Many of us spend hours with our smartphones and computers, texting and emailing. We peruse social networking sites, updating our followers several times a day on our moods and thoughts. In many ways, it seems we have greater safeguards against loneliness than we ever have. But Professor Sherry Turkle wonders if, in the age of digital saturation, we’ve sacrificed conversation for mere connection.
The typical U.S. teenager sends 3,500 text messages a month on portable digital devices, and American children send eight texts for every phone call they make or receive. This same generation grew up with Furbies and other robotic friends. While all this technology might seem harmless or even beneficial to the masses, Sherry Turkle argues that it carries risks. Sherry is an MIT professor and clinical psychologist, as well as the author of a new book is called “Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other.”
Anticipating the future is a classic (and possibly uniquely) human pastime. For as long as humans have kept records of the past, we have also tried to predict our future...and in so doing, control our destiny. Why do we cling to these predictions? The end of the world, the end of humanity, even our future fortunes…why do we anticipate so much?
In honor of all the silver foxes out there (and the people who love them), we dedicate this week's tech segment to assistive technologies for older people.
This week's look at family issues tackles the impact of technology in the household. Blackberries, laptops and mobile phones may increase access to knowledge, but do they isolate children from their parents? We talk about this with Sherry Turkle, director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self, and author of the book "Simulation and its Discontents." We're also joined by Lisa Belkin, who writes the blog Motherlode for The New York Times.
"I got a text from my son at Halloween a year or so ago saying, 'Can you come get me and tell everyone it was your idea?' and he needed out. He needed help and he never could have picked up the phone in that situation. He couldn't have spoken but he could text."
—Sherry Turkle, Director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self, on how texting help her and her son.