What's the Big Idea?
What does it mean to be connected in the 21st century? Hope, interdependence, and possibly the creation of a new consciousness, says Tiffany Shlain. Shlain is the founder of the Webby awards and creator of a new documentary, Connected: An Autoblogography about Love, Death & Technology, which premiered this year at Sundance.
Watch the video:
Shlain believes the Internet has inaugurated a new era of uber-transparency in which academics, scientists, business people, and artists exchange inspiration and teamwork around the world like one big giant creative brain.
It's a lot to ask of a system of computer networks. True, the internet allows us to access an unprecedented amount of information, but so did the Dewey Decimal system. Perhaps what's so uniquely revolutionary about the web is that it's overwhelmingly public -- impacting not just how we catalogue and find information, but how we find each other.
"They've done studies that when you get texts and tweets and cell phone calls, you get hits of oxytocin, which is this hormone in your body that makes you feel more empathetic and inclined to collaborate," she says. "I think that the internet in a lot of ways is creating this global network for oxytocin to flow. We've only just begun to see how much collaboration is going to completely transform society." It's the difference between a repository for data and a tool for learning: networks broaden our understanding while deepening and enriching it.
What's the Significance?
The new culture (and science) of sharing is reshaping everything from our relationships to the way we make art. Digital cameras, open source software, and ISPs like Youtube allow young filmmakers to create and upload their original work at relatively low cost, and to mash-up the old with the new. Of course, if the fury around the recent SOPA legislation was any indication, Hollywood is not taking it well. But Shlain sees it as an opportunity to expand our definition of authorship, not a problem.
The future of film, she argues, is collaborative storytelling. "I cannot tell you as a filmmaker how exciting this is to me. The fact that I can collaborate with people from all over the world because of the cloud and we can work on movies together is so exciting." Right now, Shlain is working on a new series of 20 films made entirely through what she calls cloud filmmaking. To create the films, she rewrote the Declaration of Independence as a declaration of interdependence -- an open call to send her videos and art work for the film.
Entries came from all over the world and were edited into a 4-minute short which was then post online. True to form, an amazing thing started happening: YouTube featured it on their homepage and people began to translate it. It's now in 65 languages. "It just feels like I'm able to kind of edit together the human spirit," she says.
Follow Tiffany Shlain @tiffanyshlain
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.
- It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
- Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.