Glass, and Siri we might start to think that we are the ones that transcend time and space, and not the technology itself.