Does technology alienate us from each other?

Molly Wood Jan 25, 2011
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Does technology alienate us from each other?

Molly Wood Jan 25, 2011
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Sherry Turkle thinks social media is one of many things in the modern technological landscape that can isolate us, make us less human, and potentially cause a lot of harm. It’s in her new book, “Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other.” Turkle doesn’t come by this observation lightly, either.

The book is some 15 years in the making and is the result of massive amounts of research into how people use technology in (and sometimes instead of) interpersonal relationships. “Alone Together” is actually considered the third in a trilogy of books Turkle has written on the connection between people and the machines they build. She’s the founder and director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self.

Turkle says that there are more and more opportunities to communicate at light speed. You can get emails, texts, instant messages, Facebook messages, Twitter messages, actual phone calls, Skype. And if those messages are coming from everywhere and you feel compelled to answer them all, the content of your conversation will get dumbed down as a result, and the conversation with actual meaning — the kind of thing that bonds us as humans — will get chucked overboard.

As the computer becomes ubiquitous (it’s not just in your home; it’s in your pocket and in your car), Turkle says we need to figure out how to manage our machines and not become machines ourselves.

Also in this show, a woman in England hangs up on Apple when they call to give her a $10,000 iTunes gift card.

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