Images Cinema Williamstown, MA


Ezra Dan Feldman

Lecturer in Science and Technology Studies, Williams College


Dr. Iris Howley

Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Williams College


Dr. Jeremy Cone

Associate Professor of Psychology, Williams College

Her— A.I.: Siri gets a life

In what ways might A.I. better suited for certain jobs than humans? What is unique about humanity and what shoiuld be valued about humans that cannot be recreated with A.I.? In what ways do we imagine that A.I. will evolve past humans, and how does that mirror human relationships?

All four films in our A.I. series have some throughlines with each other that will call forward and backward week-to-week, comparing and contrasting evolving genre tropes and thematic variations.

Images Cinema Williamstown, MA

Film Synopsis

A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system that's designed to meet his every need.

In the near future, a sensitive and soulful man earns a living by writing personal letters for other people. Left heartbroken after his marriage ends, Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) forms an unlikely bond with a new operating system that has the capacity to develop into an intuitive and unique entity in its own right. He starts the program and meets the voice behind the OS1, Samantha (Scarlett Johansson). Though friends initially, the relationship soon deepens into love. Nominated for five Academy Awards, this film marks director-producer Spike Jonze’s solo screenwriting debut.

About the Speaker

Ezra Dan Feldman is a Lecturer in English and Science and Technology Studies at Williams College. He is the author of a book of poems, Habitat of Stones (Tebot Bach), and his research interests include narrative studies, science and technology studies, metafiction, speculative fiction, literalism, and character. He recently sat on a panel titled "Regulating AI: Lessons from Science, Activism, and Poetry," hosted by the Global Issues Forum at Williams. He is a fan of chess and poker and loves to learn new games.

Iris Howley is a human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, and learning science researcher focusing on enabling users to overcome obstacles to effective decision-making and community participation through the design of technologies. She received her B.S. in Computer Science from Drexel University and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Human-Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to becoming an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Williams College in 2017, she was a postdoctoral research fellow with the LINK Research Lab at the University of Texas Arlington and the Lytics Lab at Stanford University. Currently, she researches the design and deployment of interactive explainables of complex algorithmic & machine learning systems.

Prof. Jeremy Cone is an associate professor in the Psychology dept. He received his Ph.D in social psychology from Cornell University in 2012, and, after completing a postdoc at Yale University, he joined the Williams faculty in 2015. Jeremy’s research focuses on person perception, including impression formation and updating, as well as the nature of empathic responding. His work has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Science, and Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. It has also been featured in the New York Times, NPR, CNN Business Perspectives, and Scientific American.