Notes for Sherry Turkle The Inner History of Devices

Anita Say Chan

Really a separate thinkers thought work purchased to print verbatim benefiting both.

(125-26) Patrick, a twenty-three-year-old computer programmer.

Learning Addicts

(127) Mark is a twenty-four-year-old greenhouse technician in Raleigh, North Carolina, and an avid Slashdot user.
(128) Thomas, a twenty-four-year-old computer programmer in Manchester, England, describes a similar experience of cultivating a Slashdot addiction.

Working Addicts

(130) Twenty-six-year-old Joseph is a computer programmer in Belgium and the author of a Perl program that sends updated Slashdot headlines to his cell phone every fifteen minutes.

Working code to feed addiction is common to all intellectual and physical labor, as explained long ago by Heraclitus and encountered again in Plato; however, Turkle ignores the content of the programming work, and the philosophy of computing is therefore merely indirectly influenced by her work.

I can be more effective addressing working code directly as a philosopher who writes and discusses program source code along with reflections about human intellectual endeavors, for digital ethics awareness of nuances in the way people interact with computer technology affects the range of meaningful design decisions in the course of a human life time: Kittler puts it eloquently in GFT. “What counts are not the messages or the content with which they equip so-called souls for the duration of a technological era, but rather (and in strict accordance with McLuhan) their circuits, the very schematism of perceptibility.”.

(131) When Joseph wrote his headline program, his habit was to refresh the site every five minutes to see if any new stories had been posted. With his code, it took less effort to feed his addiction.
(131) Aaron, thirty-one, a technical project leader at a Minneapolis software company, admits that he is often late to work because he begins his day with Slashdot.
(132) Aaron's confessed addiction is not something he wants to control. For him, Slashdot supports new thinking about what is productive and nonproductive. It provides new insights, for example, that to be most constructive he needs downtime to think.

Dissenting Addicts

(132) In June 2002, Thomas, the English computer programmer, read a story on Slashdot that upset him. It was titled “UK Government Expands Spying Powers” and included links to several articles in The Guardian about the British government's plans to expand a bill to increase the online surveillance of citizens.

Danger and Addiction

(133) In her history of addiction, Eve Sedgwick recounts a nineteenth-century shift in cultural perceptions when drug “users” were reframed as drug “addicts.”

Weizenbaum identifying category of compulsive programmers.

(133-34) In 1976, MIT computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum warned about an emerging category of compulsive programmers. . . . Weizenbaum sees this pathology as having significant similarities to compulsive gambling. Each has the driving force of “megalomaniac fantasies of omnipotence.” . . . Or, as Andrew Ross argues, hackers – like dropout students of the 1960s and the punks of the 1970s – were the 1980s' public example of moral maladjustment.

Modernity internalization of discipline.

(135) The genius of modernity is that in it individuals are taught to assess and contain themselves, a point underscored in the work of Michel Foucault, who describes how medical, legal, and political institutions make individuals aware of what constitutes transgression and that they are being continually assessed.

Defending Addiction

Turkle, Sherry. The Inner History of Devices. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2008. Print.