Main Motives And Ideas Of A Book “Alone Together”
I would like to start off by saying that I really enjoyed your book Alone Together and that it spoke to me on many levels. I really think that a lot of what you were saying can be boiled down to that fact that “technology is seductive when what it offers meets our human vulnerabilities” (1).In real life humans are vulnerable in so many ways, we can easily get hurt both physically and emotionally, the dreams we may have for ourselves can take decades to achieve and in the mean time it seems as though we are going nowhere, and most importantly of all, we are mortal. When we let ourselves fall in to the alluring hands of technology it is all too easy to let our real lives fall away into an abyss of hopelessness. Virtual life is too easy it gives us “the exhilaration of creativity without its pressures, the excitement of exploration without its risks”(224).When in a game I can accomplish my dreams in a week what would take me years to complete in real life why wouldn’t I take the easy way out? A lot of the time it just seems like “real life takes too many steps and can often disappoint” (224). In games we have multiple lives and if we get seriously hurt our health regenerates in minutes. If we make a mistake we can just start over and try again. There are so many ways that virtual life is in theory better than real life but there is still one factor that makes it more worthwhile to give real life a chance too. Virtual life isn’t real and at the end of the day it can never compete with a true accomplishment.
Another thing that I noticed you talked a lot about in Alone Together is intimacy and robots. More and more children are starting to play with electronics instead of the traditional dolls, board games, and sports equipment. Children play with these new toys and get attached to them to the point of thinking that they are real. It got the point where “children said that a sociable robot’s movement and intelligence were signs of life” (28).This may be why more people are trying to make robots that can be our friends or even in some cases lovers. You claimed that “in February 2010, I googled the exact phrase ‘sex robots’ and came up with 313,000 hits” (25). Out of curiosity I googled the same phrase in November 2015, I was greeted with over 10,600,000 hits. It seems that people are forgetting how to have proper human contact and are resorting to technology to fill the void.
We have gotten to a point where it is unusual to be fully alone, or even want to be. Even romantic vacation photographs find their way on to Facebook seconds after they are taken. Everybody is on dating sites or sites to make new friends but hardly any real connections are ever made. When it comes down to it “we are lonely but fearful of intimacy” (1).A few years ago when many of my friends had moved away and we had all lost touch I was feeling very lonely. I was still very shy back then but I desperately wanted to make new friends and I didn’t know how anymore because I had had the same group of friends for so long. I had heard about this website called meetme.com that was supposed to be used to make friends in your area and it was primarily used by people around my age. I thought that this could be perfect because then I could at least practice talking to other people and maybe even make a few friends. So I set up my profile and waited. I scrolled through some of the people near me but most of them only posted about smoking pot so I decided to wait for someone to contact me. Not very long had passed before I had a few different messages, every single one was either some guy asking for pictures of my boobs, some guy who wanted to meet up to have casual sex, or some guy who started with hi or hello and quickly escalated to something like that. I quickly deleted my account after that and I couldn’t help but be shocked by that kind of behavior. They didn’t even want to get to know me they just wanted to skip to the end and get some sort of laid with or without me there.This is what technology might be turning us into because anything and everything we could want is just a click away.
Even when we try to actually connect with someone through technology it’s just not the same. What often happens is that “we project our feelings and worry that our messages are a burden to others”(168).I have often felt this way when trying to make plans with someone or even just trying to strike up a friendly conversation. I cannot take the high road here though. I have often found myself feeling burdened by friends trying to have conversations with me. It’s almost as though we think to ourselves great they weren’t in my plans for the day and now I need to deal with them. It truly upsets me when I find myself having thoughts like that and I have to tell myself to stop because these are my friends and I love them so I should show it. But a lot of the time the burden is only felt when it is something like texting, email, or Facebook messages because “an email or text seems to have been always on its way to the trash. These days, as a continuous stream of texts becomes a way of life, we may say less to each other because we imagine that what we say is almost already a throwaway” (168).If someone were to call me it would be more appreciated and feel more heartfelt than just a message.With our dependency on technology it’s almost as if “with sociable robots, we imagine objects as people. Online, we invent ways of being with people that turn them into something close to objects” (168).For example when I used to be obsessed with Facebook games like Farmville and Castleville I would always send my friends that also played the games requests for parts or items I needed. I would get so annoyed when they wouldn’t immediately send them because it was hindering my progress in the game. It was almost as if the game and the virtual world I was building was more real and important than the people I needed items from, which were other real people that also played this game.
We must find ways to balance technology with real life and always remember that real life is much more important. We also need to remember that it’s okay to be alone sometimes. “People are lonely. The network is seductive. But if we are always on, we may deny ourselves the rewards of solitude” (3).We shouldn’t stop being innovative but we also need to limit ourselves were need be.
Sincerely Yours, Valeri
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I would like to start off by saying that I really enjoyed your book Alone Together and that it spoke to me on many levels. I really think that a […]