Human Dependence on Technology And its New Challenges In Sherry Turkle’s Book Alone Together
After completing Sherry Turkle’s book Alone Together, I was very amused to learn about the new struggles appearing with technology and the worries of how we are becoming more and more dependent upon them. I would agree it seems that at the core of all humans is a desire to be together and a striving for some sort of intimate relationship with others. Simultaneously, however, we are in the constant struggle of becoming invested within an intimate relationship due to the lack of control we have over it. After seeing the stance Prof. Turkle takes on technology and what we are demanding of it as far as for comfort and intimacy goes, I would say that I agree with certain aspects of course, but not all. As I begin my critique on the book I would like to say that I knowledge many of Prof. Turkle’s points, but I view many of them as a bit extreme in comparison to my own life and growing up with these very same technologies that she speaks of.
One of the most interesting parts of the book that I found was under the curing a life section, where social robots were introduced into nursing homes to help the elderly with loneliness when caretakers couldn’t always be by their side. The AIBO, my real baby, which was presented to a few seniors within the nursing home, really caught my attention. This being because I didn’t believe the elderly would actually open up to these forms of robots for companionship considering they had not grown up with them. In reality when worse came to worst there were multiple cases when the elderly would open up and share deep intimate secrets with this technology. As in Jonathan and Andy’s case we are able to see that extreme isolation can lead to ” putting up with” a new technology, which ultimately can lead to adopting the technology and finding comfort in it. Now I do agree with Prof. Turkle on problems that could arise from this newfound comfort within the technology and not actual human interaction, but I do not agree when she claims that this new technology will make it easier for children to stop visiting their parents or feel less guilty about missing meetings with the parents in nursing homes. I feel that that is simply an exaggerated stretch. However I would make the claim that the elderly putting up with these technologies is simply a way of removing cognitive dissonance.
As we know with cognitive dissonance people are motivated to remove dissonance and go about this in various ways. Most start by ignoring opposing viewpoints, changing beliefs to match their actions, and seek reassurance from others during difficult decisions. Ultimately this was seen within Jonathan and Andy’s case when presented the “my real baby”. Both initially had the viewpoints of many adults and would not be caught playing with the doll, but as time moved on they rationalize with themselves that they indeed were not crazy and therefore changed their initial beliefs to make playing or talking to the doll okay. Therefore by changing their beliefs they brought consonance and removed the psychological inconsistency of how they’d been judged for interacting with the “My real baby”.
Therefore as I mentioned before I do believe that Prof. Turkle’s claims are a bit drastic, however I will admit that in both Jonathan and Andy’s case cognitive dissonance was not the only problem at hand. As their cases continued it is easy to see that my real baby was only a temporary solution to their problem of loneliness. Here is where I do agree with Prof. Turkle in the sense that human interaction is mandatory at some point because it provides a more organic sense of understanding that a robot cannot mimic. Taking a step back there is one last point in which I strongly disagree with Prof. Turkle and this is when she said, ”the blurring of intimacy and solitude may reach its starkest expression when a robot is proposed as a romantic partner. But for most people it begins when one creates a profile on a social network…” (12). Again I believe this is a drastic comment that assumes the absolute worst of social networking.
I believe that Prof. Turkle’s statement referring to the blurring of intimacy and solitude within social networking is preposterous for a few reasons. 1st off this statement assumes that everybody would be using social networking for the same reason, interacting with others with more control. However I can personally say that anything that I posted on Facebook or other social networks is an open topic for me to discuss with friends in person. In some cases I would argue people postings on social networks to reach the masses, when simply telling their immediate friend group in person isn’t enough. My argument being that when Prof. Turkle claims that there’s a blurring between intimacy and solitude in the use of social media this is simply a blanket statement that does not assess everybody’s motivation for their actual use of social media networks.
In essence, I do believe that Prof. Turkle’s book raises awareness to the growing concern of humans’ reliability upon technology as a substitute for actual human interaction. However I believe that many of her concerns are worst-case scenario projections that assume there’ll be no moderation when it comes to technology and its uses. I do agree that it is scary to see caretakers within a nursing home saying things such as ”robots substitute just fine for our actual human care” but we must understand that just because a few caretakers make this statement it does not mean that robots will come sweeping in and take over. As both seniors Jonathan and he proved technology and robots can only substitute for so much, at the core all humans crave an actual human-to-human interaction. Once more emphasizing that all things can be useful in moderation, but we must understand technology is not inherently negative as portrayed in Alone Together.
Good And Bad Sides Of The New Era Of Technology
The world of technology has grown to consume our lives and distort our views on the values of authenticity in the biological and social world. As we become more and more dependent on technology, we also become emotionally and socially drained, detaching ourselves from reality. Sherry Turkle, author of “Alone Together” and Malcolm Gladwell, author of “Why the revolution will not be tweeted” discuss the ways in which technology has influenced our views on the values of the real world. As people adapt to a world where technology has fixed itself into their everyday lives, they become dependent on it’s reliability until it eventually consumes their time and reduces the value of relationships to simply connections.
The amount of time we spend connected to the virtual world is reducing the value of real relationships between people, allowing us to “exploit the power of these distant connections with marvelous efficiency” (Gladwell 137). As we realize that it is an easier task to send a quick text than to engage in a time consuming phone call, we become naturally drawn to these “…substitutes for connecting to eachother face-to-face” (Turkle 11). And as more technology begins to take over, younger children are starting to adapt to a life where they need “…continuous connection” (Turkle 17). They are succomed to a seperate world that allows them to connect to whoever they want as whoever they want to be. As a result, robots and even virtual avatars attempt to simulate the appearance of who we want to be and mimic the actions of other human beings to fulfill our need of intimacy and love. We continue to allow these materialistic things satisfy us emotionally, because we feel they are smarter and better than other human beings. In reality, they are just “…a clever collection of “as if” performances” (Turkle 6), programmed to perfect the flaws of human nature. When people online build relationships without intimacy with each other, they are distorted from the value of a real relationship with the assumption that “…a real friend is the same as Facebook friend” (Gladwell 138). We are too afraid of a negative outcome in a face-to-face relationship that we can not just simply avoid, but technology gives us the option of disconnecting or simply logging off if we are no longer happy. So therefore, “we don’t seem to care what these artificial intelligences “know” or “understand” of the human moments we might “share” with them” (Turkle 9), we only care about avoiding the risks of authentic relationships. We would rather not have to learn to expect the unexpected, so we become attached to a world that guarantees us pleasure without pain.
