Monday, January 30, 2012

Alone Together or Together Alone?

Dear Sherry Turkle,

First off, I wanted to say that I found your article interesting and amusing, partially because once I read the part about "Love and Sex With Robots", I could not stop thinking about the Futurama episode that addresses the apparently on going, futuristic problem of robosexuality (in which a robot and a human are having sex). Even though the Futurama episode is a clear parody, your article brings to light some serious questions about a similar topic and how it is going to progress in the future.

I think your best line in the article is when you say "technology is seductive when what it offers meets our human vulnerabilities". Tying that in with the title of your piece, "Alone Together", I decided to look at the vulnerability of loneliness and the longing to have social connections.

One of the concepts you address in your article deals with online personalities or avatars, and how they allow people to overcome some of their fears of interacting with people in the real world. Even though I agree that this is prevalent and fairly acceptable in today's world, I don't think technology is being used in a healthy way to overcome this vulnerability. When people go online to interact with others virtually anonymously, it gives them a crutch that they don't have in the real world. However, once you place the same person back into the real world, they might completely shut down their ability to socialize due to social anxiety. In this case, technology isn't helping people become less vulnerable. Instead, I believe its making people more vulnerable and dependent on this technology.

Despite this, more and more people are delving into virtual worlds to find companionship. Even though articles like this come out, that bring some of these problems to light, people still continue to explore their virtual personas and neglect their real world identities. In this sense, people aren't alone together with their technologies anymore. With the massive global increase in virtual interactions, I believe, for better or for worse, that people are now together...alone.

                                                                                           Virtually yours,
                                                                                              Kevin Lanza

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