Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chance Favours the Connected

Chance, serendipity or maybe just too much time in front of the screen brought another sweet connection this week.  I have 'discovered' some of my favourite educators are reading the same book I am; David Weinberger's "Too Big to Know".  I heard Spark's Nora Young (from CBC) interview David Weinberger and immediately recognized a thinker who asked valuable questions.  He spoke about the shape of knowledge that has changed as a result of the digital revolution.  Information is no longer shackled to print and paper; it has been liberated and hyper linked right to your questioning mind.  What an idea!  Think of it; information is morphing from a pyramidal structure (top down, hierarchy, controlled by the few) to a network, shaped by the users and the nodes of that network.  It's simply brilliant and the implication of that idea has no end of exciting consequences.  So I bought the audio book the within the hour and began listening to Weinberger.

 In the same Spark episode, Nora Young also interviewed Luciano Floridi, a philosopher of information who asks the question, "Why is the information revolution so dramatic?"  We have been through three previously revolutions, according to Floridi.  From Copernicus (we are not the center of the universe) to Darwin (man is not the center of creation) to Freud (human beings are not the pinnacle of rational creatures) but this digital revolution is the most dramatic.  How does this impact our self understanding?  Who is man and what is his purpose?  These metaphysical questions have lived in the philosopher's heart from before Socrates.  Now, in this digital revolution, Floridi attempts to answer that question; we are interconnected information organisms.  And, we are not alone.  The shape of the network, the connections to like minds, to information, to nodes in our networked circles, reminds us that we are not alone.

Pretty dramatic stuff.  All I wanted to do was shout out the virtual book club on Twitter #edbookclub where the good folks (many from Unplugd.ca - another serendipitous story) will be discussing Weinberger's book.  A virtual book club on Twitter; another brilliant idea.

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