Alone Together

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A groundbreaking e book by one of the vital vital thinkers of our time exhibits how expertise is warping our social lives and our inside ones

Expertise has turn into the architect of our intimacies. On-line, we fall prey to the phantasm of companionship, gathering hundreds of Twitter and Fb pals, and complicated tweets and wall posts with genuine communication. However this relentless connection results in a deep solitude. MIT professor Sherry Turkle argues that as expertise ramps up, our emotional lives ramp down. Based mostly on tons of of interviews and with a brand new introduction taking us to the current day, Alone Collectively describes altering, unsettling relationships between pals, lovers, and households.

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  1. M. JEFFREY MCMAHON

    This is really two books, the first half on robots and second half, the better half, on the effects of social media. Through a slippery slope, the author shows that bit by bit we are allowing technology to change who we are fundamentally as human beings, preferring our solipsistic, narcissistic, back and forth toggle to Facebook and back world, over real human intimacy.Technology allows us to be the center of attention, to control our “friends,” and to multi-task in ways that we no longer give full attention to others. Nor do we engage in real friendships. One telling example is a grand-daughter Skyeping her grandmother every day but her grandmother doesn’t see that her grand-daughter is texting someone below the Skype screen. Another example is hordes of people at bus and train stations and coffee shops, all huddled together, but “alone” as their heads are down on their smartphones.Smartphone addiction has created a new type of human, narcissistic, control-obsessed, and unable to be truly alone or truly intimate. A scary, smart, readable book.

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  2. Charles Shotwell

    This book should be required reading everywhere….it’s insightful in todays wired society. It explains a lot of the detached personalities of our young people.

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  3. Espi

    Best book I’ve read this year. Really glad a friend recommended it to me. Great insight into our always changing relationship with technology.

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  4. Johanna O

    This startling examination of how the apparent ease of communication is leaving us more separated than ever. Odd facts like apartment sharers texting each other rather than knocking on a bedroom door and chatting are just a tiny part of the story.

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  5. Dale C. Sims

    This book is fascinating. I’m reading it slowly to digest it. It’s hard to believe that things have come to this. I’m so glad I’m a Christian. A must read for both the haves and the have nots.

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  6. Kelly Cooper

    Sherry Turkle mixes together personal anecdotes, professional research, and philosophical rumination to address the link between technology and human relationships. In the first half of the book, Turkle draws on her work with three successive generations of children to examine the consequences of increased robotic integration on both childhood development and eldercare. The second half of the book tackles how cellular and online social networks are shaping our individual and collective psychology.Turkle is an adamant skeptic in a time of almost overwhelming technical triumphalism. However, far from being a Luddite or a scold, she takes great pains to carefully tease out the ways in which an unquestioned devotion to the tools of robotics and/or the Internet lessens our ability and willingness to have authentic relationships. What makes this book outstanding isn’t the simple acknowledgement that technology has unintended drawbacks, rather, it’s the depth of knowledge that she brings to the subject. Turkle doesn’t waste the readers’ time. She has done the heavy lifting and presents only the questions that are worth asking. It’s a refreshing pleasure to read and provides plenty of food for thought.

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  7. Kathleen Lisson

    This book changed my paradigm about the effect of smartphones and social media on my life. An important read if one does not understand how texting is affecting the younger generation.

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  8. Facundo Ramos

    Product arrived in great conditions.

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  9. Daniel L.

    Very inciteful read on robotics and social media use.

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  10. MLT

    This is a book I would definitely put on your “to read” list for 2015.Sherry Turkle is giving us a “wake up” call and balanced discussion regarding our technological culture.If “chance favours the prepared mind” I encourage you to read this book. If we are to plan for the future and be willing to reflect on possible personal/cultural consequences (especially in light of current neuroscience and brain plasticity) this book contributes to seeing the whole picture.

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  11. James

    This is an excellent book, both thoroughly researched and thought provoking on every level. I highly recommend it to anyone.

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  12. Mike Brannigan

    ATTENTION ALL PARENTS, SENIORS, TEACHERS, CIVIC-RELIGIOUS-HEALTH LEADERS, STUDENTS, and all other guardians of learning! THIS IS A MUST READ. Another excellent book from Professor Sherry Turkle! One with vision. I remain an ardent fan of her work. She has consistently informed, enlightened, and inspired through her clear writing style and depth.Sherry Turkle’s new book is timely, provocative, research-solid, and elegantly written from mind and heart. It should be required reading for all interested in the never-ending confluence of technologies and human nature. Its humanistic undercurrent sensibly counters the far-reaching consequences of our technological imperative, and in so doing raises profound questions of identity, epistemology, and ethics.What makes her book particularly rich is its documentation of many voices – from young children to young adults, adults to elderly – who find solace in the company of “sociable robots” to compensate for missing human interaction. Her message is resounding: Let’s return to Real Life – natural, animal, and human – that is all around us. For our present and future, the stakes are indeed high.Now, more than ever, we need to challenge the disturbing authority of the hyperreal (that dimension we tend to uncritically embrace when simulation assumes more “reality” than the real). This memorable book is a prominent and worthy voice in raising the crucial questions. Without hesitation, I recommend this book to ALL, ESPECIALLY PARENTS.

