Expert Says Mobile Phones Offer “Seductive Fantasy”

With the proliferation of mobile devices that can connect us to any Internet or cellular resource in the world, we may be seeing a degeneration of our ability to manage real, actual relationships. Like, with people and stuff.

Sherry Turkle, a teacher at MIT who has studied human-computer relationships for 30 years, talked to CNN about the damage that can be done by the ease and availability of communication devices. She suggests they offer “seductive fantasy” that distracts us from interacting with people in the real world. She’s also spoken at TED conferences on the matter, and espouses a skeptical view of our ability to have the sort of human interaction we had in the pre-mobile days.

What I didn’t predict is that we would have these devices always on,and always on us in a way where our attention would always be divided, and we would always be tempted to essentially bail out of the human relationships that we were in to go into our devices, to go into the world that are in our phones.

Here’s the video in full.

As a footnote, I found one of the most memorable and profound comments on the way mobile devices can distract us from events happening right under our noses in this 2009 cover of The New Yorker.


Corey has been been a tech journalist with a focus on Apple since 1998 and has written for The Loop, MacHome magazine, and as games contributor for The Mac Bible, and co-hosts the iGame Radio Podcast. He works as a… Full Bio