How Social Media Is Changing the Fabric of Reality

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.

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

Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Human beings are psychologically hardwired to fear differences
  • Several recent studies show evidence that digital spaces exacerbate the psychology which contributes to tribalism
  • Shared experiences of awe, such as space travel, or even simple shared meals, have surprising effectives for uniting opposing groups
Keep reading Show less

New ‘microneedle patch’ could help heart attack patients regrow tissue

The bold technique involves surgically implanting a so-called microneedle patch directly onto the heart.

Tang et al.
Surprising Science
  • Heart attacks leave scar tissue on the heart, which can reduce the organ's ability to pump blood throughout the body.
  • The microneedle patch aims to deliver therapeutic cells directly to the damaged tissue.
  • It hasn't been tested on humans yet, but the method has shown promising signs in research on animals.
Keep reading Show less

10 common traits of self-actualized people

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is updated for the 21st century in a new study.

Pixabay
Mind & Brain
  • Maslow's famous "Hierarchy of Needs" describes different levels of human motivation.
  • A new study updates the hierarchy through modern methods.
  • The research shows that self-actualized people share 10 specific traits.
Keep reading Show less

A $100-million startup shares incredible plan to propel spacecraft with giant lasers

Breakthrough Starshot is moving ahead with an audacious vision for space exploration.

Surprising Science
  • The Breakthrough Starshot initiative was co-founded by Stephen Hawking.
  • The project raised $100 million and is moving ahead with extensive research.
  • The goal of Starshot is to send tiny "StarChip" spacecraft to explore neighboring star systems.
Keep reading Show less