Book : Alone Together

Sherry Turkle is a professor of Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT and has a PHD of Sociology and Personality Psychology at Harvard.

Rating 6/10 : Overall I find that the book (Oct 2012) pictures well how new technology is impacting how we behave more often more intrusively than we would like to accept. I found the book provocative through it share listing of real life anecdotes yet not really able to synthesize the essence of the trends.

The book focusses on two distinct parts. In the first part, Turkle zooms in on the amazing evolution of “social robots” that are becoming more and more sophisticated in their ability to create the illusion of companionship. Turkle followed a young generation surrounded by many forms of social robots perceived by them as  “live” objects often providing better interaction that “real life” objects. Today the largest commercial application of social robots is for toddler day care and…. elderly care. In the second part, Turkle researches the “cyborg” younger generation,  networked “always on”, “tethered to the wireless web” enabling their ability to do multi-tasking, our twenty-first -century alchemy. Cyborgs are always looking for “moments of more” but quite often they are left with “lives of less”

I personally believe that as ICT professionals we should always consider the human adoption rate of technology rather than technology for the sake of technology. We need to be enthusiastic about the major upside that technology will bring to improve our lives but also very humble as to the understanding the  psychological and  behavioral impact it has at the same time.

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