“What has happened to face-to-face conversation in a world where so many people say they would rather text than talk?” asks Sherry Turkle, professor at MIT. Texting has diminished our ability to empathize with others, since it is in conversation that we look each other in the eye and learn the capacity to empathize. The constant need to check one’s smartphone has also decreased our ability to live with solitude. The capacity for empathetic conversation goes hand in hand with the capacity for solitude, says Turkle. Experiments with youth have shown that these trends can be reversed when devices are taken from them for extended periods of time (New York Times, September 27).