Things Fall Apart... and a Terrible Beauty is Born
Slides for a talk delivered by Andrew Hazlett at Ignite Baltimore #6, September 30, 2010.
Is the Internet making us stupid, or will it enable a new renaissance in learning, culture, and the arts? I submit that the answer is "yes."
Complex thought, sustained attention, rational dialogue, historical awareness, cultural literacy, an appreciation of art and beauty... these are values long associated with liberal education, book publishing, print magazines, cultural coverage in newspapers, great museums, public libraries, and other traditional "information technologies."
Now, as waves of disruption sweep over these long-standing institutions, many observers have wondered if treasured values are slipping away... perhaps forever. Are we raising a historically illiterate "dumbest generation" stranded in "the shallows" of the web, distracted by fleeting moments with mobile devices, online video, and social networking?
Maybe so, but what if our emerging networked culture is also history's greatest opportunity for curious individuals to engage with "the best that has been thought and known in the world"? What if our new age of information is enabling the rise of new means of discovering and spreading enduring truths?