Category Archives: smartphones

smartphones/devices mess with us, but it is fixable

Stop Googling. Let’s Talk.
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/27/opinion/sunday/stop-googling-lets-talk.html?_r=1
This was an interesting article but is probably one of those cases where you can more or less skip the book and just stick to the article and TED talk (if there is one).

And this article suffers from a problem that many (myself included of course!) suffer from… jumping from point to point, or mashing several somewhat related points together. And supporting them with a mix of unrelated short term studies and personal anecdotes including references to studies or “research” but no actual references.

One with a reference:
“…a 40 percent decline in empathy among college students, with most of the decline taking place after 2000.”

Another:
“… 2014 study of children at a device-free outdoor camp. After five days without phones or tablets, these campers were able to read facial emotions and correctly identify the emotions of actors in videotaped scenes significantly better than a control group.”

NO REFERENCE:
“Studies of conversation both in the laboratory and in natural settings show that when two people are talking, the mere presence of a phone on a table between them or in the periphery of their vision changes both what they talk about and the degree of connection they feel. ”

So when she writes “In our hearts, we know this, and now research is catching up with our intuitions.” in some ways this article is nothing new… since the article itself is half anecdotes.

Topics:
– family-time
– solitude
– self-talk
– conversation
– drastic decline in empathy since 2000
– uni-tasking vs multi-tasking
– choosing to NOT carry a phone
– “app generation” (again, where is the study?)
– “seven minute rule” (a thing?)
– “three person rule” (a thing?)
– study: even phones off in-view cause problems
– “technologies to which we are vulnerable” (a way of saying that tech is not neutral)

So I dunno… I doubt I will read the book. I read (or tried to read) one of her previous books in 1997 and I don’t remember thinking it was saying much that couldn’t have been put in a magazine article or TED talk. Could have been a good article, but maybe should have stayed that?

(Sherry Turkle is a professor in the program in Science, Technology and Society at M.I.T. and the author, most recently, of “Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age,” from which this essay is adapted.)

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Filed under person: Sherry Turkle, smartphones, technology