Sunday musing: The future is ours

This is one of the videos that I like to play from time to time because it gives me enough motivation to face difficult days. So many things are wrong with the world we’re living in, but that shouldn’t stop us from marvelling at all those amazing things happening around us. 

The future is ours to shape, Let’s make the best out of it!

 

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The “I don’t know” Manifesto

 In our culture, not to know is to be at fault socially… People pretend to know lots of things they don’t know. Because the worst thing to do is appear to be uninformed about something, to not have an opinion… We should know the limits of our knowledge and understand what we don’t know, and be wiling to explore things we don’t know without feeling embarrassed of not knowing about them.

~ Sir Ken Robinson

“I don’t know” must be one of the most stigmatized sentences in the history of languages. Yet, these simple words are the gate to mind expansion, discovery and thereby growth. Embracing the possibility of not knowing is the first step into exploring and eventually knowing. I couldn’t put it any better than Wislawa Szymborska, 1996 Nobel prize in literature when he says:

This is why I value that little phrase “I don’t know” so highly. It’s small, but it flies on mighty wings. It expands our lives to include the spaces within us as well as those outer expanses in which our tiny Earth hangs suspended. If Isaac Newton had never said to himself “I don’t know,” the apples in his little orchard might have dropped to the ground like hailstones and at best he would have stooped to pick them up and gobble them with gusto. Had my compatriot Marie Sklodowska-Curie never said to herself “I don’t know”, she probably would have wound up teaching chemistry at some private high school for young ladies from good families, and would have ended her days performing this otherwise perfectly respectable job.

That is why I decided to create an “I don’t know” manifesto, so we can all remember that it’s ok Not to know, we just have to adopt the right attitude about it.

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“I was gratified to be able to answer promptly. I said, “I don’t know.””

Mark Twain

Sunday musing: Networks are more than the sum of their nodes

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by KTVee

I stumbled upon this fascinating video where Nicholas Christakis gives the example of the slim mold to affirm how “connecting to each other and assembling ourselves in networks creates a super organism with unexpected properties”. Our networks are not the sum of their nodes, they exhibit a collective intelligence not available to each individual member!


Sunday musing: The hyperconnectivity paradox

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Photo courtesy.rexguo
“We are living in an isolation that would have been unimaginable to our ancestors, and yet we have never been more accessible.” This is the paradox of the hyper connected world we are living today. “Social media have made us more densely networked than ever. Yet for all this connectivity we have never been lonelier.”
On a thought-provoking eye-opening article on The Atlantic, Stephen Marche lays down the dense body of research that have been exploring the effect of social networks on our psych.

Yet within this world of instant and absolute communication, unbounded by limits of time or space, we suffer from unprecedented alienation. We have never been more detached from one another, or lonelier. In a world consumed by ever more novel modes of socializing, we have less and less actual society. We live in an accelerating contradiction: the more connected we become, the lonelier we are. We were promised a global village; instead we inhabit the drab cul-de-sacs and endless freeways of a vast suburb of information.

On the same note, Sherry Turkle tackles how we’re increasingly “expecting more from technology and less from each other”. We are substituting conversations by mere connections. 

We’re designing technologies that will give us the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship. We turn to technology to help us feel connected in ways we can comfortably control. 

…We’re getting used to a new way of being alone together. People want to be with each other, but also elsewhere — connected to all the different places they want to be. People want to customize their lives. They want to go in and out of all the places they are because the thing that matters most to them is control over where they put their attention. 
But as Marche underlines, “LONELINESS IS CERTAINLY not something that Facebook or Twitter or any of the lesser forms of social media is doing to us. We are doing it to ourselves”. We need to work on our relationship with 2.0 technologies in a way that it won’t severe our real life relationships but rather enrich them. It’s doable, we just need to be more conscious about it!
On a final note, Tiffany ShlainRun beautifully makes the case of how technologies are not only changing what we do, but changing us as well.  
Related articles: 

Sunday musing: The power of introverts

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At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled “quiet,” it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society–from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.
One of the books I’m most excited about reading this year is Susan Cain’s “Quiet: The power of Introverts in a world that can’t stop talking“. Maybe because I think of myself as an introvert or maybe just because it essentially questions the common belief that being outgoing, outspoken and social is the only path to success. It takes all kind of people to make the world, and as much as we need extroverts, introverts “bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated”. In a passionate TED talk, Susan makes the case that introversion is dramatically undervalued, and that the world will be a much better place if our culture stopped solely celebrating extroversion and accepted the power of Quiet as well.