In the age of technology, we have become lazy. Those who say it is only making life simpler are most likely those who were most likely never motivated to do much in the first place. The amount of effort that technology takes away from the stressful moments can also explain why certain goals are reached quicker in the internet age. Social media, especially it’s more successful vehicles such as Facebook and Twitter make it easier to draw in participators, “not by motivating people to make a real sacrifice, but by motivating them to do the things that people do when they are not motivated enough to make a real sacrifice” (Gladwell 138). So now that technology can “substitute where people fail” (Turkle 5), we do not bother to waste our time putting in all the effort ourselves. When we are not asked to do too much, we are more likely to be drawn to the message. That is how Sameer Bhatia, a young entrepreneur that came down with acute myelogenous leukemia, found a bone marrow transplant so fast. Of course, donating bone marrow is a serious matter, “but it doesn’t involve financial or personal risk; it doesn’t mean spending a summer being chased by armed men in pickup trucks” (Gladwell 138). We depend on technology to help us get by our everyday lives with ease, and it reaches to a point where being “connected” becomes a need rather than a want. When we are connected, we expect a sense of security and belonging with anyone we interact with so “we are shaken when that world “unplugged” does not signify, does not satisfy” (Turkle 11). The real world doesn’t give us the instant connection that we desire, and we are too lazy to wait out face-to-face interactions sometimes. The problem with this is that it is not only reducing the need for real interactions, but technology is also becoming time consuming in itself. Even though we feel as if our virtual world is the same, or better, than our real world, we do not realize that the amount of time we spend connected is leaving us with less time in reality. Social networks successfully drawn in and consume more people “…by lessening the level of motivation participation requires” (Gladwell 138). We are more likely to join a group of hundreds on Facebook that only requires a post or a comment than a club at school that requires time out of your schedule and a physical appearance once a week. We never want to take away from our precious time, especially if we do not find it very important, so we find ways to work around it. But in this generation, we will never return to the old ways where people would come from miles around for meetings and gatherings and they preferred it that way. I mean, wouldn’t you like to know who you’re sharing your opinions with? Or giving up personal information to? The world is always moving forwards and finding newer ways to deal with our problems. We know that we spend too much time connected, and we know that it can emotionally affect us when we “unplugged”, but “if the problem is that too much technology has made us busy and anxious, the solution will be another technology that will organize, amuse, and relax us” (Turkle 11). This is why every new phone or every new device that the world makes has an extra feature that makes a common task even simpler than before.
As technology advances, it increases the world’s dependence on it while reducing the value of the biological and social world. We never imagine a future with less technology. You’ll never see a phone or an i-pod return to it’s original model or take away it’s most popular features. We tend to wonder how this will affect us in the long run, and what it is we will see ourselves relying on next, “but what happens next is more of the same” (Gladwell 142). More technology, continuous advancement and a sense of deeper dependence on technology is what the world will come to. Evidently, children growing up in this “new aesthetic” (Turkle 6), or inauthentic era are already distorted from the value of authenticity that was once so important to people who didn’t have technology. They are exposed to a world that lacks real connections and real relationships, making it seem as though the world always was, and is supposed to be that way. They have a “sense that communication has no history, or had nothing of importance to consider before the days of television and the internet” (Gladwell 135), simply because the world is trying to show them that they do not need to depend on authentic relationships to be satisfied. At the Darwin exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History, children were exposed to two real and rare turtles who were placed in cages. When asked if their [the turtles] authenticity was important to them, they responded saying, “for what the turtles do, you didn’t have to have the live ones” (Turkle 4). The children did not see the value of the turtles being real because they did not experience the transition from authentic to aesthetic. They could not relate to the adults in the museum who were once accustomed to everything being real. The turtles to them were not fascinating because they had flaws that robots would not have had. “Gross” (Turkle 4), as the children describe it. And as technology continues to advance, it will continue to replace the authenticity of the real world, leaving the upcoming generations with less knowledge about the past.
The new era of technology is not necessarily such a bad thing. Technology allows people to achieve goals in a more efficient way. Take Nora, for example. When she became engaged, she emailed her family to inform them of the wedding date. Nora’s brother, Randy, was upset that his sister chose to send an email instead of calling. “…Nora illustrates how we want it [technology] to make us more efficient in our private lives” (Turkle 16). Nora personally depended on the “ease and speed” (Gladwell 142) of the internet to get the message out to her family but she did not realize that she was merely reducing the value of her relationship with her brother.
Main Motives And Ideas Of A Book “Alone Together”
I would like to start off by saying that I really enjoyed your book Alone Together and that it spoke to me on many levels. I really think that a lot of what you were saying can be boiled down to that fact that “technology is seductive when what it offers meets our human vulnerabilities” (1).In real life humans are vulnerable in so many ways, we can easily get hurt both physically and emotionally, the dreams we may have for ourselves can take decades to achieve and in the mean time it seems as though we are going nowhere, and most importantly of all, we are mortal. When we let ourselves fall in to the alluring hands of technology it is all too easy to let our real lives fall away into an abyss of hopelessness. Virtual life is too easy it gives us “the exhilaration of creativity without its pressures, the excitement of exploration without its risks”(224).When in a game I can accomplish my dreams in a week what would take me years to complete in real life why wouldn’t I take the easy way out? A lot of the time it just seems like “real life takes too many steps and can often disappoint” (224). In games we have multiple lives and if we get seriously hurt our health regenerates in minutes. If we make a mistake we can just start over and try again. There are so many ways that virtual life is in theory better than real life but there is still one factor that makes it more worthwhile to give real life a chance too. Virtual life isn’t real and at the end of the day it can never compete with a true accomplishment.
Another thing that I noticed you talked a lot about in Alone Together is intimacy and robots. More and more children are starting to play with electronics instead of the traditional dolls, board games, and sports equipment. Children play with these new toys and get attached to them to the point of thinking that they are real. It got the point where “children said that a sociable robot’s movement and intelligence were signs of life” (28).This may be why more people are trying to make robots that can be our friends or even in some cases lovers. You claimed that “in February 2010, I googled the exact phrase ‘sex robots’ and came up with 313,000 hits” (25). Out of curiosity I googled the same phrase in November 2015, I was greeted with over 10,600,000 hits. It seems that people are forgetting how to have proper human contact and are resorting to technology to fill the void.
