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Technology doesn't create loneliness, it reveals it. Once revealed, technology can help alleviate isolation and spur connection.

Dr. Turkle urges reflection and analysis and the idea that technology is its infancy. These are two important ideas and I urge others to consider this perspective: that technology fosters connections and developmental growth among the most socially awkward and vulnerable.

A healthy relationship of any sort (e.g., romantic, friendship, family) requires reciprocity. But when these sorts of relationships are out of balance, technology can fill a void. I posit that while technology can lead to isolation, isolation can also lead to connection when a lonely individual reaches out to others or becomes involved in the community via technology.

I'm curious if others view the connection between technology and isolation as one-way or bidirectional or if some other perspective entirely is needed to describe the complex technology-human connection.


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    Apr 3 2012: I don't agree that technology reveals loneliness in all cases. First let me say that I enjoy solo hikes where I can meditate as I walk and listen to nature while I reflect on my place in the Universe. For those of us that are educated in the Art of High Technology, (I have a BS in Computer Science) technology extends our range of connections. I now communicate with more people than I was able to in the 80's. I have TXT chats with friends that I rarely have time to be with. But we like keeping up with each others lives and families. My iPhone photo album is quite extensive.

    I must admit that my children no longer pick up the phone when I call. They send me a TXT asking me what I wanted -AND- I get irritated "I just wanted to talk, to hear you via your voice." They send back "can't talk now - maybe tomorrow". And of course they don't.

    Not all us use the phone in meetings for TXTng. I often have thoughts that I need to note. I've given up using paper and pen, I now make notes in my iPhone. I can find my iPhone notes more easily (its with me all the time, and yes I sleep with mine as well) than I can find my notes on paper.

    Now I do know that virtual realities like Second Life provide a level playing field for the culturally shy, disabled, and/or the nerd that has problems socializing. I can see where this connection can reveal a loneliness, especially males that take on the persona of a female. Those guys are either extremely lonely or predators.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that the human-computer interface is in deed a complex connection that allows us to expand our range of connections. AND it allows us to control the fidelity of connection. I think in time the fidelity of the interface will increase and thus allow us even more access to perhaps other species like dolphins and whales. To allow us more meaningful access to data such as manned space missions.


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