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Good afternoon.
When I first got to MIT in 1978 Michael Dertouzos,
who's the head of the laboratory for computer science held a meeting.
There was a several day retreat in Endicott House Conference center.
In which he assembled the greatest minds
in computer science really at the time
to figure out the question of what people
might want to do with what was then called
home computers.
The word personal computers really hadn't
come into the lexicon yet.
Now these were the first computers that
you didn't have to build.
These were the first computers that you
could actually buy.
And these great computer scientists got together
and I was invited to the meeting
because I had begun my studies of computers and people.
They got together and they kind of gave it their best shot.
Somebody suggested the children might wanna learn to program,
listen to respectfully, maybe.
Somebody suggested that we would want to put our
address books on computers and people laughed,
and said well actually paper and pencil, little books paper was perfect for that
because most people didn't have a data base,
they had a couple of names and addresses so that didn't make a lot of sense.
Some people suggested well a calendar and actually people said well no,
I don't like using the computer for my calendar.
I really find the little Filofax is much better.
You can flip through it's much more practical.
I tell this story because I think it's very important to know,
to remember that really not that long ago,
we were trying to figure out how we would keep computers busy.
And you know, now we know that once we networked with each other.
Once computers were our portal to being with each other,
we really don't have to worry about keeping computers busy.
They keep us busy.
It's kind of as though we are their killer app.
So how does that work?
We're on our email, our games, our virtual worlds.
We text each other at family dinners, while we jog, while we drive,
we take our lives into our hands to do that
even with our kids in the back seat of the car.
We text each other at funerals,
we go to the park and we push swings with one hand
and we scroll through our messages with each other.
Lot of my research is observing families and you know, this is what I see.
The children who I interview say that their parents read them Harry Potter again.
With their right hand reading the book and the left hand scrolling through
the messages on the Blackberry.
Children describe that moment at school pickup.
They'll never tell you that they care but they describe that moment
where they come out of school you know looking for that moment of eye contact
and instead of that moment of eye contact with the parent
who after all had shown up at school pickup
that parent is looking at the iPhone looking at the smartphone and is reading mail.
So from the moment this generation of children met technology,
it was a competition and now they've grown up and today's teenagers,
this generation of children who've grown up with technology being the competition,
they now have their turn to live in a culture of distraction.
And what do they tell me?
They tell me they sleep with their cell phones.
They begin by saying, well I use it as an alarm clock,
and then they come clean and they say well actually
it's not just because I use it as an alarm clock.
They want to sleep with it just in case they get a message or they want to communicate
and then they say even when their phones are put away --
let's say relegated to their school locker --
they know when they have a message or a call,
they feel that, they can tell at long distance that they have a message or a call
they say they can just sense it.
Indeed adults as well as teens report that they feel their phones vibrating.
Even when they are not.
This is a well known phenomenon, it's called the phantom ring.
It's been reported all over.
When you take our phones away from us,
we become anxious, we become impossible, really.
Modern technology has become like a phantom limb, it is so much a part of us.
So what is the arc of the story that I want to tell?
Only fifteen years ago looking at the early internet,
I felt an incredible sense of optimism.
I saw a place for identity experimentation
I called it an identity workshop,
for trying out aspects of self that were hard to experiment with in the physical real
and all of this happens and all of this is still wondrous.
But what I didn't see coming, and I like to tell my students
call me not prescient.
What I didn't see coming and what we have now is that
mobile connectivity, that world of devices always on and always on us,
would mean that we would be able basically to bail out of the physical real at anytime,
to go to all of the other places and spaces that we have available to us
and that we would want to.
One man I interviewed, who plays with his kids in the park
while he talks to his virtual mistress on iPhone, calls it the life mix.
So I guess you could say that what I'm talking about
are the perils of going from multitasking
to multi-lifing, the perils of the life mix.
Technology proposes itself as the architect of our intimacies.
And these days there is no coyness about its aspiration
to substitute life on the screen for the other kind.
Technology is seductive when its affordences meet our human vulnerabilities.
And it turns out we are very vulnerable indeed.
We are lonely but fearful of intimacy.
Connectivity offers for many of us,
the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship.
We can't get enough of each other -- if we can have each other at a distance
in amounts that we can control.
Think of Goldilocks, not too close, not too far, just right.
Connection made to measure, that's the new promise.
The ability to hide from each other even as we are continually connected to each other.
To put it too simply, we would rather text than talk.
Online connections bring so many bounties.
But our lives of continual connection also leave us vulnerable.
Often we are too busy communicating to think.
Too busy communicating to create,
too busy communicating to really connect
with the people we're with in the ways that would really count.
