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Left to Our Own Devices

Outsmarting Smart Technology to Reclaim Our Relationships, Health, and Focus
Narrated by: Marguerite Gavin
Length: 5 hrs and 57 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Summary

We have been warned about the psychological perils of technology: distraction, difficulty empathizing, and loss of the ability (or desire) to carry on a conversation. But our devices and data are woven into our lives. We can't simply reject them. Instead, Margaret Morris argues, we need to adapt technology creatively to our needs and values.

In Left to Our Own Devices, Morris offers examples of individuals applying technologies in unexpected ways - uses that go beyond those intended by developers and designers. Morris examines these kinds of personalized life hacks, chronicling the ways that people have adapted technology to strengthen social connection, enhance well-being, and affirm identity. She describes how a couple used smart lights to work through conflict; how a woman persuaded herself to eat healthier foods when her photographs of salads garnered "likes" on social media; and how a trans woman celebrated her transition with selfies. These and the many other “off-label” adaptations described by Morris cast technology not just as a temptation that we struggle to resist but as a potential ally as we try to take care of ourselves and others. The stories Morris tells invite us to be more intentional and creative when left to our own devices.

©2018 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (P)2018 Tantor

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Positive takes on the potential for devices

After reading a lot about the dangers of device use, it's refreshing to hear some positive ways that devices get used. Many of the cases are not things I'd have thought of, and it sparks ideas for other good uses of technology.