I was really pleased to read Sherry Turkle’s excellent article “We expect more from technology and less from each other”
She makes a very good point about our tech obsessed society and how the instruments of communication that we use every day are getting in the way of face-to-face communication.
The penultimate paragraph is telling: “We seem lonely but afraid of intimacy. Siri, the social network, digital assistants, all of these give the illusion of companionship without the demands of relationship. The path we are on seems fraught with paradox and about the most important human matters.”
Turkle is an interesting person. She has spent many years s a Psychologist (presently at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) looking at the effects of technology on our humanity. In her book “Life On Screen”
- Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet (1995) (paperback ISBN 0-684-83348-4)
she presents a study of how people’s use of the computer has evolved over time, and the profound effect that this machine has on its users.
There is no doubt that technology has enhanced and changed our lives but has it come at a big cost? The cost of our ability to talk to one another person to person in real time and not as a text, or a video message or during a chat.
Turkle is a necessary voice of reason for us all as we more and more allow technology and in particular communications technology to dominate our lives. This is very important because she is asking us to consider how far down the path od electronic existence we have gone and how much we may lose in continuing down the path.
We must remember the importance of human communication, of the chat with the local butcher or the old friend down the road face-to-face and not electronically.
For Turkle’s own views listen to her lecture at the LSE: Lecture about Alone Together London School of Economics, 2 June 2011 or her 2012 Ted Talk: www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together.html
Filed under: Digital Technology