You are on page 1of 5

Harrison​ ​1

Jazzmin​ ​Harrison

Dr.​ ​Joshua​ ​Weiss

​ ​English​ ​101

15​ ​September​ ​2017

Kissing​ ​Through​ ​The​ ​Phone

The​ ​things​ ​the​ ​human​ ​race​ ​does​ ​with​ ​electronic​ ​devices​ ​today​ ​would​ ​have​ ​been​ ​deemed

disturbing​ ​two​ ​decades​ ​ago.​ ​Humans​ ​are​ ​fixated​ ​on​ ​social​ ​media​ ​because​ ​having​ ​automatic

listeners​ ​satisfies​ ​the​ ​need​ ​to​ ​be​ ​heard.​ ​Sherry​ ​Turkle,​ ​social​ ​Psychologist​ ​led​ ​a​ ​Ted​ ​Talk​ ​in

February​ ​of​ ​2012​ ​on​ ​the​ ​dangers​ ​of​ ​technology.​ ​In​ ​Turkle’s​ ​Ted​ ​Talk,​ ​Connected,​ ​But​ ​Alone​,​ ​she

effectively​ ​argues​ ​the​ ​dangers​ ​of​ ​electronic​ ​devices​ ​by​ ​presenting​ ​the​ ​harmful​ ​effects​ ​of

technology​ ​on​ ​relationships,​ ​expounding​ ​on​ ​the​ ​false​ ​companionship​ ​that​ ​devices​ ​offers,​ ​and

stressing​ ​the​ ​long​ ​term​ ​effects​ ​of​ ​being​ ​dependent​ ​about​ ​technology.

Initially,​ ​to​ ​explain​ ​the​ ​dangers​ ​of​ ​technology​ ​to​ ​her​ ​audience,​ ​Turkle​ ​shares​ ​concrete

experiences.​ ​She​ ​displays​ ​a​ ​picture​ ​on​ ​the​ ​screen​ ​of​ ​her​ ​daughter​ ​and​ ​friends​ ​in​ ​the​ ​same​ ​room,

but​ ​not​ ​giving​ ​each​ ​other​ ​any​ ​attention,​ ​manifesting​ ​her​ ​title​ ​Connected,​ ​But​ ​Alone.​ ​Turkle

declares​ ​this​ ​as​ ​being​ ​together​ ​while​ ​not​ ​actually​ ​being​ ​together,​ ​asserting,​ ​“We​ ​remove

ourselves​ ​from​ ​our​ ​grief​ ​or​ ​from​ ​our​ ​revery​ ​and​ ​we​ ​go​ ​into​ ​our​ ​phones”​ ​(Turkle).​ ​Turkle

considers​ ​this​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​problem​ ​because​ ​it​ ​interferes​ ​with​ ​how​ ​people​ ​relate​ ​to​ ​each​ ​other​ ​and​ ​to

themselves.​ ​She​ ​observes​ ​that​ ​people​ ​want​ ​to​ ​be​ ​with​ ​others​ ​but​ ​elsewhere​ ​at​ ​the​ ​same​ ​time.

Turkle​ ​suggests​ ​that​ ​that​ ​way​ ​of​ ​living​ ​is​ ​desirable​ ​because​ ​one​ ​has​ ​total​ ​control​ ​over​ ​where​ ​their

attention​ ​goes.​ ​ ​For​ ​instance,​ ​Turkle​ ​points​ ​out,​ ​one​ ​may​ ​want​ ​to​ ​go​ ​to​ ​a​ ​board​ ​meeting​ ​but​ ​only

want​ ​to​ ​focus​ ​on​ ​the​ ​bits​ ​that​ ​are​ ​interesting.​ ​She​ ​relates​ ​this​ ​example​ ​to​ ​how​ ​people​ ​control​ ​the
Harrison​ ​2

dynamics​ ​of​ ​a​ ​friendship​ ​by​ ​keeping​ ​friends​ ​close​ ​but​ ​not​ ​too​ ​close.​ ​Turkle​ ​refers​ ​to​ ​this​ ​impulse

of​ ​complete​ ​control​ ​as​ ​the​ ​Goldilocks​ ​Effect.​ ​The​ ​dangers​ ​of​ ​this,​ ​Turkle​ ​reveals,​ ​is​ ​that​ ​people

will​ ​end​ ​up​ ​hiding​ ​from​ ​others​ ​even​ ​when​ ​constantly​ ​together.​ ​She​ ​also​ ​expresses​ ​that​ ​this​ ​is​ ​a

problem​ ​for​ ​adolescents​ ​who​ ​need​ ​to​ ​develop​ ​face-to-face​ ​relationships.​ ​Turkle​ ​states,

