The 2015-2016 Common Reading vote has ended and the winner is… Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other by Dr. Sherry Turkle.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology social scientist, Sherry Turkle argues that the social media we encounter on a daily basis confronts us with a moment of temptation. Drawn by the illusion of companionship without the demands of intimacy, we confuse postings and online sharing with authentic communication. We are drawn to sacrifice conversation for mere connection. 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. Through technology, we create, navigate, and perform our emotional lives. 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.
“What technology makes easy is not always what nurtures the human spirit.” — Sherry Turkle
Turkle is the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT and the founder and director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. We’ll be delving into this book and related topics throughout the academic year (fall & spring semesters). Read the book today and be prepared to participate in the 2015-2016 Common Reading!