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  13. Sterling Allen

    A fascinating, informative, and frightening examination of our loss of honest and deep interpersonal relationships as they are subverted by and replaced with modern technology. This is a well-researched study, not pop-psychology.

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  14. Dr Barry

    A well-written and well-documented critique that illuminates the “dark side” of the technological revolution. The interviews are revealing and interesting.

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  15. Claire G.

    Great topic, started out slow but now it’s picking up.

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  16. AeIoU

    In “Alone Together,” Sherry Turkle envisions a world that doesn’t function without technology but one in which humanity has precedence. With the utmost nuance, she articulates how society has not only placed technology before authentic human relationships, but is in fact replacing them. Her book comes at a time when the cultural standard is one in which we would, to put it most simply, text rather than talk. And for her, our seemingly unharmful means of communication today is leading to what she calls the robotic moment–the time when people choose robots to feel connected rather than our fellow human beings. This is only scratching the surface of Turkle’s important message.Turkle seems to suggest that it is up to parents to foster the value of real interpersonal connection in their children. Yet, as Turkle aptly states, in what I find to be one of the most important sentences in the book: “And as we, ourselves enchanted, turned away from them to lose ourselves in our e-mail, we did not sufficiently teach the importance of empathy and attention to what is real.” This is why the book concludes on the moment when Turkle encourages her daughter to write a letter to her when she was abroad rather than communicate through Skype. Through this example, Turkle reminds parents that in order for their children to live more meaningful lives they have a responsibility to teach them that there are other ways of interacting with one another other than through e-mail/texting/Facebook/Twitter.Turkle writes, “So, of every technology we must ask, Does it serve our human purposes–a question that causes us to reconsider what these purposes are.” In another sense, her book asks us, Are we fulfilling our human purpose?

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  17. Alex Goodsell

    One of the most informative and persuasive books I have read.

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  18. n.beth

    Fascinating read about the effect of all this time we spend online. Should be required reading freshmen year in high school or college.

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  19. Anon

    I really enjoyed Alone Together. I’m not a university professor or a technophile — just an average person with a Blackberry and a Facebook account, and children who played with Furbies when they were all the rage. I found this book to be very thought provoking about how the technology around us affects our relationships, and challenges what it means to be a sentient human being. We used to think that computers could be intelligent but not show emotion, until toys came along that said “I love you” or “I’m scared.” Sherry Turkle’s discussions of robots and children brought back memories of my daughter’s distress when her brothers decided to “kill” a Furby to make it be quiet!Alone Together also does a great analysis of how our communication has changed – why my children will text me but almost never call; why Facebook feels so real, and what all this technology does to how we communicate the really important intimate messages of life. It is all written beautifully, with a personal touch that makes it accessible.

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  20. Spenser

    Turkle aptly shows that while technology is pitched as a means to stay interconnected, it mostly serves our tendency to avoid risking rejection and therefore avoiding any chance of intimacy. Because of our new ways of communicating, we overt traditional, personal methods of communication (meeting in person, talking on the phone) in favor of brief, albeit well thought-out methods (email, text messaging, facebook). We use these methods to avoid the emotional dangers of having to hear a person’s voice or look them in the eye, but also miss out on the element of human life that make it worth living; deep connection and emotional intimacy.

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  21. paul king

    This book is outstanding and explains the addictive behavior we see everyday. I recently saw a woman pushing a baby stroller across the street against the light, with her eyes glued to her phone. Turkle explains this fixated behavior with interviews and the disciplined mental assessment of a psychiatrist !

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  22. GIUNCHI LAN

    perfect and delivery on time on schedule.

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  23. Alicia Crumpton

    I tend to read anything by Sherry Turkle – her thoughts often leave me with more questions than answers, an aspect of reading and learning that I adore! True confessions, I tend to see technological advances as ‘progress.’ Does it seem to you that we readily (eagerly?) adopt technology into our lives with little consideration for the personal, emotional, relational, and ethical impact? Turkle calls us to slow down, reflect, and consider the impacts of technology particularly our emotional, relational, communicative, and connective lives. What is gained? What is lost? What might be the impacts be? Are the naysayers chicken little, the sky is falling or are there truly some negative aspects of technology adoption that warrant further consideration? Topics explored include: intimacy, solitude, communion, companionship, anxiety, betrayal, connectedness, disconnectedness, multitasking, separation, identity, and personal development.My favorite chapters: Ch9, Growing Up Tethered discussed young people, their personal development, and the impact of living “in a state of waiting for connection” (p. 171). I laughed out loud at Ch10’s No Need to Call describing how annoying(laugh) a telephone call can be given its immediacy and immediate demand for our attention.Read this book also: Baym, N. K. (2010). Personal connections in the digital age. Cambridge, UK; Malden, MA: Polity.

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  24. sarahk

    Must read for all those in the mental health field given how many changes and shifts we are experiencing as related to technology and its impact on our lives and the lives of our clients.

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  25. Eddie gilley

    This book will make you take a hard look at the connected life most of us live. Has our technology helped us be more effective at tasks and less so at relationships? It is an interesting read from someone at the heart of the most cutting edge technology in our country with a surprising outcome. As someone who works with college students I found it to be enlightening about them and more so about myself.

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  26. Breana

    I had to order this book for College Writing One. I love it. It has a great story line and very truthful.

