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Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology And Less From Each Other (2011)

by Sherry Turkle(Favorite Author)
3.58 of 5 Votes: 3
0465010210 (ISBN13: 9780465010219)
Basic Books
review 1: I am probably showing my middle age, but whenever I think of this book I think of Together Alone, the 1993 Crowded House album. Anyhoo, this book is about how we relate to computers, robots, and - importantly - each other, and whether computers and robots can actually relate to us.There are certainly some really interesting ideas, especially about how young people seem to both cherish and fear phone calls and speaking to people directly, in favour of things like text messages and instant messaging. I confess that I found some of the conclusions are not supported by my own experience but my own experience is pretty limited. I do think that some young people struggle to learn social skills, and I am happy to concede that the false friend of communicating electronically might... more contribute to this.In the end, this book probably went a bit longer than I felt like it needed to to make its case. It is certainly based on plenty of interviews by the author, but I did sometimes have to force myself back to reading it, perhaps because the content of the interviews interested me less than the overall thesis.Overall, worth a read if you wonder about how recent technologies are changing the way we interact.
review 2: I found this book frustrating because I felt the topic had much to be said, however the author begins the first half of the book speaking of artificial intelligence and robotics, which I found interesting and certainly worth a chapter, but she seemed to bang on endlessly about a niche field of computer science in a way that seemed wholly unwarranted. It wasn't until the second half of the book that we begin to see what she was getting at. In the same way that we want to make artificial intelligence and robotics appear more human, if only to satisfy our own interests and beliefs, we wish for our software and devices to be more human as well, and so we round up the simulacrum of humanity through social technology at the cost of actual interpersonal communication, joining person-to-person in superficial "conversation", and a web of expectations delivered by our devices like a morphine drip.I don't know that I completely agree with the author here, but it is an interesting theory, answer me not worth the savaging she's taking in the reviews I've seen thus far. It is a interesting read. You'll suddenly become aware of how often the people at the gym, grocery, church, etc. are on their phones. less
Reviews (see all)
Mostly read excerpts. Not particularly groundbreaking but altogether interesting.
Very repetitive. only stays in the surface of the concepts.
It is books like this that give social science a bad name.
A sober look at what the digital age is doing to us.
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