We have gotten to a point where it is unusual to be fully alone, or even want to be. Even romantic vacation photographs find their way on to Facebook seconds after they are taken. Everybody is on dating sites or sites to make new friends but hardly any real connections are ever made. When it comes down to it “we are lonely but fearful of intimacy” (1).A few years ago when many of my friends had moved away and we had all lost touch I was feeling very lonely. I was still very shy back then but I desperately wanted to make new friends and I didn’t know how anymore because I had had the same group of friends for so long. I had heard about this website called meetme.com that was supposed to be used to make friends in your area and it was primarily used by people around my age. I thought that this could be perfect because then I could at least practice talking to other people and maybe even make a few friends. So I set up my profile and waited. I scrolled through some of the people near me but most of them only posted about smoking pot so I decided to wait for someone to contact me. Not very long had passed before I had a few different messages, every single one was either some guy asking for pictures of my boobs, some guy who wanted to meet up to have casual sex, or some guy who started with hi or hello and quickly escalated to something like that. I quickly deleted my account after that and I couldn’t help but be shocked by that kind of behavior. They didn’t even want to get to know me they just wanted to skip to the end and get some sort of laid with or without me there.This is what technology might be turning us into because anything and everything we could want is just a click away.
Even when we try to actually connect with someone through technology it’s just not the same. What often happens is that “we project our feelings and worry that our messages are a burden to others”(168).I have often felt this way when trying to make plans with someone or even just trying to strike up a friendly conversation. I cannot take the high road here though. I have often found myself feeling burdened by friends trying to have conversations with me. It’s almost as though we think to ourselves great they weren’t in my plans for the day and now I need to deal with them. It truly upsets me when I find myself having thoughts like that and I have to tell myself to stop because these are my friends and I love them so I should show it. But a lot of the time the burden is only felt when it is something like texting, email, or Facebook messages because “an email or text seems to have been always on its way to the trash. These days, as a continuous stream of texts becomes a way of life, we may say less to each other because we imagine that what we say is almost already a throwaway” (168).If someone were to call me it would be more appreciated and feel more heartfelt than just a message.With our dependency on technology it’s almost as if “with sociable robots, we imagine objects as people. Online, we invent ways of being with people that turn them into something close to objects” (168).For example when I used to be obsessed with Facebook games like Farmville and Castleville I would always send my friends that also played the games requests for parts or items I needed. I would get so annoyed when they wouldn’t immediately send them because it was hindering my progress in the game. It was almost as if the game and the virtual world I was building was more real and important than the people I needed items from, which were other real people that also played this game.
We must find ways to balance technology with real life and always remember that real life is much more important. We also need to remember that it’s okay to be alone sometimes. “People are lonely. The network is seductive. But if we are always on, we may deny ourselves the rewards of solitude” (3).We shouldn’t stop being innovative but we also need to limit ourselves were need be.
Sincerely Yours, Valeri
How Technology Affect On Human Behavior According To The Book Alone Together
As we use technology more and more we expect our social lives to become more active. We expect many aspects of our lives to improve and we think the very relationship between us and technology is the solution to this drive for improvement. Sherry Turkle in the book Alone Together challenges that expectation. She talks about emotional connections with inanimate objects, robots, artificial intelligence, intimacy, and the illusion of socialization. In Part 1 of the book you feel a hint of nostalgia when the author talks about toys like tamagotchis and furbies. We examined the “mourning” of children after one of their toys has “died”. Children have the power to make these toys living things to them, and to us they’re just a hunk of metal, wires, and plastic. Children create bonds with toys that may not necessarily be healthy for them. Toys like My Real Baby advertise that it will improve your child’s social life when in reality it’s just giving them something to do. We look at the elderly in Japan and examine their need for robotic caregivers, and how the lack of emotional and human connection could make our future change dramatically. In Part 2 of the book we examine something more relevant and personal. We examine how are connectivity is changing our lives. Social media and online worlds ask you to form an identity. A lot of the time that identity is different from your own. This book is one of the most interesting books I’ve read in my life, in the rest of my essay I’ll examine the book so you can decide for yourself if it is worth reading.
Alone Together was written to first give background to the emotional attachment to technology, and then to show how it is part of our everyday reality. The author of this book is Sherry Turkle. Sherry Turkle is currently a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She wrote Alone Together to address the rapidly growing movement towards technology and how its changing our behavior. Her life relates to the content of this book because before she wrote the book Alone Together she wrote a book called Life on the Screen which examined a study of how people use computers. Her thoughts evolved from computers to technology as a whole, and that is why she wrote this book. The audience of this book is intended for everyone, you can tell because the book does not speak in a tone that would be more satisfying to a younger or older audience. There is an opinionated tone in the book but it is more descriptive, it satisfies everyone. Also there are photos of people on the front of the book from various backgrounds and age groups.
The beginning of the book starts off my looking at children “mourning” the loss of their toy. They have formed emotional attachments to these toys and become sad when it dies. We look at robots like AIBO, a robot dog that interacts with people. There is one caveat about this robot, and that is it doesn’t require any sort of attention. The relationship between AIBO and a child can only have the child think about themselves. We look at how artificial intelligence is being developed to address the needs of Japan’s aging population. Although robots would help in many ways, there is a concern that the lack of human touch would be detrimental to their lives and our world’s future. In Part 2 of the book we look at social media. We change aspects of our personality so we can appear a certain way on websites like Twitter and Facebook. We create a new identity for ourselves and edit out the parts we don’t like. We’re so closely networked together but we communicate with each other for the amusement or comfort. Social media has changed what we perceive as a friendship as our connections are much more shallow and less meaningful. People also prefer texting over face to face communication in hopes of removing an awkward boundary. Finally, we look at avatars and how they allow us to form companionships online without having to actually form a relationship with someone. The author’s main argument is that the direction technology is heading is that it will keep us so connected that we will be furthered into isolation and further from being connected than ever.