 

 

I think I’ll go back to my books’ suitcase now. Until we talk again, have a great Sunday!

Sunday musing: Reinventing the reading experience

In case you missed it, and I’m sure anyone hardly did, Apple decided to reinvent the textbook experience by identifying transformative currents and building the right tools to navigate them”

 iPadded textbooks are still textbooks, but they’re personalized textbooks. They take advantage of the emotional connection people, and especially young people, feel to their devices. They encourage, rather than frown on, active note-taking. They demand, rather than curtail, exploration. They create a kind of kaleidoscopic experience: video, text, audio, all whirring and whirling into each other in a self-guided tour of history or chemistry or biology. They invite students to create learning environments that, though standardized on one level, are, on another, uniquely theirs. And that changes everything. 

And though it did not revolutionize the publishing industry -at least not yet-, it actually created enough momentum to raise interesting discussions on the need of reinventing the reading experience. Reading is definitely “morphing as it transitions to a new technology platform” : Tablets. And by leveraging the power of social collaboration, reading will never be the same for sure! Here are some videos that make this case.

Have a great Sunday!

Update: I stumbled upon this video from Readmill which states an essential question “Why make a book digital and not make it shareable?” Why indeed!

Sunday musing: Why I unplug

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I’m no better-never, I don’t think technology is ruining our brain, life or whatnot. I truly believe though, that like anything else, it’s our use of it that makes it the Good or the Villain. Sometimes it’s actually the over-use of it that makes it the latter. As I was revisiting “Connected“, I thought about  relearning to be disconnected and how I have failed to consider that sometimes the only way to appreciate something’s value is by distancing oneself from it for a while. Relearning to appreciate technology, rethinking its effect on our lives can only be possible by unplugging the matrix and then re-plugging with a new perspective.
Not convinced? Monika Guzmano from geekWire makes a good sell of it on her Ignite talk: Why I unplug.

 

 

It definitely gives you something to think about.
Have a great Sunday!

Sunday musing: The power of sharing

Can you actually mess with somebody's sense of reality, as a force for good? 

What makes an unusual, bizarre, absurd situation an awesome experience? Sharing. A point thoroughly made by Charlie Todd and his friends at Improv everywhere, who proudly define themselves as a prank collective that causes scenes.

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I recently stumbled upon Charlie Todd's talk at Ted: The shared experience of absurdity (thanks Salah!). And it just made my day!

Have a great Sunday!

Sunday musing: Life, a second at a time

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Photo courtesy of Toni Blay

On this beautiful morning I came across this video that embodies one of the most powerful lessons of life and I thought: "I Gotta Share :-)"! Cesar Kuriyama who was selected as one of the 17 finalists for the TED full spectrum auditions, has launched a very interesting project called the "One Second Everyday":  

The concept is simple: every day I record and capture a single second of video—just something interesting about that day. I will compile these tiny slices of my life into a single, continuous video.
But what started out as a fun way to chronicle my year off grew quickly into a catalyst that forced me to reevaluate how I approach my day-to-day life. Soon after I started the project, I realized that I couldn’t even spend a couple of days on the couch without detracting from the whole video. Footage of my typical routine was, frankly, boring. The One Second Everyday project has helped me to maintain my creative drive, as I am constantly attempting to capture something noteworthy. It has become a perpetual reminder to wake up and seize the day.

"Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swaps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it's yours." 
— Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

Have a great Sunday everyone!

Lamia Ben.

Sunday musing: feels good to be back…

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Image courtesy schaaflicht

It’s been a while since I last blogged. Of all the things I was forced to abandon but missed the most while on my sick leave, I must say that blogging comes on top of the list. I miss having a space where I can express my ideas and discuss them with others. I miss the exhilaration once I’m done writing, the expectation about the reaction my post would stir. I miss the feeling that I contribute, even with the slightest portion, to the web rather than being a mere consumer… Anyway, it really feels good to be back. 
I just thought that instead of writing (once again!) about the lesson I could have learned from this small experience (I’m a lousy learner it seems!), I’d rather take the opportunity to thank my Internet friends for their kind words. So Jonathan Zittrain was right after all, the web is more than just a pile of information it is a network of random acts of kindness.

Have a great Sunday!

Lamia Ben.