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Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other [Kindle Edition]

Sherry Turkle
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"New York Times Book Review""[Turkle] summarizes her new view of things with typical eloquence...fascinating, readable.""Wall Street Journal""What [Turkle] brings to the topic that is new is more than a decade of interviews with teens and college students in which she plumbs the psychological effect of our brave new devices on the generation that seems most comfortable with them.""A fascinating portrait of our changing relationship with technology." "Natural History ""Magazine""A fascinating, insightful and disquieting "intimate ethnography" of our digital, robotic moment in history." "American Prospect""Turkle is a gifted and imaginative writer...[who] pushes interesting arguments with an engaging style."Jill Conway, President emerita, Smith College, and author of "The Road from Coorain""Based on an ambitious research program, and written in a clear and beguiling style, this book which will captivate both scholar and general reader and it will be a landmark in the study of the impact of social media."Mitchel Resnick, LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research and head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Laboratory"Sherry Turkle is the Margaret Mead of digital culture. Parents and teachers: If you want to understand (and support) your children as they navigate the emotional undercurrents in today's technological world, this is the book you need to read. Every chapter is full of great insights and great writing."Kevin Kelly, author of "What Technology Wants""No one has a better handle on how we are using material technology to transform our immaterial 'self' than Sherry Turkle. She is our techno-Freud, illuminating our inner transformation long before we are able see it. This immensely satisfying book is a deep journey to our future selves."Douglas Rushkoff, author of "Program or Be Programmed"""Alone Together" is a deep yet accessible, bold yet gentle, frightening yet reassuring account


Consider Facebook—it’s human contact, only easier to engage with and easier to avoid. Developing technology promises closeness. Sometimes it delivers, but much of our modern life leaves us less connected with people and more connected to simulations of them.

In Alone Together, MIT technology and society professor Sherry Turkle explores the power of our new tools and toys to dramatically alter our social lives. It’s a nuanced exploration of what we are looking for—and sacrificing—in a world of electronic companions and social networking tools, and an argument that, despite the hand-waving of today’s self-described prophets of the future, it will be the next generation who will chart the path between isolation and connectivity.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 743 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 380 Seiten
  • ISBN-Quelle für Seitenzahl: 0465010210
  • Verlag: Basic Books; Auflage: First Trade Paper Edition (11. Januar 2011)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B004DL0KW0
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #145.443 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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4.0 von 5 Sternen tiefgründige Analyse des Miteinander 26. März 2013
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Der Autor analysiert in dem Buch die Auswirkungen von Technologien (zB Spielzeugroboter, Handy) auf das soziale Verhalten der Menschen (von Kindern bis zu Senioren). Das Thema beschäftigt den Autor schon sein ganzes berufliches Leben und dies ist mittlerweile sein dritter Band zum Thema. Er reflektiert auch darüber, wie sich die Einstellung der Menschen (auch seine eigene) im Laufe der letzten 30 Jahre im Hinblick auf das Zusammenleben mit technologischen Begleitern verändert hat.

Am Ende hat man als Leser ein mulmiges Gefühl, wenn man sich dabei ertappt, lange Zeit alleine mit dem Handy zu verbringen, im Internet (vielleicht sogar im Second Life) zu verweilen und stets dabei im Irrglauben ist, soeben soziale Interaktion zu betreiben.

Das Buch war ein echter eye-opener, da diese Haltung gegenüber technologischen Produkten schleichend in den letzten Jahrzehnten in unser Leben Einzug gehalten hat und kaum mehr wegzudenken ist.

Eine Empfehlung für jedermann, vielleicht sogar eine Pflichtlektüre (in Ausschnitte und zumindest im Fazit!) für Kinder, die sich mittlerweile mehr im cyberspace als im "echten" Kontakt mit Freunden aufhalten.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Very Informative 27. Dezember 2013
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Somewhat academic, but lots of information and a thorough study of the topice.I recommend the reading for all who have mobile phones, computers, etc.
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208 von 215 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen No robot could have written this 16. Februar 2011
Von Diana Senechal - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
That was one of my thoughts as I read Sherry Turkle's Alone Together: no matter what robots learn to do, they will never learn to write a book as thoughtful, informative, and intense as Alone Together. They would not know how to pose the questions, let alone use such discernment in addressing them.

It is interesting that Turkle chose to discuss robots in the first part of the book and the Internet in the second part. By presenting the "strange" part first, she gives us a sense of how strange our everyday lives actually are, how far we have moved away from enjoying each other's presence.

Turkle quotes children and adults who hesitate to use the phone because it seems awkward and intrusive; it is much easier, they say, to dash off a text or email. At the same time, Turkle points out, because of this very convenience, people expect quick responses. She describes the anxiety of teenagers when they do not get an immediate reply to their text messages. One girl talks about needing her cell phone for "emergencies"; it turns out that what she means by "emergency" is having a feeling without being able to share it.

Turkle shows how our Internet communications mix the deliberate with the unconsidered. On the one hand, people put great effort even into short email messages. On the other, they "test" ideas and expressions in formation to see how others react. Some create fake online profiles just to try out different sides of their personality. The problem with such experimentation is that it is conditioned almost entirely by online reactions, often reactions of strangers. There is little room to form thoughts independently.

