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Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other [Hardcover]

Sherry Turkle
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 11 2011
Consider Facebook - it's human contact, only easier to engage with and easier to avoid. Developing technology promises closeness. Sometimes it delivers, but much of our modern life leaves us less connected with people and more connected to simulations of them.<p>In <I>Alone Together</I>, MIT technology and society professor Sherry Turkle explores the power of our new tools and toys to dramatically alter our social lives. It's a nuanced exploration of what we are looking for - and sacrificing - in a world of electronic companions and social networking tools, and an argument that, despite the hand-waving of today's self-described prophets of the future, it will be the next generation who will chart the path between isolation and connectivity.</p>

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Review

New York Times Book Review
“[Turkle] summarizes her new view of things with typical eloquence…fascinating, readable.”

Wall Street Journal
“What [Turkle] brings to the topic that is new is more than a decade of interviews with teens and college students in which she plumbs the psychological effect of our brave new devices on the generation that seems most comfortable with them.”  

Newsweek.com
“A fascinating portrait of our changing relationship with technology.”

 Natural History Magazine
“A fascinating, insightful and disquieting “intimate ethnography” of our digital, robotic moment in history.”

 American Prospect
“Turkle is a gifted and imaginative writer…[who] pushes interesting arguments with an engaging style.”

Jill Conway, President emerita, Smith College, and author of The Road from Coorain
“Based on an ambitious research program, and written in a clear and beguiling style, this book which will captivate both scholar and general reader and it will be a landmark in the study of the impact of social media.”

Mitchel Resnick, LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research and head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Laboratory
“Sherry Turkle is the Margaret Mead of digital culture. Parents and teachers: If you want to understand (and support) your children as they navigate the emotional undercurrents in today’s technological world, this is the book you need to read. Every chapter is full of great insights and great writing.”

Kevin Kelly, author of What Technology Wants
“No one has a better handle on how we are using material technology to transform our immaterial ‘self’ than Sherry Turkle. She is our techno-Freud, illuminating our inner transformation long before we are able see it. This immensely satisfying book is a deep journey to our future selves.”

Douglas Rushkoff, author of Program or Be Programmed
Alone Together is a deep yet accessible, bold yet gentle, frightening yet reassuring account of how people continue to find one another in an increasingly mediated landscape. If the net and humanity could have a couples therapist, it would be Sherry Turkle.”
 
Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
“Sherry Turkle has observed more widely and thought more deeply about human-computer relations than any other scholar. Her book is essential reading for all who hope to understand our changing relation to technology.”

Publishers Weekly
“Turkle’s prescient book makes a strong case that what was meant to be a way to facilitate communications has pushed people closer to their machines and further away from each other.”

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School professor and author of Evolve!, Confidence, and SuperCorp
Alone Together is a brilliant, profound, stirring, and often disturbing portrait of the future by America’s leading expert on how computers affect us as humans. She reveals the secrets of ‘Walden 2.0’ and tells us that we deserve better than caring robots. Grab this book, then turn off your smart phones and absorb Sherry Turkle’s powerful message.”
 
National Catholic Reporter
“Readers will find this book a useful resource as they begin conversations about how to negotiate and critically engage the technology that suffuses our lives.”

About the Author

Sherry Turkle is the Abby Rockefeller Mauze Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT. She is frequently interviewed in <I>Time</I>, <I>Newsweek</I>, the <I>New York Times</I>, and the <I>Wall Street Journal</I>, on NBC News, and more. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Turkle's book is an inspiring piece of work that serves as a warning to moderns and technologists alike: we are at a precipice and should critically evaluate technology's place in our lives before we step off the cliff and (potentially) fall into psychological chaos. Her book is broken into two parts. The first focuses on the role of robots and the degree of emotional attachment that humans can and do develop towards them. In this section, she examines how children, seniors, and those who are lonely are being confronted by humanized robots. What does it mean for children to associate particular personas and egos to digitized code that is intentionally developed to evoke strong emotional attachments? Is it an ethically responsible decision to place socialized robots within elderly homes, so that children and caretakers can absolve themselves of the need to visit and engage in human contact with elderly members of our society? Technologists insist that the children and elderly alike are better off, but Turkle's insightful examination leaves us with questions about the psycho-social implications of socialized robotics. The second half of her book considers how networked society is damaging our capabilities to enjoy intimacy and solitude. Mobile phones, social networking sites, and novel understandings of social norms are her sites of examination. By the conclusion of the text, we are left critically questioning the actual value of many of our modern networked conveniences. Anyone raising a child, or living a highly-networked life (i.e. with a smartphone, multiple online social networks, etc), should be required to read this book to understand the psycho-technical trajectories we are passing along. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book Nov. 10 2012
Format:Paperback
Intelligent, well documented. Gives profound insight on the changes resulting from advances in technologies. Should be read by all who desire to understand future challenges.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars strange but true Sept. 6 2011
Format:Hardcover
After reading Jaron Lanier's "You are not a gadget" and Kevin Kelly's "What does technology want" it was a pleasant if eerie
surprise to read this text. It documents and describes our civilization's romance with technologies we barely understand. It gives fair warning of the roads we are on and a last longing look back on a time when we inhabited our bodies. As a recovered netzien I was relieved but saddened by the book, I don't have much hope that we as a species will moderate out disengagement from each other, but you never know..
A must read while you can...
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