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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.

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Today's Big Idea: Authenticity

The Big Idea for Wednesday, August 22, 2012

When you join a social network, Jaron Lanier says, "you start to parse yourself into hash tags and circles or whatever the scheme is of the particular social network." That may not seem so dehumanizing in the short term, but after many years, Lanier argues, you will find that you have regimented yourself according to the way these networks want you to conform. 

Lanier, who is an outspoken critic of many of the features of Web 2.0, is deeply concerned about the type of conformity and the associated behaviors it engenders. 

So what forms of information technology are truly valuable, which both consumers and small businesses can get behind?

Lanier says it is those endeavors that really "add something to the world," in the sense that someone can take responsibility for it, and just as crucially, receive a reward for it, as opposed to making users into "some fragment in a giant statistical effect." Apps do that, Lanier says. "Kickstarter ventures do that. Products like Kinect do that for the people who make them and design experiences on them." Lanier sees the future in these types of ventures. 

 

Perspectives

  1. 1 Jaron Lanier: What it Means to be #Human
    Jason Gots Input/Output
  2. 2 How to Win Friends and Influence People All Over The World
    Big Think Editors Think Tank
  3. 3 The Value of Our Online Participation
    Clay Shirky
  4. 4 Taming the Herd Mentality
    Iain Couzin
 

Today's Big Idea: Authenticity

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