The author’s argument is that children are mourning the loss of their toy that has no soul. This poses the question what defines a human being? And if a soul is the differentiator what makes the soul? Children are placing so much emotion in these objects that they see a soul in them. For example, “Denise panics: It’s dead. It’s dead right now…It’s eyes are closed” (Alone Together 43) Denise panicking over a toy dying seems really abnormal, if my toy “died” I would be upset over it shutting off or the battery dying. Not the life of the toy dying. It’s different from a game because the whole object is part of its personality. This is driving them into isolation because all of the emotion and time being given to this device could be invested in their social life or immediate surroundings. The AIBO toy teaches children to worry about their needs in a relationship. The reason for this is because the toy doesn’t require any needs, like most robotic toys do. So it’s companionship doesn’t require the interaction of the child. This is unhealthy in so many ways because the child is learning relationship dynamics early on with their toys. The My Real Baby toy is marketed to children to teach them ‘socialization’, in reality this is not the case. “I am skeptical. I believe that sociable technology will always disappoint because it promises what it cannot deliver. It promises friendship but can only deliver performances. Do we really want to be in the business of manufacturing friends that will never be friends?” (Alone Together 101) I think this is really disturbing giving that these children are interacting with something that they think is their companion when they could be spending that time socializing with real people. One of the most relevant quotes from the book to me is “In the new etiquette, turning away from those in front of you to answer a mobile phone or respond to a text has become close to the norm. When someone holds a phone, it can be hard to know if you have that person’s attention. A parent, partner, or child glances down and is lost to another place. Often without realizing that they have taken leave” (Alone Together 161). This is by far the strongest quote in favor of the author’s argument. You have people plugged into their phones to be more connected but if you walk up to them they may not be paying attention. That is the most ironic thing in existence. The last quote I have in support of the author’s main argument is about avatars. Some people perform their life through avatars or virtual characters. “When we perform a life through our avatars, we express our hopes, strengths, and vulnerabilities…People can use an avatar as ‘practice for real life” (Alone Together 212) This is not good at all. All of that expression and vulnerability is going right down the drain. Nobody online cares, lets be real. You would be best expressing that in real life and then seeing real life results.
In conclusion, I think this book is definitely worth reading. I think there are so many things to be learned from this book. Technology is rapidly changing the world and if you want to learn more about this and how it is affecting human behavior I highly recommend picking up this book. I give this book 5 our of 5 stars.
Sherry Turkle’s View on the Significance of Technology in Communication as Depicted in Her Book, Alone Together
As technology continues to advance at a seemingly higher rate than ever, one would think that it would be difficult to keep up with the pace of new innovations. Rather the opposite is true as the technology itself allows adapting to change to be more convenient than ever before. In her work Alone Together, Sherry Turkle argues that the interactive technology we have been introduced to in recent times is allowing us to communicate with others beyond physical and natural means. The prominence of social media, along with smartphones that allow for constant access to it, are factors she feels have created a parallel, digital world, in which identity can be skewed. As a result, there are large consequences that digital interaction can have to one’s well being. According to Turkle, when one indulges in the instantaneous and easy-access components of digital interaction, they develop a dependence on this world for their own self-security. Insecurity would threaten one’s perceived identity. I agree with Turkle’s concerns of how the digital world can threaten our true identity. The high level of freedom that we have through digital interaction gives us the tendency to exploit it to our benefit in any way possible. Simultaneously we become dependent on its use, allowing it to facilitate our mental well-being. With instant transmission comes the desire for instant gratification; with constant accessibility comes the lack of privacy.
Long before smartphones and the Internet, there has always been a social element that would affect what one would do, and how they saw themselves. This element was always limited to the physical situation that a person was in, concerning who they were physically around and directly interacting with. There seemed to be an organic balance of public and private presence. One could never commit suicide on their privacy, something that seems to be encouraged in modern social media. The narrative of social media invites us to broadcast each moment of our lives to our peers, as if everything we say or feel is a unique talent that needs approval and admiration from the public. The validation of our feelings is what establishes them (Turkle 162). At the other end, since we are constantly accessing the thoughts or moments of our peers, we are always thinking about what other people are doing, in comparison to what we are doing ourselves. This mindset used to be limited to face-to-face interactions with people, and was only based on what the person we are talking to wants to share with us. Now our thoughts are much more tyrannic, based on what we effortlessly see on the web versus what we sparingly hear in person.
The unique property of digital interaction is that we can be led to confuse the nature of the technology with the nature of the person we are using the technology to interact with. This is very typical of young adults and teenagers. Turkle describes a teenage girl who ties her emotions into text messaging with her friends. As soon as she sends a text message to a friend, a tiny speck of anxiety is formed, multiplying as time elapses with no response from her friends (Turkle 161). The instantaneous transmission of text messages assures the girl that her friend immediately received the message, leading her to expect her friend to immediately reply. It is normal for teenagers especially to seek validation from peers, but when we can interact with such convenience through text messages, we expect this validation to come as soon as we need it.
Because we expect validation so quickly through the digital world, we use social media to portray ourselves as a version of us we feel would be validated and not who we are. Despite how much we may want to show who we really are, we are pressured away from doing so to some extent to compromise with acceptance from our peers. When we have access to their personal details, we’re likely to see things that we wish we were doing or had ourselves. With the option to say things online, as opposed to showing things in real life, we may have the urge to exaggerate, as if we are editing our resume for a particular job. For example, a fourteen-year-old girl who just created a Facebook account sees the accounts of her peers. She’s then bombarded with a frenzy of mental questions, such as what pictures to add and how much to show or hide about her actual life. When she sees that some of her friends have boyfriends, she begins to look for any excuse to post that she is in a relationship as well. This leads to her weighing the repercussions of what she considers a relationship that her “boyfriend” does not (Turkle 165). All of this paranoia and lack of contentment originated from a digital source and is affecting her reality. Our biggest social worries used to center around how we look before we go out. In the digital world, we are always out, so we need to look great.
It is impossible to completely deny the benefits that have come from social media and communication through the Internet in general. People are able to instant message with each other from different countries. Strong relationships are being developed between people who have never seen each other in person or even heard each other speak before. One may argue that digital interaction does not control our mental well-being but gives us the freedom and connection to improve it. This can be particularly true with naturally unsocial people, who may find a niche online in which they can feel completely comfortable. The Internet may be medicinal for these people in that regard, but still does not solve the actual problem at hand. Wendell Berry asserts that he has yet to purchase a computer to replace his typewriter, with a primary reason being that nobody has used a computer to write a work that is explicitly better than Dante’s (Berry). In terms of interaction via Internet, while the technology has advanced, it’s only true advantage involves making a problem easier to deal with, rather than resolving it. Any sense of identity that we feel from digital interaction is completely virtual-based, never having the omnipresence that a true identity would.
At the end of the day, nothing can stop us from living in physical reality. Just as people use drugs to cope with reality, we are literally using the Internet to cope with reality. Social media has instilled in our heads the idea that if you are not interacting, things are awkward. You must always be interacting, or at least look like you are. It is such an accepted practice to always be using your phone that people pretend they have somebody to text over doing nothing, just so that they look normal. With drugs, when one isn’t satisfied with the effect it gives them, they take more. If we aren’t content with our status on social media, instead of giving it up, we become more obsessed with it, in the process deterioriating both our privacy as well as that of our peers. Once we trade our privacy for validation from others, our identity belongs to them. Perhaps the greatest flaw of the Internet is that it allows us to choose who we are, rather than simply be who we are, which is probably the greatest freedom.
