Team 1 Keywords

For reference, Question Forum 1.

Digital native (pg. xii): a person who was born during or after the general introduction of digital technology and through interaction with said technology, has a greater understanding of its concepts (reference Wikipedia)

This word incorporates our generation, and thus, it is an important word/expression to understand, especially in our classroom. During our adolescence we all experienced a technological boom with introductions of new games, software, devices, etc. We have grown up with the growth of technology and have benefitted, yet also been spoiled by its convenience and access. Because we have been immersed in digital technology all of us have not only a general knowledge of how it works and how to use it, but most of us have an exceptional proficiency/expertise in certain programs. As digital natives that came into existence right as digital technology took off, we have a special perspective on the growth of technology, knowing life with and without the modern commodity that it is.

One characteristic of our generation of digital natives is that most of our parents are not skilled in the field, resulting in our eagerness to teach ourselves and rely on one another to understand the technology. We have a unique situation as we border the generation before and after us, which are stark contrasts to the implementation of technology in people’s lives. Our generation has been characterized by the overwhelming presence of technology as well as the deficiency of such a powerful all-encompassing digital tool.
(Astleigh Hobbs)

Chauvinism (pg. 7): exaggerated, bellicose patriotism and a belief in national superiority and glory; biased devotion to any group, attitude, or cause (reference Wikipedia and dictionary

In the book the author is accused of species chauvinism when it comes to the so-called rights of robots. As she is talking to a reporter on said rights, he accuses her of this biased devotion to the human species. Her ideas on cultural expectations of technology drastically differed from those of reporter and Levy. It is important to consider the meaning of the phrase, “social chauvinism” because it directly relates to the potential growth of technology and its consequences on the human population. If robots, such as the ones Levy proposes, were to come into existence, would a bias toward the mechanical creature, and I use the word creature lightly, hinder or help its popularity? Would such a robot overtake the need for human companionship and lessen the emotional stability of those that choose to interact with a machine over living, breathing humans?

Understanding what chauvinism means is important so that you can make a cultured decision on your own biases toward digital technology and its advances. The prejudice belief that is chauvinism is a perspective taken on by technology users, producers, and consumers. As a consumer yourself, you are bound to have a bias on some aspect of digital technology.
(Astleigh Hobbs)

Social Robots: “We are on the verge of seeking the company and consul of sociable robots” (19). The term was used throughout the first three chapters of Alone Together.

Wikipedia defines social robot as an autonomous robot that interacts and communicates with humans or other autonomous physical agents by following social behaviors and rules attached to its role. This definition also suggests that a social robot must have a physical embodiment. For a sociable robot to act autonomously it must be able to act independently without any direction or help. Sociable robots like Paro or Furby can act independently in many ways. They feel upset when their owner is upset, like the depressed senior citizen, Miriam with her Paro (8). The author of Alone Together, Sherry Turkle, connects these robots to human emotions. She says “The idea of sociable robots suggests that we might navigate intimacy by skirting it” (10). But so far this intimacy only relates to the sociable robot pets such as Paro and Furbies. Our generation experienced the beginning of these sociable robots. We were introduced with Tamagachi, Furbies, and robotic babies. Each of the said examples stimulates our emotions from our desire to feed them and watch them grow, to a feeling of loss when their batteries die. The Twitter account @90girlsproblems explains these feelings “Is my mom feeding my Tamagotchi? #ThoughtsDuringSchool.” Social Robots are just harmless toys at the moment.
(Kyleigh Palmiotto)

Artificial Intelligence: From “Artificial Intelligence is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs. It is related to the similar task of using computers to understand human intelligence, but A.I. does not have to confine itself to methods that are biologically observable” (
Turkle seems to mock Artificial Intelligence by bringing up “Levy, an international chess master, famously wagered four artificial intelligence experts that no computer program would defeat him at the game in the subsequent decade” (5). She also doubts Artificial Intelligence by saying “I am troubled by the idea of seeking intimacy with a machine that has no feelings, can have no feelings…” But under Artificial Intelligence there are many areas that build it. There is the area that focuses on its problems or the area that studies its perceptions. In the future Turkle’s statement could be proven wrong. Studying Artificial Intelligence will lead us into a future where robots are controlled without humans.

Right now humans are at the point where we can still defeat a computer. We do have sociable robots now that may be hurt or get sick like Furbies do (40), but we are still able to take the batteries out of the Furby. Sociable Robots are the first step of intertwining Artificial Intelligence with humans. Studying the human interactions with Paro or Furbies will help develop more advanced sociable robots. Even though Furby is just an Artificial Intelligence experiment, the children still fret when it sneezes (42). Artificial Intelligence is the key to developing interaction between humans and robots.
(Kyleigh Palmiotto)

Intimacy: Merriam Webster defines intimacy as “something of a personal or private nature” and gives the examples “the intimacy of old friends” and “the intimacy of their relationship.” The term ‘intimacy’ appears often in Turkle’s work, as it is a concept that she frequently visits in asking how technology is shaping the way we perceive and experience relationships with technological artifacts and other people. The introduction even begins with the sentence, “Technology proposes itself as the architect of our intimacies” (1). Turkle examines this concept in the context of robotic toys and social networks and of children and adults.

Turkle maintains that people often initially view technology as “better than nothing” but that this feeling quickly changes to “better than anything,” and that this change allows our relationships with technological artifacts to become substitutes for intimate human relationships. This substitution occurs with children as they begin to view their ‘relationship’ with their Furby as better than their relationship with their friends because it offers them “attachment without responsibility” (60) and more control. This parlays into adulthood as we substitute face-to-face conversations or interactions with texting, emailing, and social networking. Turkle is vocal about her concern that intimacy is a dying concept and the negative ways in which this affects human relationships and the human psyche.
(Jessie Abell)