Both Dharma and I have been reading Sherry Turkle’s new book “Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other” (2011). Turkle, an MIT professor, lends a unique perspective on the social impact of information and communications technologies, gained from decades of being up-close to hotbeds of technology innovation – from robotics to smart phones. In the book she describes her own shift in mindset from curiosity and enthusiasm about technology, to being deeply disturbed by the ways we have integrated it into our lives, and the resulting effects.
Here is a short selection of quotes:
“If there is an addiction here, it is not to a technology. It is to the habits of mind that technology allows us to practice,” (p. 288).
“Many find that, trained by the Net, they cannot find solitude even at a lake or beach or on a hike. Stillness makes them anxious,” (p. 289).
“Some would say that we have already completed a forbidden experiment, using ourselves as subjects with no controls, and the unhappy findings are in: we are connected as we’ve never been connected before, and we seem to have damaged ourselves in the process,” (p. 293).