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  27. Traveller

    MIT’s Dr. Sherry Turkle’s ALONE TOGETHER (Basic Books, 2010) is must reading for anyone who has a cell phone; and a must MUST if you also have a child.This talented MIT professor again provides superbly stimulating food for thought about the social / psychological dimensions of where our chaotic technology consumption may be taking us. My own clinical research and preparing my book (

    Kids, Parents & Technology: A Guide for Young Families

    , MyDigitalFamily.org) led me to discover Dr. Turkle, and I found her to be one of the most important and sensible scholars in the human / technology space. I found the book excellent, at times dense, and always a page turner.We all should now be concerned about being in a ‘robot moment.’ Cybercrime, sexting, gaming, cyberbullying, multitasking, endless power struggles with our teens, and other sensational happenings that are capturing our attention are but tips of an iceberg.Uncannily, even super-rational MIT scholars, despite their traditional impatience with how others anthropomorphize and project feelings onto their machines, now themselves develop feelings about robots, as if they were in a relationship with a living creature. This is BIG: Just because we have been anticipating them for centuries (at least since the 270 A.D. Golem), let us not be too casual now that they are actually here.Down closer to earth, in our everyday lives, we too have become insidiously tethered and ‘addicted’. Dr. Turkle suggests that, like the youngsters and oldsters she has studied, we are all vulnerable to becoming attached to robots, in our present case to the many disembodied robots that run our interactive devices. Dr. Turkle also reminds us that ever-more fully embodied robots, are already on their way.We are now discovering that, given free rein, even as we intend them to improve our connections with one another, and to many extents they do, using these tools often actually fragments communication and can be harmful to us. It is also often easier to anonymously mistreat each other and ourselves. Our beloved devices filter too much out, and their use is dumbing down our kids and weakening our family lives. In addition, we now seem so attached to the devices themselves that we are scaring ourselves by just how out of control we can be.We are still attached to people, but are increasingly interacting via the mediation of disembodied robots. Sadly, we end up treating each other shabbily as these devices also lead us to willingly chop up and squeeze the richness of our nuanced and felt human connections with each other into small, thin, narrow-bandwidth data trickles. Then we feel desperately compelled to keep this thin channel open. No, wonder — it’s hard to feel a good hug through a straw.So what now?Dr. Turkle’s are necessary brilliant first steps, but the progress of science is careful when it comes to creating certainty. Adopting major new technologies (bronze tools, printing press, cotton gin, automobile, TV, atomic fusion, etc.) does inevitably change each new user, families, society, and the very course of history. Maybe what is new today is that the rapidity of change is itself so stressful. Now we even have a front row seat in real time. So maybe we can now hope to influence the course of this IT revolution directly, when it is still young.People have always been social creatures who have needed each other. Humans have always been plugged in — connected to one another through our senses and minds and bodies — with what resemble broadband ‘social synapses’, hard-wired into us from birth. Making possible our survival as a species, these deep channels carry a wealth of highly choreographed uniquely human information among us.Children always have and always will need good family relationships, values, education, and parents’ full love and presence to develop into human creatures with healthy brains and minds. Children are programmed to form broad-band social synapses, primarily with parents, that feed them the rich data that organizes and shapes their brains and fullest humanness. We do not know how their development is ultimately affected by increasing interactions with robots or through narrow-bandwidth devices.IMHO, it is HOW we use technology that counts. So let’s start building on Dr. Turkle’s and other scientists’ findings and manage our technology consumption more thoughtfully, especially when it comes to children. The time has come for us to stop merely reacting with fear and mistrust of technology. We need comprehensive, sensible, practical approaches based on a sound vision of where to go from here. Such a framework needs to be credible, practical, pro-social, developmentally-oriented and family-centered. Let us take charge and make sure we, not the media or the devices, give ultimate form to our social synapses, especially when it comes to our kids.Parents: change your mindset. Sometimes parents need to paddle the family canoe against the stream of popular culture, which, after all, often seeks the lowest common denominator. After over a decade of Wild-West digital social experimentation and youth media consumption chaos, it is now time for parents to become empowered and educated and use new tools to manage the digital lives of children.I suggest beginning in early life to make the correct use of technology part of family life, not the other way around, if you want your babies to use it correctly when they become teens. Treat devices as appliances, like blenders. Harvest the best interactive digital resources and present them to kids as their personalized balanced Media Plan containing age-appropriate Growth Opportunities for Family Relationships, Values Education, Education Enrichment, Socialization, and Entertainment and your full presence. Plan media consumption as you do meals and hygiene.Decide that no interactive digital device, whether embodied or disembodied, belongs in the home where you are raising budding humans unless it enhances family life and child development. Carve out tech-free times and places: keep the robots out of reach and turned off regularly in your home, borrowing from the traditional practice of reserving the Sabbath for restorative spirituality and reflection and affirmation of our anchors in faith, values, family, and community.And please, please, do not rush yet to put embodied robots into kids’ cribs or playpens.- Dr. Eitan Schwarz has been privileged to know families and kids intimately through long portions of their lifecycle journeys, including all the peak experiences and deep valleys, during his nearly 40 years of child and adult psychiatry practice. In

    Kids, Parents & Technology: A Guide for Young Families

    and […], Dr. S empowers, educates, and gives the right tools to parents wanting to raise kids with healthy minds and brains in today’s digital world.

