Summary of Alone Together

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Rating

8

Qualities

  • Innovative
  • Scientific
  • Eye Opening

Recommendation

Clinical psychologist Sherry Turkle gained wide acclaim for her discussion of the influence of technology in Life of the Screen, which followed her book, The Second Self. Basing her argument on decades of research at MIT, where she founded the Initiative on Technology and Self, Turkle asserts that smart technologies and robotics don’t improve people’s lives. She sees kids yearning for parental attention, teens struggling with social media, adults desperate for a break from work and elderly people sidelined to be cared for by machines. Her examples are illuminating and make a compelling argument. She highlights the values of the model of child nurturing and parental attention that has ruled for the last 100 years. Turkle encourages you to be more conscious about your choices in using technology. She speaks to parents, to those debating how to manage the influence of technology and to those creating the next generation of smart technologies.

About the Author

Clinical psychologist Sherry Turkle, the founder and director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and the Self, also wrote Life of the Screen and The Second Self.

 

Summary

Nurturing Tech Relationships

Smart networked technologies seem to enhance daily life. They provide information conveniently, support people’s everyday routines, and make connections quick and easy. People care about their technologies – both the machines and the way they open doors to the online world. Being without Internet access can even disrupt family vacations.

Connecting by machine, as with texting, allows people to avoid human interaction such as phone calls or face-to-face meetings. Looking at a screen removes the expectations of a human encounter. Despite the texts, emails and chats that people receive daily, technology is an isolating influence that leaves them lonely.

Children and Robots

Children often describe interactions with robots in interpersonal language; they imbue robots with independent desires. When a robot turns to look at them, kids believe it’s showing interest in them. When children between the ages of five and ten encounter interactive robots, the kids want to turn them into friends. They hope to teach...


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