22 July, 2011

Book of Note: 'Alone Together.......'

Almost all of us who use the Internet are using some form of a social networking service; the most basic being email. Most too, use other forms of Internet communication like: instant messaging and 'chatting'. But, in today's world, millions of people, especially the young, are using other platforms of socializing through the Internet; these are time consuming and can be addictive. Addictive so much that they can be very time wasting and harmful. These are services like: Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and now, Google+; and the many others out there. No other writer has written such excellent well researched books on the phenomenon of computers and the Internet and their effects as Sherry Turkle. Of all her books, non is as sobering to read and pessimistic on the role that computers and especially the Internet, play in our modern lives as her: Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other.

This book is the last part of her books on the computer and Internet phenomenon; it completes her trilogy - following "The Second Self" and "Life on the Screen". Have you realized how most of the urbanized us, especially the young, are so hooked up and chained to screens; so hooked up that we rarely have time for any thing else? We are tethered to screens of: cellphones, laptops and computers; and TVs. “Alone Together” is really two separate books. The first half is about social robots, those sci-fi androids that promise (one day) to sweep the kitchen floor, take care of our aging parents and provide us with reliable companionship. As always, though, she’s less interested in the machines than in our relationships with them. Turkle begins with the troubling observation that we often seek out robots as a solution to our own imperfections, as an easy substitute for the difficulty of dealing with others......Read more of the review from the NYT.