“Technology​ ​will​ ​give​ ​us​ ​the​ ​illusion​ ​of​ ​companionship​ ​without​ ​the​ ​demands​ ​of​ ​friendship”

(Turkle).​ ​Human​ ​relationships​ ​are​ ​rich,​ ​complex,​ ​and​ ​demanding,​ ​Turkle​ ​explains,​ ​and​ ​people

clean​ ​them​ ​up​ ​with​ ​technology​ ​because​ ​communicating​ ​through​ ​a​ ​device​ ​takes​ ​less​ ​effort​ ​than

having​ ​a​ ​real​ ​conversation​ ​(Turkle).​ ​Turkle​ ​uses​ ​a​ ​50-year​ ​old​ ​business​ ​man​ ​as​ ​a​ ​model​ ​and​ ​he

says,​ ​“….I’m​ ​the​ ​one​ ​who​ ​doesn't​ ​want​ ​to​ ​be​ ​interrupted,​ ​I​ ​think​ ​I​ ​should​ ​want​ ​to,​ ​but​ ​I​ ​rather​ ​do

things​ ​on​ ​my​ ​Blackberry”​ ​(Turkle).​ ​ ​Turkle​ ​declares​ ​this​ ​as​ ​dangerous​ ​because​ ​a​ ​flight​ ​from

conversation​ ​will​ ​compromise​ ​how​ ​people​ ​learn​ ​each​ ​other​ ​and​ ​how​ ​people​ ​learn​ ​themselves.

Sacrificing​ ​conversation​ ​for​ ​shallow​ ​connection,​ ​according​ ​to​ ​Turkle,​ ​will​ ​result​ ​in​ ​many​ ​willing

to​ ​dispense​ ​with​ ​people​ ​all​ ​together.

For​ ​fifteen​ ​years​ ​Sherry​ ​Turkle​ ​has​ ​studied​ ​the​ ​technologies​ ​of​ ​mobile​ ​communications.

Turkle​ ​had​ ​concluded​ ​from​ ​her​ ​research​ ​that​ ​devices​ ​are​ ​so​ ​psychologically​ ​powerful​ ​that​ ​it​ ​gives

people​ ​the​ ​feeling​ ​of​ ​being​ ​understood​ ​(Turkle).​ ​She​ ​studies​ ​the​ ​interactions​ ​of​ ​elderly​ ​people

and​ ​sociable​ ​robots​ ​and​ ​notices​ ​that​ ​a​ ​woman,​ ​who​ ​has​ ​gone​ ​through​ ​a​ ​traumatic​ ​experience,​ ​was

connecting​ ​with​ ​the​ ​robot​ ​as​ ​if​ ​it​ ​were​ ​a​ ​human.​ ​Turkle​ ​asserts​ ​the​ ​dangers​ ​of​ ​intimacy​ ​with

robots,​ ​“That​ ​robot​ ​can’t​ ​empathize,​ ​it​ ​does​ ​not​ ​face​ ​death,​ ​it​ ​doesn't​ ​know​ ​life”​ ​(Turkle).

According​ ​to​ ​Turkle,​ ​people​ ​experience​ ​pretend​ ​empathy​ ​when​ ​taking​ ​comfort​ ​in​ ​devices.​ ​This​ ​is

harmful,​ ​Turkle​ ​presents,​ ​because​ ​people​ ​will​ ​stop​ ​looking​ ​to​ ​humans​ ​for​ ​comfort​ ​and​ ​only​ ​rely

on​ ​devices​ ​that​ ​does​ ​not​ ​experience​ ​real​ ​life.​ ​Turkle​ ​continues​ ​to​ ​say,​ ​“We​ ​expect​ ​more​ ​from
Harrison​ ​3

technology​ ​than​ ​we​ ​do​ ​from​ ​each​ ​other”​ ​(Turkle).​ ​The​ ​elderly​ ​woman​ ​in​ ​Turkle’s​ ​study​ ​did​ ​not

look​ ​to​ ​a​ ​loved​ ​one​ ​for​ ​comfort,​ ​she​ ​confided​ ​in​ ​the​ ​sociable​ ​robot.​ ​Turkle​ ​claims​ ​that​ ​technology

appeals​ ​to​ ​people​ ​the​ ​most​ ​when​ ​one​ ​is​ ​vulnerable,​ ​which​ ​leads​ ​to​ ​people​ ​to​ ​preferring​ ​a​ ​robot

rather​ ​than​ ​verbally​ ​contact​ ​with​ ​humans.​ ​According​ ​to​ ​Turkle,​ ​people​ ​fear​ ​not​ ​having​ ​listeners.

