Sherry Turkle: Expecting More from Technology and Less from Each Other

FRI, FEB 4, 2011 (52:58)

MIT professor of technology and society Sherry Turkle discusses the effect our technology has on our social relationships and her new book, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. Consider Facebook–it’s a form of 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, Sherry Turkle explores the power of our new tools and toys to dramatically alter our social lives. It’s an 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.

+ BIO: Sherry Turkle

Sherry Turkle is Abby Rockefeller Mauz Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT and the founder (2001) and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self, a center of research and reflection on the evolving connections between people and artifacts in the co-construction of identity. The Initiative looks at a range of technologies including robotics, psychopharmacology, video games, and simulation software and their effects on human development. Dr. Turkle has written numerous articles on psychoanalysis and culture and on the “subjective side” of peoples’ relationships with technology, especially computers. She received a joint doctorate in sociology and personality psychology from Harvard University, and is a licensed clinical psychologist. She is the author of Psychoanalytic Politics: Jacques Lacan and Freud’s French Revolution (1978); The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit (1984); Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet (1995); and Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age (2015).

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