Expecting More From Technology And Less From Each Other

Alone Together. That’s the phrase used to define the relationships we have with each other today. We all have our phones and in those phones we save the contacts of tons of our old and new friends…just for the sake of it. When it comes to actually hanging out — instead of talking to each other we are too busy “checking in” or “taking selfies.” Why not just take a minute to experience the person while they are there?

Katie Davis mentions Sherry Turkle through out parts of her book. I read a book by Sherry Turkle called “Alone Together” and thought it went VERY very much with this topic. The book focuses on computer and people. It discusses the connections they have and the connections they are making. Clearly we are all apart of two worlds: reality and virtual life. We have no controls of our lives in reality however we have full control of our lives in the virtual world. We make our avatars, we dress them, we pick their homes, we pick their relationships, we pick their careers, and choose their destiny. We try to make our avatars live “the ideal life” from our perspective. Turkle studies robots and the affect social media has on us. Alone together is a book that shows how lonely we are individually but live in connections. A large segment in the first chapter talked about robots. In particular robots that are made to be with us. They are being instilled with emotions and affection to become more human like. Technology is reshaping our lives. Scientist/researchers believe that we can actually start living with robots. However, I disagree because if we are already breaking conversations and relationships with humans than robots don’t stand a chance.

I mean…just think about it. Intimacy. How easy it is to type the words “I love you” and click send. In person, you just shy away from the person you “love.” This—hiding behind a screen is what makes it easier. You can be a different person without anyone knowing. Maybe if we saw the person we loved everyday, it would be easier to be intimate in person rather than chatting on Kik or Facebook at a certain time of everyday. I chose this quote on excerpt 16 of “The App Generation” by Katie Davis and it goes:

“There is a risk that we come to see others as objects to be accessed—and only for the parts we find useful, comforting, or amusing.” This emptying out of intimacy is likely what one focus group participant had in mind when she observed tellingly: “Kids are more and more connected, but less and less really connected.”

Technology is distancing us from the world. Clearly we are forgetting to live in the moment. We are too busy trying to follow social norms like “not picking up the phone but rather texting” and “uploading your breakfast on Instagram with hashtags.” All the social norms have to do with technology. Young children are victims of taking useless photos of what is surrounding them so they could share with their friends on Facebook. However, a photo does not capture what your eyes can see. You should always try to see the most of what you can rather then waste 30 seconds taking a good photo. Your eyes are the best Camera. Most definitely.

I read some work by author Jonathan Safran Foer last semester for my Internet & Society class. Foer is no doubt a phenomenal writer but he touched on so many points relating to this distance technology has created. Floer shares a memory of when he saw a crying girl but was unsure whether to help her or not. He listed all the negative reasons of why he should not meet her. Would it be invading her privacy? Would she mind? Floer was on his phone and suddenly forgot she was even there. He includes this quote on one of his pieces:

“Psychologists who study empathy and compassion are finding that unlike our almost instantaneous responses to physical pain, it takes time for the brain to comprehend the psychological and moral dimensions of a situation. The more distracted we become, and the more emphasis we place on speed at the expense of depth, the less likely and able we are to care.”

Technology is helping us forget others. It was once created to help shorten long distances. However, it seems that it’s distancing relationships. We are becoming less involved with each other and more involved in this virtual world. We all have the ability to love and care but we choose whether or not we want to love and care.

Questions for Katie Davis:

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