Sherry Turkle

Sherry Turkle

At THiNK 2012 being held in Goa this weekend, Sherry Turkle spoke on the social network: why are robots are becoming human and men machines. As a psychologist, over the years she became more concerned with the change to a virtual reality in that we become social robots. I agree as one only has to see this happening at dinners and parties where often our friends are staring at their mobile rather than engaging in a more real social activity.

Turkle stated that “Technology has allows us to have the illusion that one has companionship with out any intimacy. It is about control what people think.”

Shoma Choudhary, the moderator, asked why it needs to be a bad thing? From Turkle’s point of view, people text rather than being in a human community. She stressed there is a difference between human attachment and connecting. Shoma pointed out that the internet allowed us to know that we are here in Goa. Turkle agreed and added that now that she is here in Goa it is important to get to know her more intimately.

Turkle said that “The internet is fantastic but to really get to know someone and feel the multiple layers of authenticity you want to meet face to face”. It is important to Turkle not classify her as a technology hater but to realise that we have the time to build technology in ways that enhance social values.

As a result she totally disagrees with the likes of Ray Kurzweil who is generally recognized as a public advocate for the futurist and transhumanist movements, for example due to his stances on life extension technologies.

Whether one agrees with her or not it is indeed good to question when, where, and to what extend social media and robotics is socially acceptable.