The Big Disconnect

The Big Disconnect

The Story of Technology and Loneliness

Book - 2012
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Smart phones and social media sites may be contemporary fixations, but using technology to replace face-to-face interactions is not a new cultural phenomenon. Throughout our history, intimacy with machines has often supplanted mutual human connection.

This book reveals how consumer technologies changed from analgesic devices that soothed the loneliness of a newly urban generation to prosthetic interfaces that act as substitutes for companionship in modern America. The history of this transformation helps explain why we use technology to mediate our connections with other human beings instead of seeking out face-to-face contact.

Do electronic interfaces receive most of our attention to the detriment of real interpersonal communication? Why do sixty million Americans report that isolation and loneliness are major sources of unhappiness? The author provides many insights into our increasingly artificial relationships and a vision for how we can rediscover genuine community and human empathy.
Publisher: Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, c2012
ISBN: 9781616145958
Branch Call Number: ANF 303.483 SLA
Characteristics: 306 p. ; 23 cm

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nPod
Mar 04, 2013

I wanted to find this more interesting than I did. I was expecting more focus on the modern gadget obsessed culture, but the book is 95% survey of historical technologies, and the connections between those are only loosely made at best.

The writing style is quirky and somewhat disorganized. It kind of reads like a first draft to me.

That said, this is an important topic area, and the author offers some meaningful contributions.

d
Drayjayeff
Feb 19, 2013

For some reason, I found the details of this book difficult to retain and recall. (It may be Slade's writing style.) That said, the work melds the history of so-called "personal technologies" with the sociology of urbanization. Food for thought here on the ways we use devices to prevent interaction and the consequences of that disengagement.

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