The Assault on Empathy: The Promise of a Friction-Free Life

5 Feb 2019
4:10 pm - 5:30 pm

International House, Chevron Auditorium

Event Type
Charles M. and Martha Hitchcock Lectures

Sherry Turkle
Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology

This event, sponsored by the Berkeley Graduate Division, will discuss the repercussions of digital devices. It is part of a linked lecture series that will continue on February 6th. Attached to our digital devices, so many of us would rather text than talk, to the point that Turkle has argued a “flight from conversation.” Its appeal: a life that seems friction-free, without the stress of face-to-face conversation and negotiation. It’s a way of life that comes with a view of the good life that has significant psychological, social, and political dimensions.

With the possibility of communicating from behind the safety of our screens we can avoid each other or split our attention when we are with each other, even in intimate family settings or the settings of psychotherapy. These days, we move even further from each other with a new kind of AI: not artificial intelligence but artificial intimacy, machines that seem to care, from sociable robots to online programs that present themselves as “empathy machines.” Here, in two linked lectures, Turkle argues that people, embodied people, are the only “empathy app.” See more here.

In connection with Professor Sherry Turkle’s visit to Berkeley next week, graduate and undergraduate students are invited to sign up for office hours. Office hours with Professor Turkle are scheduled for Monday, February 4, 4-5 pm, in 368 Sutardja Dai Hall, and Wednesday, February 6, 1:30-3 pm, in 630 Sutardja Dai Hall. If demand is high, additional hours may be added on Tuesday, February 5.

Students should sign up on this Google form by Friday, February 1, 12 pm. Individual appointment slots will be scheduled here.

This event is sponsored by: Berkeley Graduate Division

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