Selected Speaking Samples

Connected, But Alone?

“Reclaiming Conversation” Talks at Google

Drucker Forum: Technology & Humanity

Sherry Turkle Colbert Report

The Colbert Report

Praise for Sherry’s Speaking

“Your carefully crafted remarks about reclaiming conversation were very well received and helped make the Institute a huge success. Many, many presidents commented on how much they appreciated your presentation.”

“Sherry was great! A perfect way to kick off our conference”

“I thought Sherry’s approach worked perfectly.  Just the right balance between providing information and leading a conversation.  I got very positive feedback following the session.”

Get in Touch

Sherry is a dynamic, eloquent and passionate speaker and teacher. From the classroom to the boardroom, and from the big stage to more intimate platforms, she delivers insightful and rousing keynotes, probing and practical seminars, and immersive and transformative workshop experiences.

Sherry designs and delivers unique lectures and executive education programs based on her research. Her talks are personalized to fit within your specific agenda and needs; however, her most commonly requested themes include:

Simulated Love Gone Wrong: How to Find the Right Role for Robots

Sherry Turkle is not taken with new cute robot Jibo’s seductive and friendly repartee. When we have toys for children that declare their love and want to chat, we bring to life a longstanding fantasy that machines might be our companions – that they might seem to not only be smart, but also to care about us. But there, says Turkle, we run into a problem: Simulated thinking may be thinking, but simulated feelings are not feelings, and simulated love is never love. Our “success” in making robots that pretend to empathize involves deception with significant consequence. When we offer simulated companions to our elders, we break a generational compact that we will be there for each other. When we offer sociable toys and digital pets to our children, we embark on an experiment in which our children are the human subjects. Will we be honest enough to confront the emotional downside of living out our robot dreams? Turkle asks us to ponder where this is heading—and to put machines in their proper place as helpful and responsive, not proxies for family and friends.

 How to Be the Empathy App to Bridge the Empathy Gap

We are living in a time where empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of others – is under assault. The empathy “gap” is widening in many societies around the world. Among college age students, studies conducted over a 30-year period have shown a 40% decline, with most of the drop coming after 2000. A generation has grown up believing it is possible to share our attention during almost everything we do and feeling that we “would rather text than talk.” What are the costs of a “flight from conversation” in personal life, among one’s family and friends? What are the costs in the business world? And most importantly, what can we do about it? Sherry Turkle believes technology has offered the illusionof companionship without the demands of friendship and then – as it got really good – the illusion of friendship without the demands of intimacy. While we have always known that only people can be empathic, we only really get good at it with our full attention to each other.

To Increase Creativity and Productivity, Be an Empathic Organization

One of the realities of corporate life is that office technology leads us to make a Faustian bargain with everyday office technology: What we gain from efficiency and responsiveness is compromised by what we lose because of the isolation, disengagement and distraction that comes with digital life. Sherry Turkle calls our work dilemma that of “pilots in the cockpit.” Often, we are too busy communicating online to have the conversations that count – on the phone or face-to-face. At every level, people craft ways to move phone or in-person conversations to screens on which they feel less vulnerable and more in control.

Turkle makes an impassioned case for companies to pivot back to conversation-based interactions that spur fully formed relationships. Ultimately, the aim is to become an organization that values empathy, authenticity and engagement. When employees recognize the difference between relational and transactional encounters, they can place a higher value on the former and build better relationships with clients and co-workers. The empathic organization understands that the capacity for solitude, and for relationship and conversation go together. With these underpinnings, employees will be more effective at establishing and maintaining relationships as they develop a competence for attention and focus. They will thrive – and so will your business.

Sherry is exclusively represented by Stern Strategy Group for speaking activities. Click here to view her full profile or contact us to learn more about how Sherry can customize a presentation for your group.

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