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  28. Diana Senechal

    That was one of my thoughts as I read Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together: no matter what robots learn to do, they will never learn to write a book as thoughtful, informative, and intense as Alone Together. They would not know how to pose the questions, let alone use such discernment in addressing them.It is interesting that Turkle chose to discuss robots in the first part of the book and the Internet in the second part. By presenting the “strange” part first, she gives us a sense of how strange our everyday lives actually are, how far we have moved away from enjoying each other’s presence.Turkle quotes children and adults who hesitate to use the phone because it seems awkward and intrusive; it is much easier, they say, to dash off a text or email. At the same time, Turkle points out, because of this very convenience, people expect quick responses. She describes the anxiety of teenagers when they do not get an immediate reply to their text messages. One girl talks about needing her cell phone for “emergencies”; it turns out that what she means by “emergency” is having a feeling without being able to share it.Turkle shows how our Internet communications mix the deliberate with the unconsidered. On the one hand, people put great effort even into short email messages. On the other, they “test” ideas and expressions in formation to see how others react. Some create fake online profiles just to try out different sides of their personality. The problem with such experimentation is that it is conditioned almost entirely by online reactions, often reactions of strangers. There is little room to form thoughts independently.Throughout the book, Turkle brings up the question of solitude. What happens to our solitude when we are able to get responses to anything and are expected to provide responses in turn? What happens to our sense of dissent when everything we say and do online bears a trace? She points out how important privacy is to dissent, for if we have no place where we can think and act unseen, we end up policing ourselves and censoring our own thoughts. We tame and restrain ourselves, knowing that anything we do and say may end up “out there” forever. “But sometimes a citizenry should not simply ‘be good,'” Turkle writes. “You have to leave space for dissent, real dissent.”Also, Turkle points out, when we have no privacy we lose the ability to privilege some thoughts and actions over others. She quotes Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, who says that “if you have something you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” Like many others, he ignores the possibility that there might be privacy without shame or crime. We might want to keep things to ourselves for any number of reasons; when we “put everything out there,” that “everything” is somehow trivialized. Turkle quotes a girl who claims there’s nothing much to know about her; “I’m kind of boring.” Will the loss of privacy lead more people to dismiss themselves as boring?One of Turkle’s most powerful points is that we have come “to take the performance of emotion as emotion enough.” Who cares, some might say, if the robot cannot feel? It behaves as though it feels, and that’s enough. But is it? I see similar assumptions in education, where test scores are equated with learning, and students’ visible activity in class is equated with “engagement.” How do you go about defending something that is not tangible, visible, or measurable? It is difficult, but Turkle does it.Because this book is so informative, because Turkle understands the complexities of technologies, she can make bold statements. She insists that we have the capacity and obligation to question the principles behind new inventions. She suggests that the touch of a human hand is indeed different from a robot’s, that a handwritten letter is different from a text, that thinking and remembering have value even when it seems there’s no more time for them. I won’t give away the ending, but it left me with a surprising sadness, as though in a movie theater, when it’s over and the place is dark, and you sit there for a few minutes, stunned, before getting up and walking out into the blink-provoking street.

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  29. Amani

    Great book and makes an excellent point…Definitely a great read…

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  30. Benno J Bauer Jr

    This is a powerful book. I am on staff at Second Baptist Church, Houston, Texas. My expertise is in sexual addiction – having been trained by IITAP under the direction of Dr. Patrick Canes. I see about 1,300 people per year, and on a cumulative basis over 1 year I see as many as 2,500 on my Tuesday night’s men’s group called Battle Lines on this issue of sex addiction. I am on staff at Counseling@second – our church has a membership of around 64,000 and by the summer of 2015 we may moved to around 74,000 members. Disconnect is one of the components of sex addiction, there are other issues depending upon the family of origin, traumas, violations, how one feels in their inner being, anger, holding on to issues and not forgiving, neuropathways, chemical demands (5 chemicals ignite I regard to sex addiction), and I go list much more This book speaks so powerfully. I am reminded about placing a big pot on the stove and filled with water. Just normal tap water. And then placing a frog in the pot, and turning the burner on, and it slowly heats up and overtakes the frog, “being unaware,” and it dies. This is what technology has done. It is interesting, I just received my current issue of The Economist – and on page 32 is AT YOUR SERVICE, and it speaks of what Sherry is talking out. Just by chance I saw her book, and just “by chance,” the very next week this article in THE ECONOMIST. If you are a person, whether a layman, parent, man, woman, therapist, etc. you must read this book, and be aware how this world is changing, and how you can be a MODEL for those around you, not to get engulfed and captured and disconnected in the world of which they live.

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  31. Lincoln

    This book is great! Dr. Turkle’s work is a great introduction to the ethical questions raised by our modern communications tools and current trends to anthropomorphize robots. Her call for a continued dialogue about the issues surrounding use of these technologies is something that has motivated me to pursue these things academically.

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  32. Laocoon143

    I’d love to see more from this author on this theme. Now that more sophisticated and pervasive technologies are so deeply embedded in our daily life, I’d like to see her take this to the next level of how our relationship with our devices is changing the individual and society.