In continual contact, we're alone together.
To paraphrase Thoreau, where do we live and what do we live for
in our new tethered lives
or in other words, what do we have, now that we have what we say we want,
now that we have what technology makes easy?
In corporations, among circles of teenage and adult friends,
within academic departments, people readily admit that they would rather text
or send an email than talk face to face.
Some who say I live my life on my blackberry,
are forthright about avoiding real-time commitment of a phone call.
When you text, one young man says, you have more time to think about what you're writing
on the telephone too much might show.
Here we use technology to dial down human contact and there's that Goldilocks thing.
To titrate it's nature and extent.
People are comforted by being in touch with a lot of people, whom they also keep at bay.
And we confront a paradox.
We insist that our world is increasingly complex
yet we've created a communication's culture
that has decreased the time available for us to sit and think,
uninterrupted we've ramp up the volume and velocity of communication
but we start to expect fast answers.
And in order to get them we ask each other simpler questions,
we start to dumb down our communication,
even on the most important matters.
Shakespeare might have said,
we are consumed with that which we are nourished by.
This flood of connection affects the development of the self in many ways,
here I am just going to mention one of them.
Let's call it, I share therefore I am.
For so many I have studied, things go from I have a feeling, I want to make a call,
to I want to have a feeling, I need to send a text.
In other words the validation of a feeling becomes part of establishing it.
More than this, what is not being cultivated is the ability to be alone.
To gather oneself, there is a great psychological truth.
If we don't teach our children to be alone, they will only know how to be lonely.
For adult and child having gotten into the habit of constant connection,
we risk losing our capacity for the kind of solitude that energizes and that restores.
So let me share some final thoughts.
First about the metaphor of addiction, which we're too apt to use.
And second, about the moment we're at and the promise it offers.
First, addiction.
People are compelled by that little red light on the blackberry
that tells them a message is waiting.
I ask them why,
and they talk about their mobile device as the place for hope in their life.
The place where something new will come to them.
The place where loneliness can be defeated.
They say things like, the phone is where the sweetness is.
We're vulnerable to the constant feelings of connection that technology offers.
We should focus on this vulnerability
because we can work on getting less vulnerable.
However apt, we can ill afford the metaphor of addiction.
Because if you're addicted you have only one solution,
you have to get rid of that substance.
And we know that we are not going to get rid of the internet,
we are not going to get rid of social networking.
We will not go cold turkey or forbid cellphones to our children.
These technologies are our current partners in the human adventure.
The notion of addiction with this one solution that we know we won't take,
makes us feel hopeless and passive.
We sense something amiss and we're at a moment of opportunity.
Every technology provides an opportunity to ask,
does it serve our human purposes?
A question that causes us to reconsider what these purposes are.
Just because we grew up with the internet,
we assume that the internet is all grown up.
We tend to see what we have now as the technology in its maturity.
That the way we live now with the internet
is how we're going to live with it in the future.
And that's not true.
With the internet, it is very early days.
It is time to make the corrections and one hopeful place
is to restart some conversations we allowed to get derailed.
To take as only one example,
we close down conversations and much to our detriment.
By getting into performance mode on the network
in both our personal and our professional lives.
Personally there's been a tendency to use social networking to perform an ideal self.
Many people tell me they don't like to show flaws and vulnerabilities
or share bad news online with friends.
They say things like, it just doesn't seem like the place to talk about problems.
Not even, as one woman put it, the death of my dog.
So certainly not about more serious problems.
So the more time we spend online,
the more we keep a lot of things to ourselves.
Even as we think we're updating our status and updating our status,
and sharing ourselves with the world.
But very often we're sharing what makes us look good.
We're sharing what's easy to share.
Professionally, we also perform in our emails and memos at work.
Business people, lawyers, consultants tell me.
That in their work environments, they don't want to leave an electronic trace,
of asking for help or admitting failures and frustrations.
So we make it harder to fix problems,
we make it harder to be mentored.
So we cut off conversations in our friendships,
and we cut off conversations in our professional life
that would improve our performance on the job.
The path ahead is challenging but clear for both institutions and individuals,
for both love and money,
the next task for all of us is to restart those necessary conversations.
Instead of casual Fridays, we should all be asking for conversational Thursdays.
And that won't be a bad thing at all.
Reclaiming conversation, that's the next frontier.
Thank you.
(Applause)
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【TEDx】當我們孤單在一起 (TEDxUIUC - Sherry Turkle - Alone Together)

21484 分類 收藏
阿多賓 發佈於 2014 年 2 月 17 日
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