I use the word sensitivity in the sense of the degree to response to an incoming message, signal or a change in the incoming signal as well as the capacity to be sensitive to the concern expressed in the message.
You may remember A.I. (Artificial Intelligence), Mr. Spielberg’s film, on an idea of late Stanley Kubrick. Steven Spielberg inherited the project (based on the Brain Aldiss short story “Supertoys Last All Summer Long“) after Kubrick’s death in 1999, and the result has been an astounding directorial hybrid. It is about the fairy-tale adventures of an artificial boy named David (Haley Joel Osment), a marvel of cybernetic progress who wants only to be a real boy, loved by his mother in that happy place called home (Source: Amazon.com Jeff Shannon).
You may remember the end where the dream of the little boy becomes reality for a short while and where despite being artificial he behaves like humans can do, but not always do, with sweetness and tenderness.
More recently the film HER by Spike Jonze, directing the award-winning drama following Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), a lonely writer, who falls in love with an operating system, with an exceptional sense of perception, is in line with the need for tenderness. Growing more and more isolated from the outside world, the writer’s curiosity is piqued by a campaign advertising the latest artificially intelligent operating system (O.S.). When he is first introduced to his new technological assistant Samantha (voice of Scarlett Johansson) he is surprised by her ever-growing emotionality and fresh way of looking at the world. As time passes, Theodore finds himself connecting with Samantha in ways he could never have imagined. (Source Amazon.co.uk).
This idea, less spectacular than A.I. takes us in the same direction but is much closer to our reality and more in line with today’s perceived potential of the world of IT. An IBM executive at a recent conference in Luxembourg stated that computers start to learn, like humans. Next step is they will start to sense changes in verbal commands, read eyes or lips and detect sensitivity. I suppose it will still take a while to get to the level of the O.S. (operating system) in the film but we are on that path.
Moreover, HER underlines the difficulty to live as a human being and the search for tenderness. After all, this is the key issue: tenderness. We all need it to grow, to live, to survive, hence the effort to compensate with an O.S. what a HUMAN cannot or is not willing to provide. It is quite understandable that we continue to search in that direction. Moreover the film also nicely underlines the problem we have with exclusive relationships and sense of possession. Actually the turning point of the film is about exclusivity in a relationship and all the problems related to it. Humans will have to grow as well, be it only to match the smart and generous O.S.’s