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  33. TurquoiseJane

    First part dwells on robots and the impacts on both children and the elderly. Interesting implications for how robots are changing how we define “human”. Robots, texting, Bluetooth headsets…how are these things changing how we interact and our relationships?

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  34. cliff fales

    loved this book, would recommend that everyone read it. watching families with their cell phones in a restraunt it was obvious where the title alone together came from. the only time the phone was not in use was when they were eating.

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  35. Electric Violin

    I found this book frightening. With the way people’s eyes are glued to their cell phones every minute of the day, it seems likely that the next thing will be cheap computerized animals for keeping the elderly company. It’s already happening. I just hope that I will have impressed upon my own family that I’d rather see them or feel the loneliness (and depression) than to have a computer cleverly responding to my human need for contact. This book really opened my eyes to where the computer is taking us — for a ride.

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  36. Jon S. Finck

    The service was great–book arrived very quickly and in excellent condition. I have been looking forward to reading it for some time and am really enjoying it right now.

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  37. testtesttest

    Great book! Good leisure read

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  38. Amazon Customer

    This isn’t about being a luddite, but rather, it poses some difficult questions to how technology is making us more distant and de-humanizing. Something we all must be aware of to see we do better!

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  39. Michael Ruddy

    I found this book to be a great balance between the negative and positive influence technology has on our lives. Sherry asks the questions that need to be asked. And like me she wonders “Quo Vadis”

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  40. shelby katherine stanovsek

    sherry turkle is a queen and anyone who offers a differing opinion is no friend of mine

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  41. M Ray

    Great companion read with The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. Thoughtful.

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  42. lawrence kittiver

    All around excellent. Good read and condition. Can be a little long in some areas. But very provacative. I have higher hopes for humans

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  43. Patti

    Sherry Turkle’s “Alone Together” is a substantial and insightful view into the impact of technology on human relationships and the potential for robots in our futures. The work is a resounding demonstration of Turkle’s leadership in the field, brought to life by authentic personal stories and interviews. With the emergence of tech-native Generation Z, described as “over-connected, yet under-related,” Turkle’s work becomes even more significant.

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  44. chol perez

    My doughter use thi book in the colleges and she think is great and help the students to learn the class

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  45. Tyrone Walker

    Saw a table full people looking at little screens instead of talking to each other. This book explains why.

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  46. jdh

    We are so familiar with Blackberrys, iPhones, and other devices showing up at dinner or, in my case, in the middle of psychiatric sessions, we hardly blink an eye or click a mouse. It’s routine. It’s the 21st century. But if I call an old friend on my iPhone while driving to work and talk with her (illegally), the conversation is not the same as if I had deliberately called her from my favorite chair at home. Out split attention always comes at a price.What I loved about the book as a child psychiatrist myself is her capturing how today’s youth hold technology so close it may as well be under the skin. One youth is “waiting to be interrupted right now” by his phone, and all youth are reinventing separation (perhaps being out of range or temporarily in a tunnel under the Big Dig?). Going to college simply means checking for good reception and endless texts, photos, and instant messages go back and forth rather than a single phone call on Sunday evening.Her subtle and rich discussion of adolescents and technology is a must read. Adolescents can wander far from home in a suburb and still know parents are looking for them because the phone rings, even though the teen may not answer. And they may choose to text, and not to talk, to avoid the intimacy of spontaneity. Similarly, she describes how teens can easily ring one friend after another to find someone who picks up. Remind me again, what is being alone?The book is a major contribution to teasing out just how much technology is changing who we, and our children, are. I found the second major section of the book (“Networked”) far more relevant to my life than the first, which primarily concerns robots. Some readers— perhaps those routinely interrupted by their Blackberrys — may want to begin with the second section.Alone Together is the mother of all wake-up calls about how technology and who we are evolve together. It’s not just ‘the world’ that has changed. No one has observed this with a finer eye than Sherry Turkle.

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  47. Cristobal C.

    This book is extraordinary. The insight and clarity in the way Turkle reflects into the effects of digital communications in our empathetic relationships, is just brilliant. I have notes allover this book, and it’s being very useful in my thesis research.A couple of important facts:1) Turkle is no luddite.2) The book is full of significant conversations and testimonies of the relationship between persons and digital devices.

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  48. willard

    Turkle has excellent insights into our very “edited culture.” Our society would rather us trade in real relationships for an affair with technology.

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  49. Higgs

    Great book about how technology and cell phone usage is changing our connections to one another compared to those in the past. Interaction between people are taking place too often in the virtual world for a substitute for real life interaction.

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  50. tepapanurse

    An interesting and scholarly presentation of the challenges technology offers. Well done research. It lends itself well to group discussion.

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  51. graykitty

    This is a very important book. The older and newer generations should read this. It is a wake up call that provides the information we need to understand that we must take the technological bull “by the horns”.

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  52. Eric Waffle

    author makes several great points about internet and technology and cell phones and how they effect children and adults and teens. luv the personal stories about people who need technology

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  53. Danny Bee

    Used for school

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  54. P. Zimmermann

    If you’re looking for an explanation for what we are seeing in society, this book may have several answers. It’s worth reading. I highly recommend it.

