What is a person and what are we doing with our lives?

I just got round to watching 'Her', which projects some of our current engagements with technology into a believable not-so-distant future where flesh and blood people can and do fall in love with computer operating systems that have the ability to evolve. SPOILER ALERT Along the way, the film brilliantly explores the nature of personhood, especially when Theodore's (the main character) relationship with 'Samantha' (his operating system) is slighted by his soon-to-be ex-wife. That insult becomes a turning point for Theodore as he begins to question, essentially, the personhood status of Samantha. It's a brilliant, probing, film - which I watched the day after watching Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror: White Christmas, which similarly projected into a technological near-future where people themselves can be 'blocked' in 'real life'.

As it happens, I have also been getting to the end of the rather beautiful A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros who has perspective on these potential dystopias:
I think of those abstracted sedentary individuals who spend their lives in an office rattling their fingers on a keyboard: ‘connected’, as they say, but to what?  To information mutating between one second and the next, floods of images and numbers, pictures and graphs.  And after work it’s the subway, the train, always speed, the gaze now glued to the telephone screen, more touches and strokes and messages scrolling past, images … and night falls, when they still haven’t seen anything of the day. Television, another screen.  What dimension do they live in, without dust raised by movement, without contact, in what featureless space, in what time, where neither rain nor shine count?  Those lives, disconnected from roads and routes, make them forget our condition, as if erosion by changing weather over time didn’t exist.
And, of course, I'm writing this on a screen and you're reading this on a screen... still, I shall I will I hope to make more time for non-screenery existence and I wish you a happy and peaceful festive break xxx Billy

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