Technology​ ​fills​ ​the​ ​need​ ​to​ ​be​ ​heard,​ ​Turkle​ ​argues,​ ​and​ ​that​ ​urges​ ​people​ ​to​ ​spend​ ​time​ ​with

machines​ ​that​ ​seem​ ​to​ ​care​ ​about​ ​humans.​ ​Turkle​ ​claims​ ​that​ ​when​ ​one​ ​feels​ ​that​ ​no​ ​one​ ​is

listening,​ ​it,​ ​it​ ​makes​ ​one​ ​want​ ​to​ ​spend​ ​time​ ​with​ ​electronic​ ​devices​ ​and​ ​on​ ​social​ ​media.​ ​Social

media​ ​is​ ​appealing​ ​to​ ​people,​ ​according​ ​to​ ​Turkle,​ ​because​ ​social​ ​media​ ​is​ ​an​ ​automatic​ ​listener.

Technology​ ​offers​ ​people​ ​three​ ​gratifying​ ​things:​ ​Attention​ ​can​ ​be​ ​put​ ​anywhere​ ​one​ ​desires,​ ​one

will​ ​always​ ​be​ ​heard,​ ​and​ ​one​ ​will​ ​never​ ​have​ ​to​ ​be​ ​alone.​ ​Turkle​ ​states​ ​that​ ​technology​ ​does​ ​not

solve​ ​underlying​ ​problems,​ ​it​ ​simply​ ​allows​ ​people​ ​to​ ​share​ ​their​ ​thoughts​ ​and​ ​feelings​ ​as​ ​they

are​ ​experiencing​ ​them.​ ​Turkle​ ​deems​ ​this​ ​as​ ​dangerous​ ​because​ ​people​ ​will​ ​not​ ​experience​ ​true

companionship​ ​and​ ​genuine​ ​help​ ​from​ ​a​ ​device​ ​that​ ​can​ ​not​ ​relate​ ​to​ ​the​ ​real​ ​life​ ​experiences.

Turkle​ ​discusses​ ​how​ ​the​ ​current​ ​use​ ​of​ ​technology​ ​may​ ​take​ ​society​ ​to​ ​a​ ​place​ ​where

lives​ ​are​ ​lived​ ​through​ ​a​ ​screen.​ ​She​ ​suggests​ ​that​ ​humans​ ​will​ ​stop​ ​developing​ ​relationships

with​ ​oneself​ ​and​ ​others.​ ​Turkle​ ​points​ ​out,​ ​“Technology​ ​is​ ​making​ ​a​ ​bid​ ​to​ ​redefine​ ​human

connection”​ ​(Turkle).​ ​People​ ​are​ ​becoming​ ​drawn​ ​to​ ​virtual​ ​relationships,​ ​Turkle​ ​suggest,

because​ ​some​ ​are​ ​afraid​ ​that​ ​saying​ ​too​ ​much​ ​may​ ​spoil​ ​a​ ​relationship.​ ​However​ ​Turkle​ ​explains

that​ ​when​ ​hesitating,​ ​stumbling​ ​on​ ​words,​ ​and​ ​losing​ ​track​ ​of​ ​ideas​ ​is​ ​when​ ​one​ ​reveals​ ​true​ ​self

to​ ​others.​ ​ ​Turkle​ ​enlightens​ ​her​ ​audience​ ​of​ ​the​ ​future​ ​that​ ​may​ ​be,​ ​“Robots​ ​will​ ​someday​ ​be​ ​our

true​ ​companion”​ ​(Turkle).​ ​Turkle​ ​acknowledges​ ​the​ ​pros​ ​of​ ​technology,​ ​such​ ​that​ ​it​ ​is​ ​simpler,

hopeful,​ ​and​ ​optimistic.​ ​Nonetheless,​ ​Turkle​ ​presumes,​ ​technology​ ​will​ ​cost​ ​humans​ ​to​ ​stray
Harrison​ ​4

away​ ​from​ ​one’s​ ​real​ ​life,​ ​community,​ ​and​ ​politics.​ ​Turkle​ ​suggests​ ​ ​that​ ​people​ ​will​ ​prefer​ ​to​ ​be

