Sherry Turkle Questions Our Love Affair with Technology


It turns out that we’re not the only ones talking about MIT psychologist Sherry Turkle, our Symposium keynote speaker. Her new book, Alone Together, an insightful look at our shifting relationship with technology, has gotten a lot of press recently, earning glowing reviews from both Newsweek and Time.

Have you ever text messaged someone who’s in the same room or e-mailed people in your office rather talking face-to-face? While our beloved new gadgets make our lives more efficient—and entertaining—are they actually separating us, instead of connecting us? Turkle says they are. This week, she appeared on the Colbert Report to discuss it.

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Check out this video, in which Stephen Colbert interrogates Turkle about why, exactly, it’s so important to give each other our full attention.

Although Turkle was a little taken aback by Colbert’s antics—he actually pulled out his phone and started texting!—she kept up a hilarious repartee.

Turkle’s journey from a child who considered TV to be the “family hearth” to a respected researcher who’s studied the psychological effects of technology since the Internet was still just an idea is also captured in a recent interview with Networker Editor Rich Simon. In “Cyberspaced,” she says that therapists—one of the last proponents of face-to-face conversation—have a significant role to play in mediating technology’s impact.

“My message to therapists is that technology raises all kinds of complicated issues, both in the consulting room and outside it,” Turkle tells Simon. “And before we go much further down the road we’re traveling, let’s think through what those issues are and what we want to do about them.”

If you’re interested in hearing more, Sherry Turkle will be the Friday morning keynote speaker at the 2011 Symposium, so be sure to check it out!

What do you think—does technology connect or disconnect us? Is it important to have in-person conversations in therapy sessions, or could alternatives, like Skype sessions, work just as well?

01.21.2011   Posted In: NETWORKER EXCHANGE   By Jordan Magaziner
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