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  55. cynthia driscoll

    every person with a smart phone needs to read this book. amazing read. might save humanity

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  56. Allan Compton

    Alone Together was recommended to me by a colleague. It proved to be very interesting, informatinve and readable, enough so that I picked it for a study group—not a book club, but a devoted group of professional who have a stake in understanding the effects of technolgy on ourselves, our children and even our parents. I can reccomend this book to anyone who would like to know more about this central development in our culture.

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  57. J Sciacca

    Turkle, without alarm or hysteria, paints a scholarly and lucid scenario of where we are, and how we’ve arrived at this place in regard to our relationship with our technological toys. Her 30+ years as an academic at MIT are wedded with the heart of a mother in an excellent discussion of the merger of the rise of sociable robots and a networked generation coming of age that is more comfortable in the virtual than the actual. She does a laudable job of bringing these two topics together. It is an excellent read and re-read. The book is loaded with quotable snippets worth repeating: “Loneliness is failed solitude.”

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  58. d gillott

    It was a present that made the recipient very happy! I was proud to have purchased it for her! Thanks.

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  59. Temple Porter

    Timid new world, where relationships are digitally mediated. So sad.

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  60. piperruth

    Turtle attempts to start a dialog about the role of technology in our lives, based on her observations as a researcher at MIT for 30 years. Those observations are stunning and the implications are definitely worth an extended discussion.

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  61. Frank J. Anderson

    Excellent research project to assess impact of technology on American culture. Provides numerous examples of how communication advances deprive humans of face time, and suggests a “hollowing out” of human intimacy as a result.My book club found the book to be chilling but realistic. Each member had a different interpretation of what the Ms. Turkle was trying to say.A great discussion book. Thought provoking and profound!

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  62. Pencil

    Birds eye view of generations growing up with electronics, and the effect they have on our lives, our communities and the world.

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  63. Techxlovr

    As a college freshman who loves technology, this book really opened my eyes to the technologically evolving society in which we live. It really allowed me to understand and recognize the role.technology plays in our lives. Turkle offers unbiased analyses of the intriguing and sometimes disturbing technological advances of my generation. I definitely recommend it.

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  64. Donald A. Desmith

    I would have given this 4 stars as a book by itself but I gave it 5 stars compared to other similar books.Part II, based on extensive surveys and experiments, is the best I have seen on how the Internet, instant messaging, cell phone, texting, etc. affect the youth (and others). Some other books seem to be based on hopes and dreams whereas this book seems much more realistic and fact-based. Turkle gives plenty of opinion/interpretations but I think they are almost always well justified. I don’t like the way she mixes survey results with opinions but that may be the only way possible to present a “soft” subject like this. I am more of a science-engineering guy, so I like the 2 separated but I can imagine that may be difficult/impossible given the subject.Part I, on “companionship robots”, is fascinating since I knew absolutely nothing about it. One could skip all of Part I and still find Part II to be worth the price of the book.

