In the program, Krista Tippett interviews Sherry Turkle, an author who has continually noted the significant impact technology has had on our society. While portraying the disorienting effects of technology, Turkle also emphasizes the importance of solitude in our lives. Consequently, Tippett and Turkle approach the harsh reality that technology could change our perspective on aliveness.
In Turkle's book, she highlights the subjective side of technology, confronting how it effects our sense of aliveness, attentiveness, and relationships. She described that people in today's society are looking for objects to fill in human meaning and are using this in every aspect of their lives. Technology has become such an immense portion of reality that it is impractical to attempt to cut it out completely. Nonetheless, to some extent, technology is a good thing, in the sense that it has allowed us to advance our intelligence and general understanding of life. Throughout the interview, Turkle highlights that people don't realize that we have control over how we let technology take away from us. She quotes Mark Zuckerberg in saying that "Privacy is no longer relevant", responding with the question "what is intimacy without privacy?". There's so much truth to this statement and question, as many people entirely exploit themselves and their lives on social network sites- not realizing that even though something may be "private", anything in cyberspace is accessible to anybody.
A good example Turkle used to illustrate the impact technology has on the concept of aliveness was through Piaget's research, in comparison to her own. Piaget wanted to know, how do children decide what's alive and what isn't? His study revealed that children perceived the aliveness of objects, by way of those which could physically move without assistance (ex. clouds). However, when Turkle conducted a similar study she noticed that it no longer mattered to kids whether something could physically moved...kids expressed that aliveness penetrated and could even be represented by the "wisdom" of a computer. I was highly disturbed when she used the example of her daughter visiting the museum, with the Darwin exhibit. When her daughter saw that the turtles were sleeping, she said "For what this turtle is doing, we could just have a robot". And this was a pivotal moment for Turkle, because this example demonstrates that aliveness no longer mattered. This segment concluded with the convicting question, "What are children starting to miss, if they don't think it's important that things are alive?". To me, this is a striking thought....I don't think relationships and companionship can ever be replaced or justified with a gadget.
I found this interview very intriguing to listen to, as it is highly relevant to my life. I agree with Turkle that we need to learn to live deliberately with technology- because it isn't just going away, but rather advancing relentlessly. It broke my heart to hear her example that people can remain plugged in, even immersed in the beauty of nature. She said that in this way, we are losing experience as solitude. Unfortunately, this has a huge impact on us, because it is in our solitude that we have the opportunity to connect with something bigger than ourselves. I think the most important idea to take away from this is that we need to shape technology towards our purposes, rather than allowing it to shape us.
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