Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Alone Together by Sherry Turkle

Alone Together
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Facebook. Twitter. SecondLife. “Smart” phones. Robotic pets. Robotic lovers. Thirty years ago we asked what we would use computers for. Now the question is what don’t we use them for. Now, through technology, we create, navigate, and perform 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.
On Sale Now end quote from http://alonetogetherbook.com/

I have not read this book but I found a button for it within a quote regarding:
Minature Flying Robots: Pretty Amazing

which is an article I quoted and then commented upon. There is also a video there at cnn.com through a button on this article regarding the miniature flying robots that is very excellent. I also found out about ted.com which fosters new and innovative and informative ideas.

In regard to the ideas in this book I have not read it but what comes to mind is that since the "Wildness of Nature" is disappearing mankind is caught or "lost"  or adapting to life within it's own creations of buildings, gardens, ideas etc. When nature was more truly alive while I was growing up in the 1950s people drew their lives more from nature, but even then it was all changing into something we considered "more ominous". Whereas now one by one all the animal and insect and bird and fish species are going extinct one by one and humans likely are going to be left alone with vegetables, trees and plants they like to cultivate to eat and to be with like Roses etc. with only a few pets and farmyard animals left. So, the basic concept of "Alone Together" might be something our children and Grandchildren and so on will have to learn to live with. This will make mankind something different than they ever were before in human history because of literally everyone learning to live without wild places with only a few parks here and there around the world like Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone National Park and places like Central Park in New York City and Griffith Park in Los Angeles left for people to recreate themselves with nature.

For example, when I was 14 in 1962 bears came and visited us in our cars looking for handouts in Yellowstone. So, I could see 50 bears within a couple of blocks in real time. But now, because many doors of cars have been ripped off for bears to get at your food, this isn't allowed anymore there. So, it is now possible to go to Yellowstone and never see a bear. When I was 14 this was not possible because they were on the roads begging for food everywhere. This is just one of the many changes in parks around the world.

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