Pandora Sykes | Fashion Editor | Saturday, 14 June 2014

By 2029, Google Could Actually Be Your Boyfriend

The Debrief: Just like Joaquim Phoenix in 'Her'

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For anyone who found Her faintly terrifying but was comforted by the fact that having sex with your computer was essentially completley insane - we suggest you sit down. Because in just 15 years we could very well be laughing and flirting with our search engines, just like Joaqin Phoenix with his bodacious operating system.

15 years means that this isn't some far-off, distant, alternative reality; most of us will be only be in our late thirties or early forties at that point. The law of averages says that some of us will be single then too - which means instead of copious amounts of wine and a self-conscious snog over an Uber, your first date in 2029 might involve you sitting in front of your computer sharing a lol with Google, or hitching your skirt up so Yahoo can get a better peek of your newly Veet-ed legs. 

This mind-boggling - and arguably depressing - revelation came around after the director of engineering at Google, Ray Kurzweil gave a speech at New York's Exponential Finance conference this week. 'Computers will be at human levels, such that you can have an emotional relationship with them, 15 years from now' he said. Obviously during the speech he addressed Her, calling Spike Jonze's film about the relationship between humans and OS's (operating systems) a 'realistic'  portrayal of society in the future. 

In fact, Kurzweil is so convinced that Google is going to transform into a 'funny', 'romantic', 'loving', 'sexy' virtual entity by 2029 (making Siri look like the oldest and least sassy invention ever) that he has made a $20,000 bet with a fellow computer scientist (it's probably worth pointing out that if you're the head engineer at Google, it's not a massive disaster if you lose $20,000.) The hardest challenge when creating this super attractive new OS system, according to Stanford University's A.I. expert, Richard Socher, will be nailing sarcasm. Jokes will also be tricky.

Kurzweil's comments come soon after the first ever 'human computer' or 'chatbot', Eugene Goostman, passed the Turing Test - a test created by wartime codebreaker and British mathematician Alan Turing in 1950 to test a machine's ability to exhibit human intelligence. Kurzweil, however, says he does not count Eugene - a machine masquerading as a 13-year-old Ukranian boy from Odessa and created by a collective of US computer programmers - as a success, due to Eugene's habit for repetition and non-sequiturs. Eugene slightly sounds like the person you get stuck next to at a dinner party and spend the whole evening cultivating a fake smoking addiction to avoid.

Now we're just waiting for the memo to sign up to TruYou (the all-encompassing network in Dave Egger's cult novel, The Circle.) But for now, we're going to run far, far away from our computers and dispel our fears with an IRL person.

Follow Pandora on Twitter @pinsykes

 Picture: Warners Bros.

Tags: Tech

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