Fear of Screens

Nathan Jurgenson, The New Inquiry, Jan 27, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Nathan Jurgenson responds to Sherry Turkle's recent book, Reclaiming Conversation, with the question, "Why would anyone want to believe that people who are communicating with phones have forgotten what friendship is?" I think it's a good question, because the depiction of an online life as empty and soulless is not an accurate reflection of the reality. Jurgenson suggests, "Turkle’s claims may feel commonsensical in part because they are self-flattering: They let us suspect that we are the last humans standing in a world of dehumanized phone-toting drones... Turkle makes the unqualified and unsupported assumption that real conversation, connection, and personhood must happen without the screen." In essence, I would say, Turkle is inferring from an 'is to an 'ought', where her critique of digital media is based on some 'natural' way of having relationships.

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