Improving care. Changing lives.

Child Mental Health Forum - Sherry Turkle, Ph.D.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 - 10:00am to 11:15am
Sherry Turkle

Technology and the Assault on Empathy in Adolescents and Young Adults

Sherry Turkle, Ph.D.
Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology, 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Empathy has become a contested terrain. At the same time that many of us spend many hours a day distracted by devices that are undermining our capacity for empathy, technologists propose that from the earliest ages, we should talk to machines that can only offer as-if empathic connection. Meanwhile, intellectuals take empathy as a target. They contrast it unfavorably with compassion (presented as more global, more rational, less likely to lead to discrimination). Here I want to understand the critique of empathy as both of our time (a time I characterize as "the robotic moment") even as I challenge its premises and implications. Fantasies of relationships with intelligent machines have changed our ways of seeing the human because we have declared ourselves ready for them. From the point of view of those of us who care for developing children, does technology make us forget what we know about life?

Target Audience: Physicians (psychiatrists, pediatricians, child neurologists), psychologists, social workers, other mental health clinicians and researchers, and students and trainees.

Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand that empathy is challenged in digital culture
  2. Understand how digital devices get in the way of relationships
  3. Devise strategies to improve empathic connection

Live streaming will not be available for Dr. Turkle's lecture.