Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other by Sherry TurkleConsider Facebook—it’s human contact, only easier to engage with and easier to avoid. Developing technology promises closeness. Sometimes it delivers, but much of our modern life leaves us less connected with people and more connected to simulations of them.
In Alone Together, MIT technology and society professor Sherry Turkle explores the power of our new tools and toys to dramatically alter our social lives. It’s a nuanced exploration of what we are looking for—and sacrificing—in a world of electronic companions and social networking tools, and an argument that, despite the hand-waving of today’s self-described prophets of the future, it will be the next generation who will chart the path between isolation and connectivity.
‘Friends’ Without a Personal Touch
Instead of being constrained by the responsibilities of real life, Turkle argued, people were using the Web to experiment, trying on personalities like pieces of clothing. If the Internet of was a postmodern playhouse, allowing individuals to engage in unbridled expression, Turkle describes it today as a corporate trap, a ball and chain that keeps us tethered to the tiny screens of our cellphones, tapping out trite messages to stay in touch. The first half is about social robots, those sci-fi androids that promise one day to sweep the kitchen floor, take care of our aging parents and provide us with reliable companionship. Turkle begins with the troubling observation that we often seek out robots as a solution to our own imperfections, as an easy substitute for the difficulty of dealing with others. And all she needs is a power outlet.
T he Furby is a fluffy robot toy that was popular in the late 90s. It looks part owl, part hamster and is programmed to respond to human attention. It has no intelligence, but it can fake attachment. In an intriguing psychological experiment, subjects are asked to take a Furby, a Barbie doll and a live gerbil and hold them upside down in turn. The rodent writhes in obvious discomfort and people quickly release it.
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. Alone Together by Sherry Turkle. Robotic pets. Robotic lovers.
Sign in. Benji helps his brother, Dean, get rid of an aggressive woman who won't leave him alone. Things get complicated when the woman takes an interest in Benji. Esther has a crush on Dean. Esther tries to make a good impression on her neighbors and invites the lesbian couple over for a dinner party, as Benji and Ether's guests arrive at the dinner party Benji has to help out so she Esther plans to donate some of her eggs to be able to afford to freeze her eggs. Benji starts to feel paternal while waiting for the results of a sperm test.