Sherry Turkle

Sherry
Turkle
1948

American Educator and Cultural Analyst, Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Author Quotes

This distinctive confusion: these days, whether you are online or not, it is easy for people to end up unsure if they are closer together or further apart.

We expect more from technology and less from each other.

This give-and-take prepares children for the expectation of relationship with machines that is at the heart of the robotic moment.

We seem determined to give human qualities to objects and content to treat each other as things.

This is the experience of living full time on the Net, newly free in some ways, newly yoked in others. We are all cyborgs now.

We use this technology to structure/control/select the kinds of conversations we have with certain people.

This kind of pragmatism has become a hallmark of our psychological culture. In the mid-1990s, I described how it was commonplace for people to cycle through different ideas of the human mind as (to name only a few images) mechanism, spirit, chemistry, and vessel for the soul.14 These days, the cycling through intensifies. We are in much more direct contact with the machine side of mind. People are fitted with a computer chip to help with Parkinson?s. They learn to see their minds as program and hardware. They take antidepressants prescribed by their psychotherapists, confident that the biochemical and oedipal self can be treated in one room. They look for signs of emotion in a brain scan. Old jokes about couples needing chemistry turn out not to be jokes at all.

We used to think, ?I have a feeling; I want to make a call.? Now our impulse is, ?I want to have a feeling; I need to send a text.

Thumbs up or thumbs down on a website is not a conversation. The danger is you get into a habit of mind where politics means giving a thumbs up or thumbs down to a website. The world is a much more complex place.

We... heal ourselves by giving others what we most need.

To make our life livable, we have to have spaces where we are fully present to each other or to ourselves, where we're not competing with the roar of the Internet and, quite frankly, where the people around us are not competing with the latest news off the Facebook status update. They may not have anything new. They may just be there being in a way that needs attention.

We're letting [technology] take us places that we don't want to go.

If AIBO is in some sense a toy, it is a toy that changes minds. It does this in several ways. It heightens our sense of being close to developing a post-biological life and not just in theory or in the laboratory. And it suggests how this passage will take place. It will begin with our seeing the new life as as if life and then deciding that as if may be life enough. Even now, as we contemplate creatures with artificial feelings and intelligence, we come to reflect differently on our own. The question here is not whether machines can be made to think like people but whether people have always thought like machines.

People are surprised by how upset they get in this theater of distress. And then they get upset that they are upset. They often try to reassure themselves, saying things like, Chill, chill, it?s only a toy! They are experiencing something new: you can feel bad about yourself for how you behave with a computer program. Adults come to the upside-down test knowing two things: the Furby is a machine and they are not torturers. By the end, with a whimpering Furby in tow, they are on new ethical terrain.

The most used program in computers and education is PowerPoint. What are you learning about the nature of the medium by knowing how do to a great PowerPoint presentation? Nothing. It certainly doesn't teach you how to think critically about living in a culture of simulation.

If behind popular fascination with Freudian theory there was a nervous, often guilty preoccupation with the self as sexual, behind increasing interest in computational interpretations of mind is an equally nervous preoccupation with the self as machine.

People thought I was very pro-computer. I was on the cover of 'Wired' magazine. Then things began to change. In the early '80s, we met this technology and became smitten like young lovers. But today our attachment is unhealthy.

The My Real Babies frightened her,

If there is no underlying meaning, or a meaning we shall never know, postmodern theorists argue that the privileged way of knowing can only be through an exploration of surfaces. This makes social knowledge into something that we might navigate much as we explore the Macintosh screen and its multiple layers of files and applications.

Pinball games were constrained by physical limitations, ultimately by the physical laws that govern the motion of a small metal ball. The video world knows no such bounds. Objects fly, spin, accelerate, change shape and color, disappear and reappear. Their behavior, like the behavior of anything created by a computer program, is limited only by the programmer?s imagination. The objects in a video game are representations of objects. And a representation of a ball, unlike a real one, never need obey the laws of gravity unless its programmer wants it to.

The new technologies allow us to dial down human contact, to titrate its nature and extent.

If we're not able to be alone, we're going to be more lonely. And if we don't teach our children to be alone, they're only going to know how to be lonely.

Sociable robotics exploits the idea of a robotic body to move people to relate to machines as subjects, as creatures in pain rather than broken objects. That even the most primitive Tamagotchi can inspire these feelings demonstrates that objects cross that line not because of their sophistication but because of the feelings of attachment they evoke.

In debugging, errors are seen not as false but as fixable. This is a state of mind that makes it easy to learn from .6 Multiple passes also brought a new feel for the complexity of design decisions.

some children become more anxious as the operation continues. One suggests that if the Furby dies, it might haunt them. It is alive enough to turn into a ghost. Indeed, a group of children start to call the empty Furby skin the ghost of Furby and the Furby?s naked body the goblin. They are not happy that this operation might leave a Furby goblin and ghost at large. One girl comes up with the idea that the ghost of the Furby will be less fearful if distributed. She asks if it would be okay if every child took home a piece of Furby skin.

Author Picture
First Name
Sherry
Last Name
Turkle
Birth Date
1948
Bio

American Educator and Cultural Analyst, Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology