Ray Kurzweil guesses at when stuff from Spike Jonze's near-future Her will be available. [via Kottke]
I would place some of the elements in Jonze's depiction at around 2020, give or take a couple of years, such as the diffident and insulting videogame character he interacts with, and the pin-sized cameras that one can place like a freckle on one's face. Other elements seem more like 2014, such as the flat-panel displays, notebooks and mobile devices.
Samantha herself I would place at 2029, when the leap to human-level AI would be reasonably believable. There are some incongruities, however. As I mentioned, a lot of the dramatic tension is provided by the fact that Theodore's love interest does not have a body. But this is an unrealistic notion. It would be technically trivial in the future to provide her a virtual visual presence to match her virtual auditory presence, using, lens-mounted displays, for example, that display images onto Theodore's retinas.
Kurzweil notes the "all-too-common flaw of science futurism movies"—to introduce a single technological change to "an otherwise unchanged world". But his analysis of how Her differs is itself mostly a list of multiple technologies and their correspondence to his technological timeline of the future. Kurzweil's science fiction is so immanent within him that he seems to miss the fact that the technologies are props, and that Her's situation in the sociological present is, actually, the point.
You’d be forgiven for thinking the videocassette format long-dead, but it turns out that Betamax is still around. Sony is finally going to withdraw tapes from sale, bringing a 40-year story to an end. The last recorders were sold in 2002. ベータビデオカセットおよびマイクロMVカセットテープ出荷終了のお知らせ [Sony; via The Verge]
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