In a talk by Sherry Turkle she outlines the case that technology is connecting us so much that we are losing the ability to be alone and by doing so we are becoming more lonely. Her rhetoric is plagued with nostalgia and while she has some interesting points, she is also missing the point.
The inability to be alone and the need to always feel connected is a part of our evolution. Thanks to technology we are rapidly eliminating the need to be alone. In the past when we were hunting the ability to be alone was very useful but now the ability to be alone has less value because most projects humanity take on now are large, complicated, and require large amounts of cooperation as the mundane and simple are being replaced by automatons. Also the ability to be connected and not alone contributes to longer lives.
In her talk she talks about face to face conversation as energizing experience, however, face to face conversation is only energizing if one is an extrovert. Introverts, psychologically, are actually drained by conversations. Technology gives these people the ability to be connected and communicate without the energy drain or anxiety that is associated with direct conversations.
In addition she makes the bold assertion that robots will never be capable of empathy to which I ask the question if an artificial entity has all the experiences of a life and with those experiences would act exactly the way any other human would act, is that artificial entity’s empathy less valuable? and if yes, why? This idea that we will never be capable of making life (artificial or otherwise) that is not capable of empathy comes back to the belief that humans are perfect and therefore nothing we create could ever be as good as ourselves.
We are involuntarily moving towards Elolight and as we do more people like Sherry Turkle will emerge. People grasping on to our previous states believing we have already obtained some level of perfection. That the emotions or experiences we have are pristine and that there should not be a fundamental psychology shift in humanity. Elolight not only demands a psychology shift, it will happen despite our greatest efforts to stop it.