Technologies and Human Life in Alone Together and Bumping into Mr. Ravioli
Technology nowadays is playing a major and unique role in everyone’s lives. Technology has both positive and negative effects on the people all over the world. Cell phones, I pad, laptops, etc. made the human’s life more efficient, but it has a negative side also. Nowadays, we have so many ways of communicating and connecting with our loved ones. We can use these easy and quick ways to interact with others like phone messenger, Snapchat, WhatsApp, etc. But the problem here is that we have become too reliant on technology or social media. Everyone, whether it’s a student, a businessman or a doctor, everyone is dependent on technology. Sherry Turkle, in her essay Alone Together talks about the relation between human beings and technology such as robots. The author also examines the concept of authenticity in her essay and she tell us how technology such as robots can replace humans to give us less painful and an excellent relationship with no heartbreaks and fighting. Apart from technology, there is a world of imagination also. Humans have a unique power of imagination. We humans have an ability to think about something which doesn’t exist. It can be a person, an event or any other fantasy. Adam Gopnik in his essay Bumping into Mr. Ravioli explains this idea of imagination and he also tells us about his daughter’s creative mind filled with imagination. In his essay, Gopnik provides a look at a modern American lifestyle, the life of the New Yorker. Turkle explains the impact technology has in our personal lives and people nowadays are so busy with their work and technology that they don’t have time to spend with their closed ones.
Adam Gopnik’s daughter Olivia, a young three-year-old girl growing up in New York, creates an imaginary friend, Charlie Ravioli, who she calls him as “Mr. Ravioli”. Her creative thinking illustrates the idea of imagination. Mr. Ravioli is always busy, he is never free to play with her. Olivia is just a three-year-old, so she doesn’t have a busy schedule like his parents and his seven and a half year old elder brother Luke, who Gopnik thought “might be the original of Charlie Ravioli” and he “has become a true New York child, with the schedule of a cabinet secretary: chess club on Monday, T-ball on Tuesday, tournament on Saturday, play dates and after-school conferences to fill in the gaps” (Gopnik 154). Olivia created this imaginary friend like his brother, as she wishes to have someone with her playing and interacting with her when she is alone. From his daughter’s creation of an imaginary playmate, Gopnik feels that nowadays people are so busy with their work and technology that they don’t have enough time to spend with their close and loved ones. Communicating through technology has made our relationships less understanding and with less sharing of feelings or expressing emotions. Through Technology, we are losing our authenticity. Turkle also talked about the idea of authenticity and she said: “Authenticity for me, follows from the ability to put oneself in the place of another, to relate to the other because of the shared store of human experiences; we are born, have families, and know the loss and the reality of death. A robot, however sophisticated, is patently out of this loop” (Turkle 267-8). Authenticity in this means that we can relate ourselves to the living creatures because we can share human experiences like expressing feelings of loss of death or feelings of happiness with them. For a better relationship with anyone, we should not lose authenticity and should always be sharing feelings with person rather than on technology.
The key to a real relationship is authenticity, which means being true to one’s self and to others about who one really is. Authenticity shows that two individuals have a mutual feeling for each other, but when one chooses to connect digitally, he/she can lose the authentic aspect of the relationship. In Gopnik’s essay, he talks about how “we build rhetorical baffles around our lives to keep the crowding out, only to find that we have let nobody we love in” (Gopnik 158). When Gopnik mentions “rhetorical baffles”, he means that by texting, email, fax, video chat, etc. he wants one to understand that people are building a barrier between themselves and their loved ones. Whether or not it’s intentional, that barrier is keeping those important people out of them lives. Gopnik also mentions “keeping the crowding out”. Every day, the number of people a person can meet would be so overwhelming that one might feel pressured and stressed. Electronic devices relieve some of that stress with the boundary that they create. With this boundary, on one side are the people in which one wants to keep close to and on the other side are people in which one wants to keep a distance from. Unfortunately, this can also result in ones loved ones being caught on the wrong side of the barrier. Similarly, Turkle believes that humans use electronic devices to keep one another at arm’s length. When Gopnik mentions “rhetorical baffles”, one might believe that he is talking about the boundaries that Turkle mentions when she says that, “As we instant-massage, email, text, and Twitter, technology redraws the boundaries between intimacy and solitude.” (Turkle 272).
In comparison to Bumping into Mr. Ravioli, Alone Together, by Sherry Turkle elaborates how imaginative thoughts serve as mechanisms that allow certain possibilities occur. These thoughts are desires one wishes could or could have happened, a part of human existence and an experience of reality. Imagination ultimately constitutes a large part of who we are that is stemmed off from one’s imagination and creativity, creating all individuals unique from each other. Gopnik’s essay pinpoints the communication through emails, texts, faxes, and tablets. Charlie Ravioli and the traveling mindset can be linked by imposing a new grid of interest through the work force of productivity, establishing connections along the way. Adam Gopnik points out that people occupied by work are always struggling to have fewer responsibilities and more time to do more work. Even though she is only three, Charlie Ravioli is what attracts her, so she decides to call him, however, he is always too busy. In Gopnik’s essay; he states, “She sighs, sometimes, at her inability to make their schedules mesh, but she accepts it as inevitable, just the way life is” (Gopnik 153). Charlie Ravioli plays an essential role in Olivia’s life, which makes it her personal grid of interest. This quote is significant because at a certain age, she understands the concept of being busy and obtaining a daily routine. She makes use of the phrase “accepts it as inevitable, just the way life is,” to enhance that everyone is busy. The connection between the two quotes connects their different outcome of interests.
So, at last I will say apart from technology, there is a world of imagination also. Individuals can differentiate humanity and fantasy through imagination. It allows one to make original choices, fluctuating thoughts from originality to creativity. Sherry Turkle tells us about the connections between technology such as robots, and human. In her essay, Turkle explores the idea of authenticity and how robots can offer humans better relationships as well as a better life. Adam Gopnik, illustrates this idea of imaginative thinking and its value through the act of being creative as a young child. One-way thoughts can run through one’s mind are solely influenced by different art forms in life.
Huxley and Turkle Synthesis
The evolution of technology has changed the modern day society in many ways. From the creation of the fundamental wheel to the latest iPhone XS, technology has made both a positive and negative impact on how people view life. The two texts Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and “Alone Together” by Sherry Turkle depict how society reacts to the excessive amount of technology they experience regularly. The futuristic novel by Huxley indicates that humans will be completely controlled by soma, the menacing drug developed by technology, and the non-fiction article by Turkle present circumstances where humans have already started being steered by this upcoming complication.
