Drawn by the illusion of companionship without the demands of intimacy, we confuse postings and online sharing with authentic communication. As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? Sherry Turkle studies how our devices and online personas are redefining human connection and communication — and asks us to think deeply about the new kinds of connection we want to have.
Described as “the Margaret Mead of digital cuture,” Turkle’s work focuses on the world of social media, the digital workplace, and the rise of chatbots and sociable robots. As she puts it, these are technologies that propose themselves “as the architect of our intimacies.” We are drawn to sacrifice conversation for mere connection. Turkle suggests that just because we grew up with the Internet, we tend to see it as all grown up, but it is not: Digital technology is still in its infancy, and there is ample time for us to reshape how we build it and use it.
Turkle is a professor in the Program in Science, Technology and Society at MIT and the founder and director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self.