I think an interesting Tech/no speaker for Bucknell would be Sherry Turkle, a professor of the social studies of science and technology at MIT. She recently wrote a book entitles Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, which discusses the issue regarding a decrease in social interaction due to technology. In a Ted talk that she hosted, Turkle mentions that people may be keeping in contact with each other more, but actually conversing less. And she credits technology as the source of the problem.
One aspect of her talk I found particularly interesting was her description of a phenomenon she refers to as the Goldilocks effect, in which technology allows people to keep their distance while maintaining a conversation. They can tune in for the interesting parts, and tune out when they find things boring. I can see this happening every day on campus and with friends, and am even guilty of it myself. People text, read emails, shop online, and check facebook all while sitting in a class or with a group friends, only listening when they want to. I can recall times when I’ll be sitting in a room with a group of people, yet everyone will be doing their own thing, not really paying attention to the people around them.
Another element to this is that texting and emailing allows us to edit our conversations. At one point during her talk, Turkle tells a story about a young man who does not like having conversations because he cannot predict what he’s going to say. As a child of parents who always demanded dinnertime without cell phones, I was startled by his statement, but have come across similar issues.
I think Sherry Turkle offers a unique perspective on the use of technology as a psychologist and a social studies professor, and would bring an interesting lecture to our campus. And a discussion that is very relevant to our lives today. Our use of technology is only going to grow in the years to come, and people will begin to need to make a shift away from it, instead of always following in its path.