Sherry Turkle wrote a book about the effect that technology has on relationships, entitled Alone Together. Turkle starts out the book by talking about robots. She focuses on robots aimed at children and the elderly that demand nurturing and attention, such as Furbies and Paros. In the second half of the book, Turkle talks about technological communications, like texting and social networking sites. Turkle makes the point that the way people are interacting with technology is cheapening human relationships. Robots a Facebook "friends" have changed the definition of friendship. Computers program to respond to a person and texting have changed the definition of a conversation.
The way in which the world is interconnected is changing. People are connecting to more people than was previously possible, but the connections are mostly very shallow. What it looks like to be human is also changing. People interact in different ways than previously and what is considered valuable has changed. Christians need to evaluate whether these changes are good or bad. It needs to be determined whether this new interconnectivity helps people support and interact with each other in a Biblically good way or is doing the opposite. Evaluation, instead of blindly accepting, is necessary.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The psychologist perspective was very interesting and engaging. I liked the way that the book approached the issue with case studies. Hearing the opinions of all those people really enriched my understanding of the issue. I found myself relating to a number of the people, particularly in the second half of the book. At one point Turkle was writing about how people are reluctant to make phone calls to each other, because it feels intrusive. I have this problem as well. I also could relate to those who use technology regularly, but do not want it to be that way forever. Face to face trumps Facebook. Talking in person trumps texting. We need real personal interactions. It's part of being human.