Discussion Board

Topic: Any opinions on Sherry Turkle's criticism of technology on the Colbert Report?

From: DavidOnon
Location: University of Cincinnati
Date: 01/19/2011

MIT Professor Sherry Turkle was on the Colbert Report discussing some negative consequences of our obsession with technology.

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/371249/january-17-2011/sherry-turkle

It was an interesting discussion but it seemed like she was sort of rehashing many of the same things that I've heard from someone like Neill Postman before so I didn't find it that revelatory.

But a sort of new trend in the criticism of social technology (new to me) seems to be this argument that online profiles are nothing but performance, and they are exhausting to maintain and they distort who we really are. But isn't that also true of non technological interaction? The version of ourselves that we share with the world physically I think is also very much like a performance.

Anyway, I'm just curious to hear what you guys on here thought of the argument or what you guys think in general about the topic. I get where critics of social technology are coming from but it seems like a lot of the times they are just sounding the alarm because they feel something is wrong even though they can't actually pinpoint the real problems.

BTW I think Greg Bear gave some incredibly insightful remarks involving this topic already as well during a TEDx talk. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u902ckKXNMI

Re: Any opinions on Sherry Turkle's criticism of technology on the Colbert Report?

From: Greg Bear
Date: 01/19/2011

Haven't read Ms. Turkle's book, but this sort of debate has been going on since telegraph wires--or novels--and probably since scrolls. Ray Bradbury has always promoted the sublimity of face-to-face communication; but any communication at all is better than none! And without phones, mobile devices, the Internet--any of those technological marvels--we'd likely be forced to sit and write letters and read books... neither of which is face-to-face! But books and letters are older tech marvels, and so we accept them.

Re: Any opinions on Sherry Turkle's criticism of technology on the Colbert Report?

From: Eric Fowkes
Location: Reilingen, Germany
Date: 01/21/2011


I think one of the major issues that is always at the top of the pile is the lack of civility when not speaking face-to-face. The internet is a great thing and I love being able to have all of this information at my fingertips but it also encourages anonymous argument that generally devolves into name calling. During a face-to-face discussion I can move away from idiots shouting swear words and questioning my ancestry but on the internet the best you can do is to ignore them. Even then they can clog up a discussion forum so badly that it isn't even worth trying.

I used to question why calculators were banned from certain math tests but I understand that better now. Without learning how it's done (conversations are similar) you won't be able to do anything without the electronic tools you've become accustomed to. Just look at our military or private business. Take away their computers and they send everyone home.

Re: Any opinions on Sherry Turkle's criticism of technology on the Colbert Report?

From: Greg Bear
Date: 01/23/2011

Excellent point--but even face-to-face can quickly break down into fist-to-face. As for reductions of preparedness, the earlier Naval Academy de-emphasis on teaching celestial navigation seems to bring bad returns both cognitively and in an emergency...

Re: Any opinions on Sherry Turkle's criticism of technology on the Colbert Report?

From: Eric Fowkes
Location: Reilingen, Germany
Date: 01/24/2011


"the earlier Naval Academy de-emphasis on teaching celestial navigation seems to bring bad returns both cognitively and in an emergency..."

Recently I received an email from an old friend at one of the military survival schools. He said that there have been discussions about ending the celestial navigation class (he teaches desert survival) since pilots are now being equipped with GPS devices. His question during a briefing discussing the matter was, "What happens if the batteries die or the thing breaks?" The response by the much younger briefer, "They last at least one year and are replaced every 6 months and they almost never break, so that shouldn't be a problem."

Frightening thought, that.

Re: Any opinions on Sherry Turkle's criticism of technology on the Colbert Report?

From: Greg Bear
Date: 01/27/2011

Plus, what happens if someone decides to take out the GPS satellites? I'm sure there are backups and contingencies--but whenever a basic skill is neglected, reducing force flexibility in a crisis, it's cause for concern.

Of course, the Army no longer trains with horses...

Re: Any opinions on Sherry Turkle's criticism of technology on the Colbert Report?

From: patrick
Location:
Date: 02/22/2011

The Army no longer 'drills' their troops, either.

In any case, for the perceptive, any format conveys the open-ness of another.

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