The use of soma and technology leads to the complete deterioration of the realism that comes from life because of the pseudo happiness created. The utilization of soma and technology are shown as continuous, which makes it convenient to get a hold of. Soma, in Huxley’s novel, plays a major role in maintaining citizens to be happy. As presented, “there is always soma, delicious soma” for when people start to feel unhappy or uncomfortable, they won’t start acting out of line. This shows how there is always soma present, especially when society gets overwhelmed and maybe on the verge of thinking for themselves. Soma stops its users from thinking and makes them happy, so that they wouldn’t realize that there is no reality in their life. Turkle also talks about this topic, but with how our phones are always on us, and how we constantly use them to escape reality. “If you’re spending three, four, five hours a day in an online game or virtual world (a time commitment that is not unusual), there’s got to be a place you’re not” (Turkle 273).
Unfortunately, there is no place we are not, because the convenience of technology has allowed us to spend hours upon hours of our lives in another world that isn’t our own. This takes away from the authenticity of our lives which we create ourselves, not some app for role playing. In addition to their convenience, soma and technology blur reality. When in discomfort, soma and technology are desired, which end up creating a sense of fabricated happiness. Soma, a pill which causes the human to all negative emotions is considered “the perfect drug. Euphoric, narcotic, [and] pleasantly hallucinant. ” This is considered a happy and pain-relieving drug which hallucinates its users. With fake happiness being created, this perfect drug blocks humans from understanding the highs and lows of life. Turkle’s text also revolves around how technology blurs reality by showing how fake happiness gets in the way of veracity of life. The truth is that many adults make fake accounts and lure kids into all sorts of awful things. All the kids however, “they nurture friendships on social-networking sites and then wonder if they are among friends. ” This shows that kids, who want to make friends in social media, believe they are happy, but do not know what making a friend truly is.
Despite making friends online, no one can be sure, whether they are “real” friends, and this blurs the sense of reality because no one can tell whether the people they interact with online are truly “real” or not. Soma and technology also create a gap from reality, which changes how people view the truth. Huxley demonstrates how soma makes its users escape from reality by “swallowing half an hour before closing time, the second dose of soma has raised a quite impenetrable wall between the actual universe and their minds. ” This shows that when citizens take soma, their mind is not stable and cannot view things accurately, which is a tremendous cause of the citizen’s inability to think. According to Huxley, a society that does not think, is not violent. The inability to think deteriorates the society’s perspective of real life. Turkle mentions technology as real vs. not real, and introduces if non reality affects humans. Turkle talks about how Rebecca and Turkle were visiting the Galapagos and how the tortoises were not moving. Rebecca “thought it was a shame to bring the turtle all this way from its island home in the Pacific, where it was just going to sit there in the museum, motionless, doing nothing. Rebecca was both concerned for the imprisoned turtle and unmoved by its authenticity”(Turkle 265). Rebecca believed that a fake tortoise would rather be suited better for a natural environment than a real tortoise.
This shows that her solution to making the tortoises be active is to make robotic ones.
The fact that people would go to visit the Galapagos Islands to see robotic turtles instead of real ones proves how technology takes away from the authenticity of our lives. Overall, both authors, Huxley and Turkle, portray technology in a powerful but negative manner to show how people are blinded to the realism that comes from life by the pseudo happiness technology creates. Soma and technology are shown as controlling and erroneous by how they create pseudo happiness, not giving its users even a glimpse of reality. Huxley and Turkle both warn their readers that technology will get to a point where it will be able to control people without them even questioning it.
Role of Modern Technology in Alone Together Novel
The use of technology is increasing day by day, we all depend on technology and we use various technologies to accomplish specific tasks in our lives. From an individual to big organizations, everyone uses technology. Today, we have various emerging technologies which impact our lives in different ways. Technology is being implemented in almost every section of our lives like business, communication education, and more importantly health. Sherry Turkle in her essay, “Alone Together” discusses how technology can be used by anyone to ease their life and how robots can take place instead of a person. Mariam, presented as a woman who is alone, forgotten by her family depends on a robot that serves as a friend for her. However, robots cannot be replaceable for humans because they do not have emotions or any kind of sense towards us. Lisa Belkin on the other side, in “The Made-to-Order Savior” talks about how using medical technology to help a woman produce a baby for the sole purpose of saving another one. The parents of two cancer patients have been trying to save their children for a long time. They face criticism while treating their children for using such a controversial method. But not taking any conflicts into consideration, they try to come of as many solutions they can to save their children. We live in a society where there are critics everywhere and are very judgemental. Sometimes, there are failures in bioethical implications of biological and medical procedures, technologies, and treatments. Regardless of these moral or bioethical complications, ‘lay’ people can be their own “experts” because any person has the right to use the technology whenever they want and utilize it in a right manner if they have enough knowledge.
Complication arises while using technology on who is using it and how it is being used but everyone has an equal right on it. Technology has given us opportunities to fix most of our life problems. In “The Made-to-Order Savior” there are few technologies introduced to cure a Fanconi child by a bone-marrow transplant from a matched sibling donor. These health technological development gave the parents of Molly and Henry to take a step forward to save their children. They went on with the treatment but instead they faced failures where researches/doctors gave up too. For instance, Dr. Wagner tried to help the parents but didn’t succeed, “You have to stop,…There is a point where I have to say: ‘It’s over. You’ve done it. You’ve done the best you could’” (Belkin 13). Dr. Wagner is a scientific director of clinical research in the Marrow Transplant Program at the University of Minnesota, he tried his best but couldn’t help Molly. Molly’s mother Lisa reacted as “I couldn’t hear the word no, No’ meant Molly could die” (Belkin 13). Lisa, Molly’s mother does not believe him and still try to go ahead with any health technological treatment possible, believing there is hope to save the sick child. People put their deepest trust in technology. Similarly, In Trukle’s essay Alone Together, Mariam an old woman has a robot named Paro as a mate because her son has broken all relationships with her. Turkle says “Encouraged, Mariam shows yet more affection for the little robot. In attempting to provide the comfort she believes it needs, she comforts herself” (Turkle 270). This quote means that Mariam is now relying on a robot who has no feelings yet she is using him by replacing his son to a robot because comforts and give her happiness. She basically used technology when she was facing moral complications. She did not fully understand that in the moment of apparent connection; robot did not comprehend anything, but it was still her decision and right to use it.
