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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

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How Social Media Is Changing the Fabric of Reality

June 10, 2014, 3:00 PM
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

More from the Big Idea for Saturday, June 14 2014

Learning to Love Social Media

Welcome to The Truman Show. That's what "living on" Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites du jour can feel like. Publishing photographs of our lunch, quips about our lives and... Read More…

 

How Social Media Is Changin...

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