(Note: My reflection is long! Please feel free to edit it if it's too long.)
There is one particular question that makes an impression on me and that is “Is it alive enough for this purpose?”. Ms. Turkle is realizing that children don't care whether something is alive as much as whether it's alive enough for the purpose that it's trying to convey. This is somewhat troubling to me because it implies that children are, in a way, starting to view something like life as “better done” by a robotic object. As an example, imagine if we replaced all of the animals in a zoo with mechanical replicas because they more accurately portrayed animals that were “alive”. We wouldn't have the luxury of sitting and watching a real life lion casually basking in the sun and pondering “I wonder what it's thinking right now?” or trying to figure out it's thought process when presented with a new object. Sure, a robotic lion might be more active than a lion relaxing in the grass but then we're missing the point of viewing a real life lion doing real life lion things. Instead we're watching a faux lion performing actions that we think a lion would perform and as such programmed it to do so. We would only be looking at our own interpretation of a lion as opposed to a lion.
Another interesting thought that Ms. Turkle brings up is how connected we are to technology. This topic really hit home with me because of how closely I work with computers. For work I test and validate medical device software and in my free time I study software engineering. Because of this I'm on my computer nearly all day. While I like what I do, listening to this broadcast made me realize the affects of being so “connected”. Even at work we use electronic means to communicate to one another despite the fact we all sit by one another. We use instant messaging software and e-mail to ask each other questions and expect immediate responses. While it's not news to me that I spend a majority of my time using technology, it was somewhat eye opening to realize that I don't spend enough time just quietly doing nothing, allowing myself to just sit, relax and formulate original thought without reacting to external things such as to what I'm studying, an e-mail or instant message. My favorite line from the interview: “I mean, when you're emailing, you're reactive. It's not you. It's not your independent thoughts. It's your reactive to other peoples' possibilities, other peoples' plans, other peoples' input, other peoples' ideas. And there's just something about being completely in your own head with your own thoughts that's very valuable.”
Studying computer science I found myself almost trying to defend its honor. While I understood where Turkle was going and, for the most part, agreed with her; I often found myself (incorrectly) thinking about how she must be against technology, completely forgetting that she makes it very clear throughout her interview that this isn't the case. She wants both humans and technology to mature to the point that we find a perfect balance of technology in our lives. While I think being so closely connected to technology is a good thing in a lot of ways, I will agree with her that there is definitely negative aspects to our current relationship with technology.
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