Even though technology is sometimes not affordable; it now has more great new software, features and apps that are being introduced all the time. The right to use still does not change on whoever or however they want to use it. Mark Hughes in “The Made-to-Order Savior”, known as a great researcher also undergoes hurdles while using technology for his research because “Congress banned all federal financing of embryo research, and Hughes was forced to continue his research with private funds only” (Belkin 6) . Hughes still continues his research “Hughes had certainly thought of the possibility of using PGD (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis) to determine HLA type” (Belkin 6), in spite all these complications, he has the right to use the technology however he wants it because he has enough knowledge. Sherry Turkle on the other side presents a case how nowadays people prefer technology over an actual human being. Anne a graduate student, in “Alone Together” whom the writer spoke to is in her mid-twenties and says ‘She would trade in her boyfriend ‘for a sophisticated Japanese robot” if the robot would produce what she called ‘caring behavior’…She said, ‘If the robot could provide the environment, I would be happy to help produce the illusion that there is somebody really with me.’ She was looking for a ‘no-risk relationship’ that would stave off loneliness” (Turkle 270-271). By depicting this, Turkle shows how she is making her own choices on how she wants to make the use of technology. She says she would prefer robot instead of another person that would not make feel lonely and instead it would be caring than an actual person who had feelings. From an expert to any ordinary person; has the right to use the technology where everyone put their trust into it whether it will work for them or not.
Consumer trusts technology with anything; when it comes to a ‘lay person’ who is in crisis, do not think about the outcome but go on with it to solve it. Consumers put their hope and believe technology is the solution to anything but at first may be they should take a look at what technology they have surrounded with is capable of and secure to solve their problems. In “The Made-to-Order-Savior” another patient Henry, who also is a cancer patient and needs a transplant. His parents tries their best to save him but their attempts always failed. Henry’s mom Laurie believes that science will fix everything and says “We worked with the world’s best doctors. We hoped. We believed. We were brave. We preserved. And despite all that didn’t work. I am left with my belief system intact. I believe in love and science. Nothing more, nothing less” (Belkin 16). By this quote, Laurie meant that even though she tried everything that was in her hands to save her child. She still does not lose hope and depends on technology to save her child. The man purpose of Belkin putting this quote by Laurie is to show how Laurie has the right to use technology even if she had incur failures throughout. Parents can make their own choices on a behalf of their sick child and make the use of technology as needed if they are guided properly. Likewise, Turkle also mentions how people have the same belief about robots/technology. Turkle says, “Putting hope in robots expresses as enduring technological optimism, a belief that as other things go wrong, science will go right. In a complicated world, robots seem a simple salvation” (Turkle 272). She means that as a right to use technology, people put their hope in technology which will always be right. If the problem is that technology is harming in any way, technology will yet be the solution to what’s causing the harm. There is no such thing as technology being used too much because everyday the world has something new to offer to better people’s lives.
People invest so much hope and trust while using technology. People rely on technology for everything: to chat, to pay bills, to save a sick child, or get rid of loneliness. Technology comforts people; robots are there when people feel lonely. It’s ludicrous how technology has improved equipments in health surgeries too. Now people are benefitted by implants and transplants to get better. Now, new discoveries in science and technology can help a sick child to improve his/her health conditions. People become dependent on robots and other types of technology to better themselves. Technology really ties us up that tight that we get addicted to it. The right to use technology is universal; no one should be banned to use it. When people are in crisis they depend on technology to get the solutions to their problems and no has the right to steak that right if it is being used in a right manner where none is harmed. ‘Lay’ people who are patents, parent of patents or consumers of any technology have the same right to use technology as of a doctor’s rights, the difference is just that doctor or researchers have more knowledge on how to use it. ‘Lay’ people can consume knowledge from the experts and make the use of technology. Mariam, who was using a robot to get rid of her loneliness, made her own decision to use it because her family had left her. She was happy and satisfied with it; so no one can question her about how she is using the robot.
Depiction of Technological Progress in Alone Together Book
Alone Together Research Essay
In today’s world technology plays a very important aspect of people’s day to day lives. It allows work to be done over the computer, flexible school schedule, and many more great activities. However, it can also have many negative aspects. In alone together the author Sherry Turkle describes technology as the plans of our relationships. She also describes how in the online world you can build a life that we all dream of and hope of having one day. She says, “Finally, a place to love your body, love your friends, and love your life” (Turkle 1). I find it ironic how she states the perfect life can only be created online. Life is tough, however great things can be achieved through knowledge. Has social media made us more social? Or has it made us alone together? Technology allows us to make connections with friends and family, work more efficiently. Technology is in a sense taken to a higher level where it’s become more than just face to face interactions. While Turkle uncovers to us some clear and basic issues with how we relate to the development of new technology, I believe some of her points are existent and are happening all around us. Research and data prove how online confession sites exist, how online life draws us away from our responsibilities, being online promotes a sense of fear, and that people prefer to text over talking.
The first point Turkle makes is that websites where people can go online to anonymously confess problems whether they are real or not in fact exists. However, a lot of the responses can be useful and have some meaning, while other times they are very cruel. A majority of the posts admitted are stunning, which is most likely why they are admitted on an anonymous site. “We cannot blame technology for this state of affairs. It is people who are disappointing each other. Technology merely enables us to create a mythology in which this does not matter” (Turkle 237). Turkle describes the evolutionary technology as leaving us vulnerable. I agree with Turkle here because it is the anonymous world of the internet that allows bullying to take place with no repercussions. I find it very interesting and curios to see why people share their stories in confession sites and ultimately sharing to someone we don’t know. Research shows it’s easier to be mean when you don’t have to say something to a person’s face. It’s hard for some people to vent their problems in person. In the article Why is everyone so angry on the internet it states how interacting on peoples comments lead to a feeling of accomplishment. “Unfortunately, mainstream media have made a fortune teaching people the wrong ways to talk to each other, offering up Jerry Springer, Crossfire, Bill O’Reilly. People understandably conclude rage is the political vernacular, that this is how public ideas are talked about” (Wasserman). This quote shows how there are media outlets that do not provide a higher standard of moral values. It seems like most of the programs are degrading everyone. “If on a website comments are left up that are making personal attacks in the nastiest way, you’re sending the message that this is acceptable human behavior.” It is now believed that insulting a person’s beliefs or actions is the correct behavior in our society. People tend to follow what others are doing, which leads to a community of outrage. Communication is about taking someone’s point of view, grasping there point and answering. Data and examples prove that confession sites are abundant and degrading.
The second point that Turkle argues is that online life is allows people to feel better about themselves than their real lives, by creating a false image. Consequently, they don’t realize that an online life can draw them away from their real life responsibilities. He also states that there is an addiction to the online world. According to turkle connecting with people becomes a craving, when we receive a text our central nervous systems respond by giving us a shot of dopamine.
