The Operating System of My Dreams?

Recently, I watched an excellent, Academy-nominated 2013 film called Her. While the acting was outstanding and emotions evoked were compelling, the premise of the near-future storyline itself was especially thought-provoking. In the movie, a man named Theodore (played by Joaquin Phoenix) installs a sweeping new operating system on his computer that’s supposed to present refined artificial intelligence that interacts with the computer user. The operating system (voiced by the talented actress Scarlett Johansson) begins its independent existence by naming itself Samantha. The OS soon interacts with Theodore in a highly realistic, nearly human, manner. Over time, Samantha’s personality develops in highly nuanced fashion, eventually reaching self-realization and sentience.
I won’t spoil the film for you, but what proceeds is an emotional journey between two beings. Suffice to say, the movie made me contemplate humanity’s continued technological innovations and improvements in computer processing and operating systems development. I wonder if there will come a time in the not-too-distant future – or at least, during my lifetime – when an operating system might reach a quasi-sentient level of interaction (or simulated interaction) with people that mimics a fellow human being. Would that be a good thing, or would it merely encourage people with reclusive personalities to further withdraw from interacting with other people?
It occurs to me that there are situations or conditions where people might not have the luxury of living in areas where there are large numbers of people to interact with; in which case, having a computer-based, human-simulated entity might be reassuring for someone.
Granted, a number of films and books have examined this situation before. Consider the station computer named GERTY from the engaging 2009 film Moon starring Sam Rockwell, or Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey in which the H.A.L. 9000 computer system serves as both human nurturer and suspicious antagonist for the astronauts. Despite a series of past examples, there are always fresh human drama opportunities available for an author to mine for future novels and films on the subject. Essentially, the human experience is dynamic and there’s always a demand by readers for compelling, emotional storyline.
Perhaps I’ll consider my own future storyline. Hmm…