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Human Dependence on Technology and Its New Challenges in Sherry Turkle’s Book Alone Together

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Words: 1009 |

Pages: 2|

6 min read

Published: Nov 22, 2018

Words: 1009|Pages: 2|6 min read

Published: Nov 22, 2018

After completing Sherry Turkle's book Alone Together, I was very amused to learn about the new struggles appearing with technology and the worries of how we are becoming more and more dependent upon them. I would agree it seems that at the core of all humans is a desire to be together and a striving for some sort of intimate relationship with others. Simultaneously, however, we are in the constant struggle of becoming invested within an intimate relationship due to the lack of control we have over it. After seeing the stance Prof. Turkle takes on technology and what we are demanding of it as far as for comfort and intimacy goes, I would say that I agree with certain aspects of course, but not all. As I begin my critique on the book I would like to say that I knowledge many of Prof. Turkle's points, but I view many of them as a bit extreme in comparison to my own life and growing up with these very same technologies that she speaks of.

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One of the most interesting parts of the book that I found was under the curing a life section, where social robots were introduced into nursing homes to help the elderly with loneliness when caretakers couldn't always be by their side. The AIBO, my real baby, which was presented to a few seniors within the nursing home, really caught my attention. This being because I didn’t believe the elderly would actually open up to these forms of robots for companionship considering they had not grown up with them. In reality when worse came to worst there were multiple cases when the elderly would open up and share deep intimate secrets with this technology. As in Jonathan and Andy's case we are able to see that extreme isolation can lead to ” putting up with" a new technology, which ultimately can lead to adopting the technology and finding comfort in it. Now I do agree with Prof. Turkle on problems that could arise from this newfound comfort within the technology and not actual human interaction, but I do not agree when she claims that this new technology will make it easier for children to stop visiting their parents or feel less guilty about missing meetings with the parents in nursing homes. I feel that that is simply an exaggerated stretch. However I would make the claim that the elderly putting up with these technologies is simply a way of removing cognitive dissonance.

As we know with cognitive dissonance people are motivated to remove dissonance and go about this in various ways. Most start by ignoring opposing viewpoints, changing beliefs to match their actions, and seek reassurance from others during difficult decisions. Ultimately this was seen within Jonathan and Andy’s case when presented the “my real baby”. Both initially had the viewpoints of many adults and would not be caught playing with the doll, but as time moved on they rationalize with themselves that they indeed were not crazy and therefore changed their initial beliefs to make playing or talking to the doll okay. Therefore by changing their beliefs they brought consonance and removed the psychological inconsistency of how they’d been judged for interacting with the “My real baby”.

Therefore as I mentioned before I do believe that Prof. Turkle's claims are a bit drastic, however I will admit that in both Jonathan and Andy's case cognitive dissonance was not the only problem at hand. As their cases continued it is easy to see that my real baby was only a temporary solution to their problem of loneliness. Here is where I do agree with Prof. Turkle in the sense that human interaction is mandatory at some point because it provides a more organic sense of understanding that a robot cannot mimic. Taking a step back there is one last point in which I strongly disagree with Prof. Turkle and this is when she said, ”the blurring of intimacy and solitude may reach its starkest expression when a robot is proposed as a romantic partner. But for most people it begins when one creates a profile on a social network…” (12). Again I believe this is a drastic comment that assumes the absolute worst of social networking.

I believe that Prof. Turkle’s statement referring to the blurring of intimacy and solitude within social networking is preposterous for a few reasons. 1st off this statement assumes that everybody would be using social networking for the same reason, interacting with others with more control. However I can personally say that anything that I posted on Facebook or other social networks is an open topic for me to discuss with friends in person. In some cases I would argue people postings on social networks to reach the masses, when simply telling their immediate friend group in person isn't enough. My argument being that when Prof. Turkle claims that there's a blurring between intimacy and solitude in the use of social media this is simply a blanket statement that does not assess everybody's motivation for their actual use of social media networks.

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In essence, I do believe that Prof. Turkle's book raises awareness to the growing concern of humans’ reliability upon technology as a substitute for actual human interaction. However I believe that many of her concerns are worst-case scenario projections that assume there'll be no moderation when it comes to technology and its uses. I do agree that it is scary to see caretakers within a nursing home saying things such as ”robots substitute just fine for our actual human care” but we must understand that just because a few caretakers make this statement it does not mean that robots will come sweeping in and take over. As both seniors Jonathan and he proved technology and robots can only substitute for so much, at the core all humans crave an actual human-to-human interaction. Once more emphasizing that all things can be useful in moderation, but we must understand technology is not inherently negative as portrayed in Alone Together.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Human Dependence on Technology And its New Challenges In Sherry Turkle’s Book Alone Together. (2018, November 05). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 16, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/human-dependence-on-technology-and-its-new-challenges-in-sherry-turkles-book-alone-together/
“Human Dependence on Technology And its New Challenges In Sherry Turkle’s Book Alone Together.” GradesFixer, 05 Nov. 2018, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/human-dependence-on-technology-and-its-new-challenges-in-sherry-turkles-book-alone-together/
Human Dependence on Technology And its New Challenges In Sherry Turkle’s Book Alone Together. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/human-dependence-on-technology-and-its-new-challenges-in-sherry-turkles-book-alone-together/> [Accessed 16 Jun. 2024].
Human Dependence on Technology And its New Challenges In Sherry Turkle’s Book Alone Together [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Nov 05 [cited 2024 Jun 16]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/human-dependence-on-technology-and-its-new-challenges-in-sherry-turkles-book-alone-together/
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