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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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The Net is Nothing Good or Bad but Surfing Makes it So

July 10, 2012, 11:49 AM
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What's the Latest Development?

More than a decade after its entrance into the mainstream, the Internet has established itself as both a public health menace, enslaving us to our machines, as well as a boon for society, enabling people to connect with each other from far and wide. But critics say our online socialization is superficial, giving the appearance of unity while actually sequestrating individuals who might otherwise meet face-to-face. This year, the Web's celebrity-making power sent Jason Russell, creator of the mega-viral Kony 2012 video, into a mental breakdown and, for the first time, Internet Addiction Disorder will appear in the back pages of the DSM in an appendix for 'further study.' 

What's the Big Idea?

But for every detractor, there has been someone to champion the connection of the human race through so many cables and WiFi networks. From the new economic industries it has created, to hosting community health forums on everything from cancer to diabetes, some tangible good is evident, and just like the TV, may it rest in peace, potential still abounds. Trying to determine whether the Web is a positive or negative development, however, will bear little fruit because technology, morally speaking, is neutral. How we employ technology is where its value comes from. And currently, the Internet is a tool we love to use, and need to use, to make our lives run more smoothly. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

 

 

The Net is Nothing Good or ...

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