by Frederike Helwig
“Henry? Henry? l’ve seen people go through what you’re going through. l’ve helped them come out the other side. If you work with me, l can help you.”
“Blade Runner 2049 and Her use AI to paint a certain type of future relationship. It’s not one that’s better or more fulfilling, but it is far easier and more convenient. When the complicated messiness of another person’s emotions are removed from the equation — or, perhaps, an optional feature that you can turn off at a moment’s notice — the focus is entirely on how they’re feeling. K and Theodore are no longer as lonely because they have someone to talk to
someone programmed to occupy and entertain them until they’re ready to stop. Samantha and Joi are safety blankets, protecting K and Theodore from the cruelness of reality.
In both instances, the men fall in love with the fantasy. In both instances, albeit for different reasons, they’re both left alone. They’re left catering to the wound they’re left with after the fantasy dissolves. There’s nothing to show for their relationships beyond their pain. Theodore and K are left worse off than they were before because they can’t revisit any part of their physical relationship because it never existed. They can’t revisit photos or hold onto clothing left behind. Even the most basic act of physical intimacy, in K and Joi’s case, required a surrogate. All they have to reflect upon are their own memories that will eventually fade away.”
I can’t help your future, but I can give you good memories to think back on and smile.