Throughout the book, Turkle brings up the question of solitude. What happens to our solitude when we are able to get responses to anything and are expected to provide responses in turn? What happens to our sense of dissent when everything we say and do online bears a trace? She points out how important privacy is to dissent, for if we have no place where we can think and act unseen, we end up policing ourselves and censoring our own thoughts. We tame and restrain ourselves, knowing that anything we do and say may end up "out there" forever. "But sometimes a citizenry should not simply 'be good,'" Turkle writes. "You have to leave space for dissent, real dissent."

Also, Turkle points out, when we have no privacy we lose the ability to privilege some thoughts and actions over others. She quotes Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, who says that "if you have something you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place." Like many others, he ignores the possibility that there might be privacy without shame or crime. We might want to keep things to ourselves for any number of reasons; when we "put everything out there," that "everything" is somehow trivialized. Turkle quotes a girl who claims there's nothing much to know about her; "I'm kind of boring." Will the loss of privacy lead more people to dismiss themselves as boring?

One of Turkle's most powerful points is that we have come "to take the performance of emotion as emotion enough." Who cares, some might say, if the robot cannot feel? It behaves as though it feels, and that's enough. But is it? I see similar assumptions in education, where test scores are equated with learning, and students' visible activity in class is equated with "engagement." How do you go about defending something that is not tangible, visible, or measurable? It is difficult, but Turkle does it.

Because this book is so informative, because Turkle understands the complexities of technologies, she can make bold statements. She insists that we have the capacity and obligation to question the principles behind new inventions. She suggests that the touch of a human hand is indeed different from a robot's, that a handwritten letter is different from a text, that thinking and remembering have value even when it seems there's no more time for them. I won't give away the ending, but it left me with a surprising sadness, as though in a movie theater, when it's over and the place is dark, and you sit there for a few minutes, stunned, before getting up and walking out into the blink-provoking street.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen An unforgettable book 17. Januar 2011
Von Booklover55 - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
What I love about this book is that a whole person wrote it. Turkle includes both original research and her everyday experiences as a mother and a friend.

Unlike many books about technology, this book does not try to tell a simple story about it being good or bad. Its goal seems to be to help us live a better life in partnership with technology. Do we really want to give up privacy online? Do we really want to text during family dinners? Do we really want our companionship to be replaced by robotic companionship?

Instead of pretending you must take a side for or against technology, "Alone Together" asks us to look out for ourselves and what is good for us. My favorite idea is that the point is not to get rid of technology but that each individual must stop and think where it fits in his or her life.

"Alone Together" is a great read. The language is sometimes poetic and sometimes funny, but always compelling. Its ideas and questions are powerful and are long-lasting.

Highly recommended for everyone.
32 von 33 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Timely Critique 20. März 2011
Von dr_sign - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
'Alone Together' is the third volume in a trilogy produced over three decades by Sherry Turkle, a psychoanalyst based at MIT, the preceding volumes being 'The Second Self' (1984) and 'Life on the Screen' (1995). I read each one soon after publication and found them engrossing, thought-provoking and well-illustrated with illuminating case-studies and insightful observations. The current volume is in two parts: the first develops themes from 'The Second Self' (here related to `sociable robots'), the second from 'Life on the Screen' (which focused on the construction of identities online). Because of the limitations of space, my comments here focus on Part Two. Whereas the earlier volumes were relatively upbeat about the implications of new technologies, the tone of the current volume feels markedly more jaundiced, alerting us to some potential social costs of `social media'.

Provocatively, the main refrain is that in an online culture we are always connected (Turkle says `tethered'), but are rarely (meaningfully) connecting. Although (somewhat ironically) one may hear the same sentiment in a current commercial for a well-known matchmaking website, Turkle's nuanced stance `is not romantically nostalgic, not Luddite in the least'; indeed, she remains `cautiously optimistic'. This is a seriously reflective work well-informed by extensive ethnographic studies. The focus on authenticity and intimacy recalls the concerns voiced by Socrates in Plato's 'Phaedrus' about an earlier technological development--publishing one's ideas in written form--in particular the fear that communication at a distance would undermine genuine (face-to-face) human discourse. This has been a recurrent anxiety throughout the history of communication technologies. As the title suggests, this book reveals and explores unresolved tensions and contradictions in our attitudes and behaviour in relation to the latest manifestations of these technologies.

Distance communication in all of its forms (print media, broadcasting, telecommunications, online) tends to facilitate what the sociologists call `weak (or loose) ties'. One sociological argument is that society at large depends on the maintenance of loose ties between distant acquaintances and those we know only indirectly, functioning as a sort of social glue, in addition to the strong ties and commitments that bind us rather more closely to our `immediate' family and `close' friends. As a psychoanalyst, however, the author argues that the personal cost may be that we are coming to rely too much on online communication with relative strangers at the expense of intimacy with, and commitment to the people we know from face-to-face interaction. For instance, her earlier enthusiasm for online worlds as `identity workshops' is tempered by a concern that the mediation of a screen encourages more premeditated behaviour, which has in turn led many teenagers to prefer texting to speaking on the phone because speech `reveals too much'.

