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Alone Together Essay

987 words - 4 pages

The novel, Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other (2011) written by Sherry Turkle, presents many controversial views, and demonstrating numerous examples of how technology is replacing complex pieces and relationships in our life. The book is slightly divided into two parts with the first focused on social robots and their relationships with people. The second half is much different, focusing on the online world and it’s presence in society. Overall, Turkle makes many personally agreeable and disagreeable points in the book that bring it together as a whole.
To start off with, Turkle vividly describes how robots are used as a substitute for other people or things and help imagine robots in every day life. My Real Baby was noted as an example, which quickly turned into My Real Babysitter. My Real Babysitter was an idea formed from the idea that children are left alone all too often and babysitters are sometimes hard to come by in cases of emergencies. This robotic babysitter would replace the human version, integrating itself into daily life. The children explained that there is only so much a robot babysitter would do and it wouldn’t create an even playing field between human and robotic babysitters. Turkle came to the conclusion that children with lively and creative babysitters would rather keep theirs and children with boring babysitters would prefer the robotic version. The AIBO, a robotic dog, was also used as an example in the novel. In the case of eight-year-old Zara, she says that with a teddy bear you have to put in the work to create the teddy bears thoughts and feeling, but, with the AIBO, it already thinks what it wants and is expressing. Also, if the robotic dog is bugging you, you simply can shut it off unlike a real pet. However, taking a positive light on the AIBO, it can be useful in cases of allergic reactions to other real pets. The AIBO would be alive enough to act as a pet for the person. I personally agree with this claim. I truly believe that robots are used to substitute other things in society. This is extremely prominent in factories. Robots replaced humans on assembly lines. This made things much faster, but also to a point loosing the quality that one gets from a hand-made piece. The robots are “just alive” enough to be able to replace other things in life.
This is one of the other points that Turkle made in the novel. Robots have become just “alive enough” for the children. Children notice and understand they are only metal and plastic machines, but loose sight of that when the machine requires care and attention. Because it is a machine, it is not completely alive, but because it needs fed or played with it becomes just alive enough for the children. Turkle uses Furbies and Tamagotchis to prove this example. Both...

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