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Sherry Turkle Ted Talk Takeaways

Hey Sparkles! Happy Friday! For today’s blog post, I am writing about this TED talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_connected_but_alone?referrer=playlist-the_art_of_meaningful_conversa and my takeaways from it. So, without further ado, The Sparkler’s notes on Sherry Turkle.

My Takeaways from Sherry Turkle

In today’s world, one so connected by technology, where we can control the temperature of the room just by asking our phone to change it, we crave control. This has morphed into control over temperature, lighting, and doors, all from one little device. People also want control over their communication. Many people would rather text than talk because when you are texting, you can delete a text before you send it, and carefully compose the best way to present yourself. Showboating, whether it be through texting, your social media profile, or even instant messages, has become commonplace. We share what we want others to see, not the dirty, no-good parts of our day. Control is the name of the game.

This cherry-picking of life makes us feel lonely like no one cares about the mundane. Loneliness begins to be perceived as a problem to be solved. We lose ourselves into our phones because we are scared people will see through the cracks. We are lonely yet fear true interaction. To drive the loneliness away, we immediately feel like we must pick up our phone and text someone. We never want to be alone.

When we do gather with one another, we want it to be on our own terms, in amounts we can control. To get away from an awkward conversation, we just look at our phones and pretend to be busy. As we get together, we also want to be with all the other connections we have online. We want it all and usually get it. Although we may be physically present, we are emotionally absent from much of our lives. What would it be like if we stopped taking little sips of life, and took the great gulp of conversation we are avoiding?

You may ask, don’t all the little sips and tastes of connection technology can give us add up to one big conversation? Sherry Turkle and I both agree that the answer is no. We can have as many little sips as we do but still thirst for true conversation, a true connection that only comes from face-to-face communication. The reason we are building sociable robots is that we are scared that humans will no longer care about others.

We end up expecting more from technology and less from each other. Every time we pick up our phone, we lose sight of what is truly important in this life, and that is intelligent conversation. Putting down our phones, making areas where they are not allowed, and making time for conversation as families and friends is a prudent choice, and one I think should be made more often. Let’s experience what life has to the fullest, instead of hiding behind the screen of our phones.

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