Alone Together Book Summary - Alone Together Book explained in key points
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Alone Together summary

Sherry Turkle

Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other

3.6 (54 ratings)
22 mins

Brief summary

Alone Together by Sherry Turkle explores how technology is shaping our relationships and our understanding of ourselves. She argues that while we may feel more connected than ever, we are actually becoming more isolated and disconnected from real human interaction.

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    Alone Together
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    Key idea 1 of 11

    You won’t have to take care of your elderly parents in the future; robots will do this for you.

    Have you ever wondered who'll take care of your parents as they get older? You? Your siblings? Someone else?

    Well, many people believe that robots will eventually become our caretakers. In some places like Japan, they may even be a necessity.

    Some 25 years ago, Japanese demographers concluded that Japan wouldn’t have enough young people to take care of the elderly in the future. So they began developing a robot called Wandakun that would be able to help.

    Wandakun is a fuzzy koala that purrs, sings and speaks a few phrases when it's touched. It can serve as a companion to the elderly. Speaking about Wandakun, one 74-year-old man said, “I fell in love after years of being quite lonely...I swore to protect and care for the little animal.”

    For many people, robots have changed the very notion of “care.” We used to think “care” meant caring about someone, but now it often means taking care of someone – something a robot may be able to do.

    In 2005, the International Symposium for Contemplative Studies discussed the potential uses of caregiving robots. Speaking of a machine that cuts people's toenails, one attendee said, “That is a caring computer. Or [one that] talks with you if you are lonely. Same thing.”

    Some people don't think there's an important difference between a real person and a robot performing caregiving tasks. They're both taking care, which is enough.

    Miriam, a 72-year-old who lives in a nursing home, is quite fond of her seal-like robot Paro, with whom she talks and shares secrets. In the end, Paro doesn't and can't truly care about her, but the nursing staff and scientists who created Paro don't think this is a problem.

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    What is Alone Together about?

    Technology has changed our lives tremendously – in some ways for the better and in some ways for the worse. Alone Together explains how even though a great deal of new technology, like smartphones and social media, is supposed to bring us together, it actually makes us lonelier in the end.

    Alone Together Review

    Alone Together (2011) explores the impact of technology on our relationships and the way we connect with others. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Through compelling stories and thought-provoking research, it sheds light on the consequences of our increasingly digital lives.
    • By examining the emotional and psychological effects of technology, it helps us reflect on our own behaviors and rethink our relationship with our devices.
    • With its honest exploration of the benefits and drawbacks of digital connection, it invites readers to critically examine the role technology plays in their lives.

    Best quote from Alone Together

    We ask technology to perform what used to be loves labor: Taking care of each other.

    —Sherry Turkle
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    Who should read Alone Together?

    • Anyone interested in technology
    • Anyone interested in society and psychology
    • Anyone interested in how technological changes are affecting us

    About the Author

    Sherry Turkle is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She's written several books on human-technology interaction, and she's also the founder and director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self.

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    Alone Together FAQs 

    What is the main message of Alone Together?

    The main message of Alone Together is the impact of technology on human relationships and the need for balance.

    How long does it take to read Alone Together?

    The reading time for Alone Together varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Alone Together a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Alone Together is a thought-provoking and insightful book that offers valuable perspectives on the influence of technology in our lives.

    Who is the author of Alone Together?

    Sherry Turkle is the author of Alone Together.

    What to read after Alone Together?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Alone Together, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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