10/19 “Connected but alone?” – Talia Feinberg

In this TED talk, the concept of the illusion of friendship through technology is discussed. At the beginning of the talk, the presenter tells a story about how her daughter texted her to wish her good luck and that it felt like a hug. However, upon further thinking, the presenter realized that this “sip” of technological communication is merely giving her the false illusion of a hug, and that these “sips” of communication never actually add up to a “gulp” of real human interaction. She even mentioned that 15 years ago, she presented a TED talk celebrating the successes of technology while it was still new, but now, 15 years later, things feel quite different. 15 years ago, she remembers that she could use technology to better her life, and at the end of the day, unplug from it. Now, on the other hand, we are losing the ability to unplug, and with that, comes the uncomfort of being alone. However, while it feels like we are never alone anymore (which could be considered a good thing), we are actually more lonely than ever. This is because we are experiencing an illusion of companionship in replacement of real interaction. 

The concepts and ideas the presenter discussed were clear and gave me a new perspective on this illusion of companionship. While technology allows us to be “connected” and stay in contact with people who are perhaps far away, it is a false illusion and is making people more “lazy” in the sense that they no longer want to make an effort to see people in real life. This will only get stronger as technology continues to progress, so it is important to recognize this idea earlier rather than later. 

4 thoughts on “10/19 “Connected but alone?” – Talia Feinberg

  1. Your last point about recognizing the disconnect between physical comfort and virtual, I think, is a good one. As I mentioned in my blog post, I think companies are doing their best to make sure this disconnect isn’t realized, Facebook especially. The reason I think this is because Facebook seems to be doing all they can to prevent us from having physical relationships, rather, they want us to have all of our relationships on their platforms, like Messenger and Oculus.

  2. It seems like this TED talk posed a lot of interesting and relatable concepts. One thing that I have noticed about online communication is that the disconnect varies between platforms. For example, I felt more connected to my peers when we did Zoom or FaceTime chats, and less connected when communicating over social media platforms or text.

  3. Your post was really interesting and well-explained. The distinction between “sips” and “gulps” was a good visualization used to explain the varying levels of fulfillment that comes from communicating online vs. communicating in-person, respectively. I also thought it was really interesting that the TED Talk presenter had given another presentation previously that celebrated the successes and possibilities of technology. That really emphasizes how the evolution and implications of technology is interesting to observe over time. This left me wondering what the implications of today’s innovations will be in a decade.

  4. I did not listen to this TED Talk, but after reading your discussion post I’m wondering whether technology is lowering our standards of what real friendships and relationships are like. We are satisfied with a brief text that may replicate, for example, a hug. However, it’s really much less than that. Technology may be preventing us from that real world connection with others by disguising itself as companionship, like you said. Are we becoming satisfied with less and less when it comes to our connections with others? This was really interesting to read about.

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