Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities

Simulation: “Getting Rid of the Digital Divide”


In her book Simulation and Its Discontents, MIT Professor Sherry Turkle argues that what simulation wants is immersion in the simulated world that is so complete that it serves as a proxy for the real. Turkle's worry, or the worry she reports from the scientists she studies in her book, is that simulation replaces reality with a deceptive simulacrum that is so compelling that we take it as real even when it is not. I have discussed Turkle's thesis here. And here.

In a fascinating TED lecture, Pranav Mistry--Turkle's colleague at MIT--has a completely different take, arguing that simulation will free us from computers that divide us from the real world. By "getting rid of the digital divide," Mistry argues, simulation will actually make us more human.  Watch the video of his TED talk here and see if you agree?


More human? Less human? Differently human. I think it undeniable that this technology will change our world and our understanding of ourselves.

Remember to attend the Arendt Center's Conference, Human Being in an Inhuman Age.

Roger Berkowitz
Roger Berkowitz is Associate Professor of Political Studies and Human Rights at Bard College, and Academic Director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and the Humanities. He is also the author of "Gift of Science: Leibiniz and the Modern Legal Tradition", as well as co-editor of "Thinking in Dark Times: Hannah Arendt on Ethics and Politics".

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