August 22, 2012
Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other by Sherry Turkle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My natural inclination is toward technological optimism, and toward quantitative research. This book doesn't have much of either. As I began the book, I found myself arguing with Dr. Turkle's assumptions and the obvious coloring that her preconceived ideas gave her research. I longed for objectivity and proof.
While I still think that Dr. Turkle's arguments would be bolstered by a more objective, data-based approach, I began to see the value of her research. She writes about mothers who pay more attention to their phones than to their kids, and kids who are hurt because a robot doesn't respond to them. These sorts of stories really do relate something about our relationship with technology that pure data can't.
I do think that the book is intentionally pessimistic, however. Positive examples of people interacting with technology were few and far between. Even though we all experience the positive effects of technology daily, Dr. Turkle very nearly ignored any positives, potential or realized, and focused on dangers and problems.
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