Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other

Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other

Hardback

By (author) Sherry Turkle

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  • Publisher: BASIC BOOKS
  • Format: Hardback | 360 pages
  • Dimensions: 163mm x 239mm x 36mm | 621g
  • Publication date: 11 January 2011
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0465010210
  • ISBN 13: 9780465010219
  • Sales rank: 47,094

Product description

Facebook. Twitter. Second Life. "Smart" phones. Robot pets. Robot lovers. Thirty years ago we asked what we would use computers for. Now the question is what we don't use them for. Now, through technology, we create, navigate and carry out our emotional lives. We shape our buildings, Winston Churchill argued, then they shape us. The same is true of our digital technologies. Technology has become the architect of our intimacies. Online, we face a moment of temptation. Drawn by the illusion of companionship without the demands of intimacy, we conduct "risk free" affairs on Second Life and confuse the scattershot postings on a Facebook wall with authentic communication. And now, we are promised "sociable robots" that will marry companionship with convenience. Technology promises to let us do anything from anywhere with anyone. But it also drains us as we try to do everything everywhere. We begin to feel overwhelmed and depleted by the lives technology makes possible. We may be free to work from anywhere, but we are also prone to being lonely everywhere. In a surprising twist, relentless connection leads to a new solitude. We turn to new technology to fill the void, but as technology ramps up, our emotional lives ramp down. Alone Together is the result of MIT technology and society specialist Sherry Turkle's nearly fifteen-year exploration of our lives on the digital terrain. Based on interviews with hundreds of children and adults, it describes new, unsettling relationships between friends, lovers, parents and children, and new instabilities in how we understand privacy and community, intimacy and solitude. It is a story of emotional dislocation, of risks taken unknowingly. But it is also a story of hope, for even in the places where digital saturation is greatest, there are people - especially the young - who are asking the hard questions about costs, about checks and balances, about returning to what is most sustaining about direct human connection. At the threshold of what Turkle calls "the robotic moment", our devices prompt us to recall that we have human purposes and, perhaps, to rediscover what they are.

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Author information

Sherry Turkle is the Abby Rockefeller Mauze Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT, the founder and director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self, and a licensed clinical psychologist. She is the author or The Second Self and Life on the Screen. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

Review quote

"New York Times Book Review""[Turkle] summarizes her new view of things with typical eloquence...fascinating, readable.""Wall Street Journal""What [Turkle] brings to the topic that is new is more than a decade of interviews with teens and college students in which she plumbs the psychological effect of our brave new devices on the generation that seems most comfortable with them." Newsweek.com"A fascinating portrait of our changing relationship with technology." "Natural History ""Magazine""A fascinating, insightful and disquieting "intimate ethnography" of our digital, robotic moment in history." "American Prospect""Turkle is a gifted and imaginative writer...[who] pushes interesting arguments with an engaging style."Jill Conway, President emerita, Smith College, and author of "The Road from Coorain""Based on an ambitious research program, and written in a clear and beguiling style, this book which will captivate both scholar and general reader and it will be a landmark in the study of the impact of social media."Mitchel Resnick, LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research and head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Laboratory"Sherry Turkle is the Margaret Mead of digital culture. Parents and teachers: If you want to understand (and support) your children as they navigate the emotional undercurrents in today's technological world, this is the book you need to read. Every chapter is full of great insights and great writing."Kevin Kelly, author of "What Technology Wants""No one has a better handle on how we are using material technology to transform our immaterial 'self' than Sherry Turkle. She is our techno-Freud, illuminating our inner transformation long before we are able see it. This immensely satisfying book is a deep journey to our future selves."Douglas Rushkoff, author of "Program or Be Programmed"""Alone Together" is a deep yet accessible, bold yet gentle, frightening yet reassuring account