Her

What’s on my mind? A movie I have just seen. It’s written and directed by Spike Jonze and called “Her”. The movie, a romantic science fiction play, is just brilliant. I really loved it. Its outlandish and innovative theme got the movie an Oscar for the same.

The story is about a lonesome writer called Theodore who is going through an impending divorce. Theodore lives in a tiny apartment in Los Angeles high up in the sky in the nearby future. As a person, Theodore is very sensitive and perceptive of what happens around him. Then one day Theodore goes to an exposition about artificial operating systems. As such, Theodore gets acquainted with the OS, which calls herself Samantha. Theodore can share anything with her. Samantha can see things through the eyes of a smartphone camera, which Theodore carries around. He talks through her via ear plugs. She can help him organize, play games and proof read his letters.

Theodore keeps reflecting back on the past, about the good and not so good memories from his time with his ex wife with whom he grew up, going through the arguments again, pondering how he could have done things better and how they influenced each other. And Samantha can feel his pain, love and anger and as she watches lives through the eyes of Theodore, she also evolves from a programming construct to a computer with human feelings. Samantha’s main difficulty is that she misses a human body and cannot have physical contact with Theodore. Theodore then goes on a date, which is a really big thing for him, yet the date ends very awkwardly and he sends his date home.

While Theodore feels as if he cannot get back the same feeling as before and that it’s all going downhill from here, finds love in the artificial operating system. They both appreciate and share feelings of anger, fear, love, humor and creativity. Getting back a grip on himself, Theodore then decides to meet his ex to sign the paper work to finally settle the divorce. Theodore explains her that he has been seeing someone over the fast few months, Samantha, and that she is an OS. His ex gets furious and criticizes him over the fact that he cannot deal with real emotions and life. In the meantime, the husband of Theodore’s friend Amy takes a vow of silence. Theodore is very close to her  and discovers that she also found love in an Operating System.

There’s one scene where Theodore is desperately reaching out for Samantha. And he cannot find her. Then it turns out she went offline for a an upgrade to the system. Theodore discovers that Samantha can apparently talk to simultaneously persons at once and that she also can fall in love with multiple people at once. Theodore collapses and Samantha leaves. At the end Amy and Theodore sit together and continue with their lives.

This whole idea of falling in love with an artificial operating system is quite absurd and silly (there’s an interesting foreplay in it), yet the film touches on two very important topics: identity and reality. Identity in how the artificial operating system, yet not constrained by time and space, has to accept it physical limitations (how a photograph can be presented through a piano play) and how to deal with this unique kind of love or reality. There’s a reference to philosopher Alan Watts and I hope to be reading more from him some time.

Meta

Over the weekend a blog post on Mashable about eyewear technology got my attention. Augmented reality glasses are hot!

It was through an interview by Robert Scoble that I learnt about a company called Meta. I hadn’t really talked about them and now feels like a good time. I like people with big, crazy ideas and the folks over at Californian-based startup do exactly this.

Meta is building the SpaceGlasses. It can do a while lot more than Google Glass (the screen oss said to boast 15 times the display area of Google Glass) and it’s trendy. Wearing the device creates a hologram-like display that users can sort through with their hands, similar to the technology seen in Iron Man and Minority Report. So you can manipulate virtual objects with your bare hands, or view informational overlays on top of your surroundings. Apparently you can also create 3D scans of objects too. Imagine the possibilities!

The glasses are a two-part system: one half 3D output display, and one half 3D scanner. The output display allows the user to see holograms — say, an image or computer file — and the scanner scans the environment and tells the computer where to place the graphics relative to the wearer. Pretty exciting if you ask me.

Here’s the interview with Scoble:

Veni Vidi Vici

There’s an important update regarding my running endeavours.

Yes, I have been logging the miles and tracking my progress. It took me lots of workouts, lots of sweat and pain. But I reached a major milestone! On 27 April I ran the Antwerp marathon. Heck: I ran the full marathon distance! My first ever.

Why would someone be so crazy to run 42,195km? First of all, it’s lots of fun! Yes, it takes a lot of training and energy. But on raceday, you will soon forget about that. It just feels amazing to see people cheering all over the place. The support you get from your family and friends has a big impact too.

I ran the marathon for myself to see what I am capable of. Obviously, it takes a lot of dedication and commitment to reach such a goal. But I am very proud of myself. I don’t want to proof to other people that I am a fighter or a disciplined person. I am not bloating about it. But people keep asking about it. And I notice it does give me respect and self-confidence. And I am so happy with the accomplishment.

So how did it go? In overall good. My time was 3h32, really good for a beginner. The first 20 miles went really great, but then I completely collapsed. I did not expect this to happen. My heart pumped as crazy and my lungs couldn’t keep up flowing the oxygen through my veins. I don’t mind admitting that I had to walk a couple of times. It was my first time after all. Next time I will follow one of the pace makers as I did at the 20KM in Brussels. This really seems to help you dose your energy.

On a side note: at my younger years I have always been a good runner. I really haven’t been doing much of sports during my days at University. But I’m picking that up again. And I want to continue building this up. Note to self: in bits and pieces as everything has to be in balance. That’s the recipe to success.