Owned By Your Phone?

“Technology doesn’t just change what we do, it changes who we are.”
I listened to an interview of MIT Professor, Sherry Turkle, on  her new book, Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age. She’s an expert on how technology affects us.

Put your mobile phone on the table when you’re with someone and it immediately destroys the possibility of deep conversation. Without even realizing it, everything gets superficial. Both of you will be ready to to scratch the near-addictive phone-checking itch. So you’ll never go deep as you know one of you will pick up their phone as a result.

Moreover, in classroom settings when people use laptops, they become robotic transcribers, rather than absorbers of knowledge. And if one person opens their laptop, it affects everyone.

With the phone at hand, we never need to be with ourselves and experience solitude, nor do we feel comfortable anymore with lulls in conversations with others. This ironically makes us more lonely, and prevents us from having empathy. Think how us parents start checking emails when bathing our kids, rather than just being them.

In the end, Sherry isn’t anti-technology, she’s pro-conversation. She sees us and technology as two young lovers. We will mature, and eventually find the right balance with technology.

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