Alone Together by Sherry Turkle is a nonfiction book about modern technology and its impact on how humans form bonds. These bonds include how humans interact with other humans and the bonds they are forming with technology. Turkle begins her book with her worries of technology and its seductive qualities. She expresses her worries about technology taking the place of face to face interactions. Next and for a good part of the book, the author discusses many cases of robot technologies and their impact on the way humans form bonds. For example, Paro the electronic seal and his effect on the elderly and the fact that it may lead to people not feeling the need to take care of their parents or grandparents because they can rely on technology. Lastly, Turkle hits some nerves with questioning certain aspects of human conversation that are lost in technology. Some examples of the things that Turkle says are lost in translation are confessions and apologies. She also points out that technology causes anxiety and a lack of privacy. All in all, Alone Together is a warning from Sherry Turkle to keep technology in check and not let it interfere with human connections.
If technology keeps going the way it is going, it is very possible that face to face interactions could become obsolete. Already, it is evident in popular culture that they are becoming less and less frequent with the innovations in webcams, internet, and cell phones. Turkle's point is that society is at a point of inflection and it is key that people keep technology in check in order to save human emotion and interconnectedness. Although technology has accomplished many feats, which Turkle recognizes, it can also potentially cause problems. The anxiety associated with technology should be interpreted as a red flag to potential dangers. If things such as Facebook are already causing anxiety, it should be in human nature to be on alert of where things are going to head from here. Turkle maintains that people need to maintain the necessary conversations between humans. Without these conversations, society would not maintain a face to face culture that is essential to social development.
Personally, I agree with Turkle. At the beginning of the book I thought this was going to be like The Shallows, which seemed to only talk down of technology. However, Alone Together is much different because the author clearly states everything is her view and/or interpretation of the situation. This made me approach her writing with a more open and less defensive mind. I am glad I continued reading passed all the examples of technologic advances in robotics and was able to read the real crux of the book. The point that Turkle was trying to make in this book is that we need human interaction in order to thrive as a society. Humans are social creatures and although we may believe that we are being social through the internet and texting, no technology can achieve the same feeling of a face to face conversation. Life goes on because we have people to talk to and be with. If we stopped going out into the world and simply retreated into technology, we would not be able to socialize and procreate to form a new generation adequately. I agree that we need to dial back on the technology, or at least keep it at a safe and comfortable distance at all times.