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How Social Media Is Changing the Fabric of Reality

What's the Latest?

What you know about the world and what you know about yourself practically determine your outlook on life, and the ability of social media to transmit digital information instantly has changed all that. Journalism professor at NYU, Charles Seife argues that information on the Internet is more often taken as true than false, and that this creates a new kind of relationship with the world. "In practice, the democratic ideal of Wikipedia, in which we are all editors, is anarchy. As it becomes harder to sift fact from fiction, Seife observes that we 'are at the beginning of an information famine'."

What's the Big Idea?

In a new book, Oxford University professor of philosophy and ethics Luciano Floridi argues that the rise of digital information represents the fourth great revolution to befall the human species. "Copernicus cast us out from the centre of the universe, Darwin from a unique position in biology, and Freud from the perceived seat of privilege in our own self-deceiving minds. Now, we are being ousted from the centre of the 'infosphere', says Floridi, as the machines mediating our conversations elbow us aside." As online profiles change who people think you are, your own opinion of yourself changes to reflect others' opinions, eventually changing who you actually are.

Read more at New Scientist

Photo credit: Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock

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