October 31

Earth and Beyond

Wednesday’s Big Idea

Today's Big Idea: Collective Intelligence

While China has enjoyed a remarkable economic growth spurt in recent years, even the most sympathetic Western observers must admit that Beijing has set itself a formidable challenge: to maintain a tightly controlled economy, press, and culture while giving China's citizens sufficient education and global connectivity to remain competitive in world markets. Riots at Foxconn – a technology manufacturing plant heavily used by Apple, corruption scandals at the highest levels of government, frequent rebellions of rural workers, and ongoing battles with outspoken critics like artist/activist Ai Weiwei have revealed Beijing as a leadership in an increasingly untenable position – increasingly threatened by the glimmer of freedom it has allowed its people. 

The internet plays a powerful role in these tensions. In spite of the "Great Firewall" – the Chinese government's ongoing attempts at internet control, millions of people have hacked their way through, making internet policing an increasingly expensive, even ludicrous proposition. This is collective intelligence in action – the coming together of millions of citizens to take the freedom of expression their government refuses them. 

  1. 1 Ai Weiwei: The Internet vs. The C...
  2. 2 The Way of Ai Weiwei – a new blog...
  3. 3 F*** You, Motherland – Ai Weiwei'...
  4. 4 Viva La Internet Revolución in Cuba
   
  1. Ai Weiwei: The Internet vs. The Chinese Government

    Ai Weiwei: The Internet vs. The Chinese Government

    In this dispatch from Beijing, artist and political activist Ai Weiwei  explains the powerful effects of social media on political freedom in China. 

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  2. The Way of Ai Weiwei – a new blog on Big Think by the most important artist of our time

    The Way of Ai Weiwei – a new blog on Big Think by the most important artist of our time

    Undaunted by Beijing’s refusal to return his passport and their recent shutdown of his wife’s ...

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  3. F*** You, Motherland – Ai Weiwei's Mission to Save China From Herself

    F*** You, Motherland – Ai Weiwei's Mission to Save China From Herself

    The documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is the portrait of a man fighting a one-man war of ideas with the Chinese government, daily putting his own life at risk for the sake of the country he loves.

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  4. Viva La Internet Revolución in Cuba

    Viva La Internet Revolución in Cuba

    After seeing how mobile and social networking technologies led to popular revolutions in places like Tunisia and Egypt, is it possible that we’ll soon see a similar type of revolution inour own backyard?

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