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  65. Stephen W. Hiemstra ﻦ

    Immediacy versus immensity. What does it mean to be only a couple of key strokes away from speaking to anyone on the planet? We still struggle to find an adequate metaphor for the impact of technology on daily life today.I am reminded of when I arrived in Germany as a foreign exchange student in 1978, Before I left, I could not find my destination, Göttingen, on any map that I owned or could find in the local library. Furthermore, my correspondence with the university was entirely in German, a language that I had studied but not yet mastered. When my flight arrived in Frankfurt, I was entirely at the mercy of the stationmaster to get on the right train to reach my destination. Today, answers to all such travel questions can be found on any smart phone; one need not be fluent in German to understand them fully; and, anywhere along the way, you can call your parents (or kids) to help sort everything out. Talk about a reduction in uncertainty!The effect of changes in technology on us as individuals and on today’s culture is the subject of Sherry Turkle’s book, Alone Together. Turkle explores the immediacy of technology in part one—The Robotic Moment: In Solitude, New Intimacies—and the immensity of technology in part two—Networked: In Intimacy, New Solitudes (vii). While these parts could easily have been themes in separate books, Turkle’s interest in the changing perceptions of intimacy and solitude clearly binds them together. Alone Together is part of a trilogy (The Second Self, Alone Together, and Life on the Screen; 4) focused on the cultural effect of technology.Turkle’s 14 chapters are equally divided between analysis of the individual response to robots—1. Nearest Neighbors2. Alive Enough3. True Companions4. Enchantment5. Complexities6. Love’s Labor Lost7. Communion—and the response to life tethered to cell and computer networks—8. Always On9. Growing Up Tethered10. No Need to Call11. Reduction and Betrayal12. True Confessions13. Anxiety14. The Nostalgia of the Young (vii-viii).Repeatedly, I found Turkle anticipating my anxieties about technology and offering a balanced assessment. She writes:“we are so enmeshed in our connections that we neglect each other. We don’t need to reject or disparage technology. We need to put it in its place” (295)In other words, technology is a tool that can be used for either good or evil.Turkle’s focus on the individual response to technology is no accident. Turkle describes herself as: “the Abby Rockefeller Mauze Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT, the founder and director of the MIT initiative on Technology and Self, and a licensed clinical psychologist.”[1] Her background as a psychologist shows through clearly in her choice of topics to discuss and in her extensive use of case studies to authenticate her points. An economist or sociologist might easily have focused more on questions of productivity and institutional change, but Turkle never goes there. Here the focus is on responses by individuals to technology—no military drones, no self-driving cars, no targeted advertising, no robotic assembly lines, no wiz bang. Turkle’s perspective is reflective, fresh. Her special concern is for children.Let me focus a minute on Turkle’s two parts: robotics and networking.Robotics. As a member of the MIT faculty, Turkle has special access to the MIT robotics lab where her work focuses on social robots, especially robotic toys like Tamagotchi, Furbi, Merlin, My Real Baby, Cog, Kismit, and so on. Turkle writes:“Technology is seductive when what it offers meets our human vulnerabilities. And as it turns out, we are very vulnerable indeed. We are lonely but fearful of intimacy. Digital connections and the sociable robot may offer the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship.” (1)Unlike Barbie, who invites you to project your issues and emotions on the doll in a kind of Rorshach test, these toys interact, talk, and appear to learn with you—what Turkle describes as a “new psychology of engagement” (38). In other words, the relationship possible with these robots is much more complex than with traditional toys. For example, citing Baird, she asks:“How long can you hold the object [a toy, an animal, or a robot] upside down before your emotions make you turn it back?” (45)With a toy, no one cares if you abuse it; with a gerbil, abuse is seen as cruel and is discouraged by most adults; but with a robot, like Furby, that complains, how do you respond—do you feel an ethical dilemma? Why? Turkle observes: “We are at the point of seeing digital objects as both creatures and machines.” (46)As part of her research, Turkle would lend these robotic toys to children and adults and then return after two weeks to interview them about their experiences and retrieve the toys. Frequently, the interviews would be postponed as the recipients—even the adults—did not want to give up the toys. Occasionally, this issue posed embarrassment, such as when a grandmother obviously preferred a robot, such as My Real Baby, to spending time with their own grandchildren (118). This happened so often that Turkle stopped trying to retrieve the robots after the interviews.Networking. The immensity of telephone and computer networks. Not only do we have the ability to contact anyone, anywhere on earth; we never really leave home. Turkle writes:“When I grew up the idea of ‘global village’ was an abstraction. My daughter lives something concrete. Emotionally, socially, wherever she goes, she never leaves home.” (156)This level of connectedness poses a challenge for adolescents who have a developmental need to separate themselves from their parents (174).Especially in American culture, individual autonomy is a cultural icon. In my own experience as a foreign student, the current level of connection made possible through cell phones and the internet was unthinkable. During my year in Germany, for example, telephone calls were so expensive that my gift for Christmas from my host family was a call home. My remoteness during the year disrupted a number of relationships, particularly with my parents [2], but I was well-prepared for this separation having worked summers as a camp counselor in high school and attended college out of state. By contrast, my own kids have had cell phones since high school and are seldom out of touch with their mother for more than a few days.Turkle talks about kids using texting to validate emotions even before they are fully aware of them. In effect, they poll their friends on how they should feel about things or test out emotions before fully investing in them (175-177). She writes:“in the psychoanalytical tradition, one speaks about narcissism not to indicate people who love themselves, but a personality so fragile that it needs constant support. It cannot tolerate the complex demands of other people but tries to relate to them by distorting who they are and splitting off what it needs, what it can use.” (177)So here we have a niche for technology—to insulate people from the push and pull of normal, complex human interaction. What is perhaps surprising is that kids that text constantly are often texting their own parents (178)—which suggests the need for a mature and informed parenting style.Wow. I never felt like a fully trained parent—how about you?Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together is hugely interesting, informative, and accessible read. College professors looking for insight in discussing the role of technology should consider this book. I would certainly consider reading the other books in this trilogy.[1] […][2] At one point the year after I returned home I visited relatives and attended a dinner party. No one felt comfortable talking with me. Finally, I learned why—my farm relatives could not imagine that a world traveler, such as myself, would find talking to them interesting to speak with. Once we got over that point, things picked up and returned to a more normal interaction.

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  66. KFitzgibbon

    This book was said to be used but it appeared to have never been opened it was a great purchase and I was very satisfied

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  67. Bruce Martin

    A frightening look at what the future holds for humanity, as the life of the screen takes over our brains. And it’s here, now.

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  68. Linda Brewer

    I loved the quick mailing of this course required book. My daughter had the opportunity to get ahead prior the first day of class. Pleased with the condition of the book and the outstanding shipping and handling!!!

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  69. Abdul Sarhan

    I’m alone always haha . Very good I liked it

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  70. k

    fantastic

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  71. Virginia M. Dambach

    Very interesting book. Heavy in the research in the first half, but full of great information and insights throughout. A must read for a view of our tech future

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  72. Brucer

    Excellent. I consider this a “must read” for anyone wishing to become attuned to todays rapidly growing cultural rudeness, and inappropriate behavior that is visible everywhere these days..

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  73. krahjerdi

    I’ve been working on computers and the Internet my entire professional life. I’ve always been pushed by technological limitations to answer the question “can I make this?” — above all else, this book taught me that the real question is instead “how will making this change me and my life?”

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  74. Bergge

    I began to become more interested on how mobile technology such as smart phones, ipods, tablets, etc, and how they are effecting people. More-so now, I have been seeing more and more people attached to the screens of their smart phones as they wait in lines, on the bus, even sitting in the same room. To be honest, it began to make me curious (annoyed at the same time) about how technology is going to effect, not only the younger generation, but the older generations as well. Turkle explains it all in “Alone Together”, I highly recommend this book.

