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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 5 2012: I've always believed that to achieve balance requires taking/using all things in moderation. Just like people develop a psychological addiction to certain drugs, the wonders of new technologies can also cause some individuals to develop a similar psychological addiction to their use.
    As an historian I also have to take a issue with the concept that the 'threats' posed by new technologies are some revolutionary concept unique to our society. It doesn't take much work to see that every new technology, from movable type thru to radio, television and the internet has had detractors who thought that it would lead to the disintegration of society. From a certain perspective they were correct, but only because a developing society continually evolves and changes through time. For human cultures, to stagnate is to perish.
    Personally I have no doubt that technology will continue to integrate into our lives and even our bodies over the next century. Technology can easily create the opportunity for isolation by providing distractions from the 'real' world whilst at the same time allowing far greater opportunities for communication than have ever been available in the past. To my mind the two positions are not binary opposites, more two 'sides' whose existence is facilitated by the invention of the coin.

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