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Home » Sherry Turkle on Alone Together at TEDxUIUC (Full Transcript)

Sherry Turkle on Alone Together at TEDxUIUC (Full Transcript)

Sherry Turkle

Cultural analyst Sherry Turkle presents on Alone Together at TEDxUIUC. Following is the full transcript of the TEDx Talk.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here: Sherry Turkle on Alone Together at TEDxUIUC


Good afternoon. When I first got to MIT in 1978, Michael Dertouzos, who was the head of the laboratory for computer science held a meeting. There was a several day retreat in Endicott House Conference Center, in which he assembled the greatest minds in computer science really at the time to figure out the question of what people might want to do with what was then called home computers. The word personal computers really hadn’t come into the lexicon yet.

Now these were the first computers that you didn’t have to build. These were the first computers that you could actually buy. And these great computer scientists got together and I was invited to the meeting because I had begun my studies of computers and people. They got together and they kind of gave it their best shot. Somebody suggested the children might want to learn to program, listen to respectfully, maybe. Somebody suggested that we would want to put our address books on computers and people laughed, and said well actually paper and pencil, little books, paper was perfect for that because most people didn’t have a database, they had a couple of names and addresses so that didn’t make a lot of sense.

Some people suggested well a calendar and actually people said well no, I don’t like using the computer for my calendar. I really find the little Filofax is much better. You can flip through which is much more practical. I tell this story because I think it’s very important to know, to remember that really not that long ago, we were trying to figure out how we would keep computers busy. And you know, now we know that once we networked with each other. Once computers were our portal to being with each other, we really don’t have to worry about keeping computers busy. They keep us busy. It’s kind of as though we are their killer app.

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