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HomeTechFrom virtual assistants to AI, Hollywood is inspiring science and tech

From virtual assistants to AI, Hollywood is inspiring science and tech

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Rezvam Virk

4 minutes of reading

In May, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman sparked controversy when he invoked the 2013 movie “Her” to highlight new features of the latest version of ChatGPT.

A few days later, Scarlett Johansson, who voiced Samantha, the film's AI girlfriend, sued the company for using her voice in the new virtual assistant, even after Altman declined the invitation.

This conflict highlights a broader relationship between Hollywood and Silicon Valley, called the “cycle.” comment Science Fiction,” illustrating how fantasy and technological innovation influence each other. This dynamic can unfold over decades, in a continuous cycle.

Creative coexistence

This cycle generally follows the same pattern. First, the technological climate of an era shapes the science fiction of that period. For example, the personal computing revolution of the 1970s and 1980s directly inspired the work of computer writers. cyberpunk Neal Stephenson and William Gibson.

Later, his work began to inspire real-world technological innovation. In his classic 1992 book,Snow crash(or “Blizzard”), Stephenson coined the term “metaverse” to describe a three-dimensional, video game-like world that can be accessed through virtual reality goggles.

Credit: Linden Lab

Since then, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and innovators have been trying to build a version of this transformation. The virtual world of the game Second lifereleased in 2003, tried to do just that. In it, players lived in houses, went to nightclubs, dated, and even had virtual jobs.

This technology has spawned more science fiction works. During my research, I discovered that Ernest Cline spent a lot of time playing Second lifewho inspired his metaverse best seller “Ready Player One” (which became a movie in 2018, directed by Steven Spielberg).

Credit: Warner Bros.

And the cycle continued: Employees at Oculus VR — now known as Meta Reality Labs — were given copies of the book to read as they developed virtual reality. headphones The company’s virtual reality platform. When Facebook changed its name to Meta in 2021, it did so with the hope of being at the forefront of building the Metaverse.

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Another franchise that has left its mark throughout this cycle is “Star Trek,” which first aired in 1966, in the midst of the space race.

Steve Perlman, inventor of Apple's QuickTime media playback format, says he got the idea from an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in which Data, an Android device, scans multiple streams of audio and video files.

Data from the movie “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (Credit: Paramount Pictures)

Palm Pilot OS designer Rob Haitani also revealed that the Enterprise command bridge influenced its interface. Furthermore, the Holodeck technology seen in the series—a room that can simulate any environment—influenced the name and development of Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality headset.

Enterprise holodeck in Star Trek: The Next Generation (Credit: Paramount Pictures)

From Alice to “She”

Which brings us back to OpenAI and the movie “Her.”

In the film, Theodore is assisted by the artificial intelligence Samantha, voiced by Johansson, and begins to develop feelings for her – to the point where he begins to consider her his girlfriend.

ChatGPT-4o, the latest version of the generative AI, appears to be able to develop a similar relationship with the user. Not only can it talk and “understand” you, it can do so by showing empathy, much like a partner would.

In the movie “Her,” Joaquin Phoenix's character falls in love with an artificial intelligence (Credit: Warner Bros.)

There’s no doubt that the AI ​​representation in “Her” influenced the developers at OpenAI. But you might be surprised to discover that an earlier generation of chatbots inspired the film’s director to write the screenplay.

A decade before the release of “Her,” Spike Jonze interacted with a version of ALICE (Artificial linguistic internet computer entityor Computational Entity for Artificial Language on the Internet), is one of the first chatbots to have a defined personality—in this case, that of a young girl.

Alice (Credit: Reproduction/Internet)

Chatbot ALICE has won the Loebner Prize three times, given annually through 2019 to the AI ​​program that comes closest to passing the Turing Test, widely seen as a milestone in determining whether AI has become indistinguishable from human intelligence.

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The ability of artificial intelligence to form relationships with humans is a topic that continues to be explored in both fiction and real life. A few years after “Her,” “Blade Runner 2049” introduced a virtual girlfriend named “Joy” with a 3D body.

“Blade Runner 2049” (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Long before the recent controversy involving OpenAI, companies were already developing and launching virtual companions, a trend that will undoubtedly continue. As writer and social media critic Cory Doctorow put it in 2017, “Science fiction does more than just predict the future—it influences it.”

This article was published in “Conversation“And it is reproduced under a Creative Common license. Read more Original Article.


About the author

Rizwan Virk is an Associate Professor and PhD Candidate in the field of Human and Social Dimension of Science and Technology at the University of… know more


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