Turkle uses the example of a gambler, who expresses that “To escape, gamblers flee to a machine zone where the goal is not to win but to be. Gambling addicts simply want to stay in the game, comfortable in a pattern where other things are shut out […] The gambler and video game player share a life of contradiction: you are overwhelmed, and so you disappear into the game” (Turkle 227). I tend to agree with Turkle because we go through negative life consequences such as job loss, family problems, financial issues, and many more. Most of the times we look for escape routes that diminish our problems. I look at it very similar to a drug addict who escapes reality by getting loaded day after day leading to addiction. For example Facebook users had lower Grade Point Averages and spent less time studying than students who did not use these social networking sites. “Of the 26% of students reporting an impact of their usage on their lives, three-quarters (74%) claimed that it had a negative impact, namely procrastination, distraction, and poor time-management” (Griffiths). The findings support the idea that Social networking sites are used by some people in order to cope with negative life events. The addiction side is proved by 24 year old women who used Facebook constantly for at least five hours a day and was fired from her job because she continuously checked her social media sites instead of working. It states that even during her interview, she used her mobile phone to access Facebook. However, there is a lot of evidence provided by researchers and interviews, which prove the claim that Turkle addresses of online lives can make us forget our priorities and allow addictions to occur a valid fact.
Turkle last point states that our generation today, especially the younger people who have grown up with mostly screen-based communication prefer texting over actual talking. Technolgoy is a great way to keep interactive with friends and family all around the globe. Turkle states that technology was once a way to ask a question or just too simply stay in touch. However, it has taken to another level where there are platforms such as email, texting, and instant messaging that change the way we communicate. Audrey who is sixteen, states “the phone, it’s awkward, I don’t see the point. Too much just a recap and sharing feelings. With a text… I can answer on my own time. I can respond. I can ignore it. So it really works with my mood. I’m not bound to anything. No commitment… I have control over the conversation and also more control over what I say” (Turkle 190). This quote shows the pressure people worry about when talking on the phone. This is because there’s more time to react to a text messages and plan out what you are going to say rather than being on the spot when talking. We as human beings, desire to relate to others. Cell phones play a big part in fulfilling our needs. For example whether you are dating someone or just meeting someone for the first time, there is a special feeling about face-to-face interactions. You can hear the tone in their voice change, see their facial expressions changed, and you can look them in the eye to see if you trust them. Based on the study they found that pleasure was a contributing factor to texting. Participants appeared to enjoyed texting as a means of escape from something distressful, such as talking where more you feel more pressure. The average frequency with which participants used voice calls was about 13 times and text messaging was about 82 times in a day. The study shows that text messaging seems to be a more prevalent choice to kids based on pressure motives. “Among those motives, affection, inclusion, and escape were relatively stronger motives than the others for both calling and texting, which suggests that people communicate through cell phones to exchange feelings of caring and connection” (Borae). The end goal most of us look for is for people that we can connect with. Based off the research the facts prove that turkles views on texting over talking are valid.
For the most part we can all agree on the impact social media has everyone’s day to day lives whether positive or negative. To prove this Turkle offers many different examples of the negative impacts different technologies seem to have on an individual’s life. She also uses many metaphors that describe technology as the way of our lives. She depicts how in the online world you can assemble an existence that we all fantasy of and any desire for having one day. She says, I think that its unexpected how she expresses the ideal life must be made on the web. Life is intense; however incredible things can be accomplished through information. Has online networking made us more social? Then again has it made only us together? Technology allows us to keep in contact with loved ones, and work more effectively. Technology is said to be taken to a larger amount where it’s turned out to be more than simply eye to eye conversations. We can see that Turkle implies that it is not that good to become tethered to the virtual world by providing us examples that indicate negative effects on people. I tend to agree with her in not allowing yourself to become a slave to technology. Though we may agree with the answers we hear, the fact is that technology is advancing, regardless of our opinions about those developments. “If you can’t find a good job, you can reimagine yourself as successful in the virtual. You can escape a depressing apartment to entertain guests in a simulated mansion” (Turkle 219). It’s hard to imagine that the virtual world holds so much power on you. It’s almost as people need it to escape reality, consequently it is proved to have many negative outcomes.
Depiction of Changes in Society Due to Technology in Alone Together Novel
In the book, “Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other”, Sherry Turkle focuses on how drastically our society is beginning to change with the progression of technology and the introduction of artificial intelligence. The evolution of technology has allowed society to be able to do anything from anywhere and with anyone. Although the current generation has developed the new versions of technology, the reliance society now has on technology is beginning to shape the way the population lives. Turkle makes a valid point that society prefers to treat inanimate machines as humans and treat each other as if they are robots, but she has been short sighted in the fact that society is ever changing and with artificial intelligence becoming more accepted, this may be the new standard. Technology has allowed people to fill a void by permitting them to be alone, yet having their peers at their fingertips. The current definitions of “humanity” and “relationships” may have to change in the near future based on our interactions with technology.
It is clear from the start of Turkle’s book that she wants to inform the reader of how technology truly affects their lives, from “Tomogatchi’s” to smartphones. Children grow up using toys with artificial intelligence such as “My Real Baby” and “Furby” so they are accustomed to robots from a young age. “Alone Together” gives the reader an insight of what technology may look like in the near future, allowing them to use this knowledge to get prepared. Turkle divides the book into two parts, with chapters in each part and different subheadings. Each chapter focuses on a different type of robot or technology. The tone of the book comes across as both personal an academic. The book is personalized with the author’s experiences with artificial intelligence and technology as well as her experiments. The academic tone comes in when Turkle talks about her work at MIT and her previous schooling. As a result of Turkle being a technology and society specialist at MIT, she includes real life observations and quotations from various people on the effects that robots have on the population. The first part of Turkle’s book focuses on different types robots and toys like Cog and Kismet, two robots being created. The second part of the book describes how technology is affecting the population and the different problems it causes, like anxiety in real life situations. There are a number of main ideas that Turkle returns to throughout the book. These main ideas include children’s robot toys such as “Tomogotchis”, “Furby’s” and “My Real Baby”, robots in nursing homes to keep elderly company, how children of different ages interact with artificial intelligence in different forms, the ethics that come with robots like romance and jobs, how technology is constantly on, the anxiety problems occurring in the real world due to technology and how the evolution of technology is affecting the younger generations. These main ideas are discussed many times in the book and reinforce the fact that technology and artificial intelligence is changing society.
When it comes to the arguments presented in Sherry Turkle’s book, a prominent statement she makes is “we seem determined to give human qualities to objects and content to treat each other as things” (Turkle, XIV).