Ethnographic approaches are particularly useful in highlighting illuminating instances that may raise broader issues. Although such studies do not enable global generalizations, they can help to frame hypotheses for further research and reflection. This is indeed a book to be read and re-read. Sherry Turkle's timely critique reminds me of Marshall McLuhan's caveat that `we are all robots when uncritically involved with our technologies.' The always accessible style of her writing encourages engagement rather than closure, so that anyone who has paused to reflect on the implications of Facebook for friendship or of mobile phones for solitude is likely to find themselves entering into an imaginary debate with the author, countering the Platonic anxiety that reading is antisocial, and thus reminding us that whatever the apparent affordances of a particular technology, maintaining a well-informed critical perspective can reduce our vulnerabilities.
141 von 172 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Whoa! Let's not get carried away 6. Februar 2011
Von Martin Zook - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
There is much insight to be gained about our relationship with digital technology in reading Alone Together...but it's equally informative to consider some of what's not covered in Turkle's book. When viewed through a broader perspective, perhaps we needn't be as alarmed as one might think after finishing AT.

Sherry Turkle's research indicates a loop. People design digital machines that make demands on us, their users. But people program digital technology such as robots and games to appeal to vulnerabilities. Turkle is most concerned with demands digital makes on our vulnerabilities, to the extent that some people are so attracted to the digital world that they run the risk of not being able to differentiate between reality 101 and digital illusions.

Even for someone who researches and analyzes the information technology such as myself, there are many eye-opening findings in AT. But the book is limited in scope, despite the fact that it is the cumulation of 30 years work by Turkle. For starters, Turkle's Freudian approach to psychology leads her to focus on the pathological. Zeroing in on the pathological can be informative if it is the start of a path that is linked to more socially integrated behavior. In other words, examination of the pathological mind can yield insights into better integrated minds.

From some of the reactions here, I think there is a pitfall in translating Turkle's findings directly to society at large, without taking into account how better integrated minds react to digital technology. And, I don't fault readers. It's a reasonable reaction and reflects a weakness in the book. "What's wrong with the new and artistic world of computer games? Nothing is wrong with them. But looking to games for amusement is one thing. Looking to them for a life is another," Turkle says on p.226. In other words, the digital world is what each of us collectively make of it. In that regard, it's much like all phenomena.

Turkle's diagnosis of the pathologies of the digital age seem right on. But I think that the illusory relationship with technology is transcended in individuals more integrated in a social setting. In other words, those who are not well integrated into their social settings, are vulnerable to the gravitational pull of the convenient and unambiguous digital world. Those who are better integrated will tend to view digital games as games. That's certainly what I see in my teenage children (who seemingly are anatomically connected to their mobile phones yet somehow achieve leadership in their social activities), in their friends, in my work researching the business side of digital technology, and in those with whom I mix socially.

The fly in AT's ointment is that Turkle's findings are overly dependent on projecting the pathological directly onto the socially integrated. With children, she makes no allowance that they might outgrow their seemingly alarming relationship with digital toys. As pointed out in another review here, she doesn't consider the many beneficial effects of digital technology, nor how well integrated people view the digital world.

I did think of Marshall McLuhan while reading AT, and his assertion that electronic media is controlled to a large degree by the user, in contrast to print, which is controlled by the press owner. AT illustrates that to a degree we are using our control over digital technology to address vulnerabilities. Some are confusing the illusions they perceive while using digital technologies to create alternative worlds that zaps their motivation for living in the real world. I'm sure some are. But I also question how many?

Another shortcoming of AT is the lack of prescriptive remedies. I suspect that the reaction of many is to deny access to the digital, just as many well-intended parents severely limit, or deny TV. It seems to me there are much more effective alternatives.

Turkle's book is worth a read, but bring your skepticism along. Not only are you reading the findings of a Freudian, but one who projects a relatively narrow perspective onto a large canvas.
50 von 59 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Skip the First Half 8. März 2011
Von BraMaster - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I was pretty excited to read "Alone Together", but it took me a bit longer to get through than I thought it was going to. For me, the whole first half of the book is just redundant. After interviewing child after child after child about how they think and feel about robots, I was beginning to get a bit bored. It's just short quote after short quote from the children about how they love Furbies, My Real Baby, and other robotic toys. It's mixed in with how the elderly feel about robots, and how they will become more involved in our society in the future, but I just didn't find so much speculating that interesting. I get the point she's trying to make about how future generations may not as clearly see the distinction between "real" and "non real" life forms, but the way she went about it felt too drawn out.

The second half though, I feel is much more relevant and interesting. You see people on their cell phones everywhere all the time, and know that people are getting hooked on the virtual world. It's interesting to read what effect it is having on us and our culture to shy away from real conversations and instead rely on text messages to feel connected.

I would give the first half about a 5 out of 10 as quite a few sections drag, and the second half about an 8. Worth a read, but was a bit disappointed.
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