isolated​ ​so​ ​that​ ​one​ ​can​ ​stay​ ​connected.​ ​Solitude​ ​will​ ​no​ ​longer​ ​be​ ​feared,​ ​Turkle​ ​explains,

because​ ​technology​ ​can​ ​diminish​ ​the​ ​feeling​ ​of​ ​loneliness.​ ​Solitude​ ​is​ ​where​ ​people​ ​determine

one’s​ ​true​ ​self​ ​,​ ​Turkle​ ​mentions,​ ​and​ ​it​ ​allows​ ​humans​ ​to​ ​reach​ ​out​ ​to​ ​other​ ​people​ ​and​ ​form​ ​real

attachments.​ ​Turkle​ ​reports,​ ​“We​ ​are​ ​at​ ​risk...if​ ​we​ ​don’t​ ​teach​ ​our​ ​children​ ​how​ ​to​ ​be​ ​alone,​ ​they

will​ ​only​ ​know​ ​how​ ​to​ ​be​ ​alone”​ ​(Turkle).​ ​If​ ​children​ ​are​ ​not​ ​taught​ ​how​ ​to​ ​communicate​ ​with

others​ ​when​ ​feeling​ ​isolated,​ ​Turkle​ ​remarks,​ ​then​ ​children​ ​will​ ​depend​ ​on​ ​devices,​ ​resulting​ ​in

ongoing​ ​isolation.​ ​Turkle​ ​discusses​ ​that​ ​the​ ​long​ ​term​ ​effects​ ​of​ ​depending​ ​on​ ​technology​ ​to​ ​fill

social​ ​voids​ ​will​ ​affect​ ​children​ ​as​ ​much​ ​as​ ​it​ ​does​ ​millennials​ ​and​ ​adults.​ ​Turkle​ ​says,​ ​“We

spend​ ​an​ ​evening​ ​on​ ​the​ ​social​ ​network​ ​instead​ ​of​ ​going​ ​to​ ​the​ ​pub​ ​with​ ​friends”​ ​(Turkle).​ ​If

people​ ​depend​ ​on​ ​technology​ ​to​ ​bring​ ​simplicity​ ​into​ ​one's​ ​life,​ ​Turkle​ ​suggest,​ ​then​ ​people​ ​will

not​ ​value​ ​human​ ​relationships​ ​that​ ​tend​ ​to​ ​be​ ​complicated.​ ​Simplicity​ ​is​ ​not​ ​the​ ​answer,​ ​Turkle

urges,​ ​it​ ​reaffirms​ ​one's​ ​values.​ ​Turkle​ ​declares​ ​that​ ​technology​ ​will​ ​reshape​ ​modern

relationships​ ​and​ ​take​ ​advantage​ ​of​ ​one’s​ ​vulnerability​ ​if​ ​humans​ ​continue​ ​to​ ​depend​ ​on​ ​devices

to​ ​feel​ ​connected​ ​in​ ​ways​ ​that​ ​can​ ​be​ ​controlled.

Turkle​ ​develops​ ​an​ ​effective​ ​argument​ ​to​ ​inform​ ​her​ ​audience​ ​of​ ​the​ ​dangers​ ​of​ ​being

fixated​ ​on​ ​technology.​ ​She​ ​supports​ ​her​ ​claims​ ​by​ ​expounding​ ​on​ ​how​ ​technology​ ​can​ ​cause

people​ ​to​ ​omit​ ​from​ ​relationships,​ ​the​ ​distorted​ ​intimacy​ ​devices​ ​give,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​risks​ ​people​ ​may

encounter​ ​if​ ​constantly​ ​reliant​ ​on​ ​technology.​ ​She​ ​uses​ ​real​ ​life​ ​experiences​ ​and​ ​allocates​ ​her

research​ ​on​ ​this​ ​matter​ ​to​ ​successfully​ ​apprise​ ​listeners​ ​of​ ​what​ ​she​ ​perceives​ ​to​ ​be​ ​dangerous​ ​to

human​ ​psyches.​ ​Turkle​ ​delivers​ ​a​ ​compelling​ ​speech​ ​that​ ​evokes​ ​listens​ ​attentions​ ​and​ ​engages

people​ ​to​ ​reconsider​ ​one’s​ ​usage​ ​of​ ​technology.
Harrison​ ​5

Work​ ​Cited

Turkle,​ ​Sherry.​ ​“Connected,​ ​but​ ​Alone?”​ ​TED,​ ​uploaded​ ​by​ ​TED,​ ​February​ ​2012,

https://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together?language=en.