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  75. John/Jenn

    This book is fascinating, informative and scary all at the same time. How Turkle utilized younger generations, specifically teens and college students, for her study on how technology changes people was done in a genuine, fair, objective and honest manner. I’m 40 and have only had a cell phone for four years and texted for two years. Maybe because it is my generation, but I’m trying to not let the phone and other technology determine my life. (Cell phones and the Internet were not around like they are today during my teen and college years.) I use the phone and computer for my work and communication with my true friends, but I intentionally make decisions on how I want the technology to impact me. This book helped me reinforce my strategy. (I’m not a gamer.) I wonder how much today’s younger generations are missing out on life because they hide behind the phone and Facebook. Again, our technology has benefits, and I know and use them, but when people feel uncomfortable without their phone or can’t do their multiple times an hour Facebook check, we are entering some troubling times.

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  76. Victoria Palmer

    I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this book. My sole reason for purchasing this was because it was recommended to me to help me write a paper on the impact of social media in communication. I am pleased to say that this book was not only informative and entertaining, but it also provided me insight to build on to my own. Turkle does a wonderful job of illustrating people in our society as cyborgs. I was having trouble putting my thoughts on the topic into words but with that thought alone, I was able to take my paper to the next level by describing computers and mobile devices not only as instruments of communication but as parts of our bodies, necessary for life.

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  77. Robert Cameron Hill

    Sherry Turkle is not too academic to be easily understood yet brings great insight to bear on our use of the internet. A good read!

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  78. N Livingston

    This is a very informative and well-founded discussion of the impact of current technology (social media, cell phones, etc.) on our relationships, especially on the relationships of young people today. The author is a respected researcher of these issues at MIT, working with scientists focusing on AI projects Because of her additional expertise in psychodynamic and developmental concepts, Dr. Turkle is able to address these concerns about social technology at a more substantive level. As a professional, I recommend all of Dr. Turkle’s writings.

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  79. JLA

    Thanks.

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  80. J. Walker

    This might be the most frightening book I’ve read that wasn’t supposed to be. An extraordinary wake-up call about the current trajectory of social evolution. It is causing me to examine my technology habits closely.

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  81. Schmidtty

    Be sure to also read Turkle’s “The Second Self” which set the stage for this book. Such clear insight is much appreciated in trying to comprehend human behavior these days.

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  82. Maugha

    Great book!

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  83. YankeeAirPirate

    Most insightful study of the “Alone Together” phenomenon I’ve ever come across, and this makes the 11th book I’ve acquired about it. Sherry Turkle is one bright person, and a genuinely gifted writer. Her style is easy to read, which makes the uncomfortable subject all the more palatable. Highly recommended for all parents of kids kindergarten thru high school. We truly are living in Orwellian times, if not Huxlian times.

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  84. tee

    Makes one really think about how much time, energy and important one places on electronics

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  85. Michael J Wojcik

    Professor Turkle does an amazing job of providing deep reflections on the meaning behind our contemporary enchantment/obsession with the ever-developing wave of new computational applications. Far from being a simple reactionary against today’s computerized life, Professor Turkle provides a long overdue examination of our newfound tendencies/temptations that we are bound to grapple with on a now permanent basis in today’s fully wired world.

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  86. Edward Gilbert

    Dr. Turkle accurately describes the problems with today’s super connected public: its shrinking into itself and losing the personal contact so much a part of interfacing with one’s peers. We cannot expect healthy relationships through the medium of a electronic connection.

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  87. Leon Lam

    A dire warning to the excessive use of technology and internet. This book gives a succinct yet inspirational overview of the way robots and internet transform our society. The chapter dealing with Facebook’s encroachment of private space and civil rights is particularly alarming. Every one, especially the tech savvies, should read again and again and rethink their position.

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  88. Lynelle

    Wow! What an eye-opener/mind-opener. My gut feelings about the infatuation with tech gadgets were well-founded, but I just didn’t know how to express them in words. Sherry Turkle certainly does! Parents, I strongly advise you to read this book. And if you are “tethered” to a gadget yourself, read it for yourself. This is so well researched, no one could accuse the author of being biased or old-fashioned. The first section deals with robotics (actual robots). I had a hard time trudging through those chapters, but I’m glad I did, because in the second section (Social Networking) the author refers back to incidents, studies and people who are mentioned in that first part. The second part focuses on the effects we all are seeing as a result of so much “connectedness” with machines. It’s rather disconcerting on several levels. And, just one of those levels deals with the ‘addiction’ to texting; a serious problem on the highways already. Yes, I highly recommend this book for anyone who values people more than a battery-charged piece of plastic.

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  89. tiger

    so true and right to the point

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  90. Amazon Customer

    Sherry brings together a scientist mind with a caring of a Mother. She is telling us to have a conversation about where the Technology is taking us.We do not want our technological advancements to turn around and bite us. We are getting lonely because we are not facing each other and conversing. The technology is to entrancing and we are becoming weak. Our leaders cannot face us and tell us what is going on. They have to be tethered to their blackberry and have others speak for them.We deserve more from all of the talent that has gone before. Sherry is wise and has given alot of effort and her time to expose some of the pitfalls.

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