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What the Internet says about our global think-tank?

I am curious as to the opinion of the public, or at least the small representation that can be found here, as to how we think the internet represents our global ability to stream together the minds of billions of people.
To what extent have we as a species taken advantage of this complex entity in both our successes and failures, and furthermore, why and how we should better utilize this power, if we should at all?
I realize there are a tremendous supply of variables that must be taken into account with regards to this topic, so please feel free to touch base on any aspect you feel necessary in your support.
Extra points for creativity and cleverness!!

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    Oct 21 2013: Think Tank is a journalist word for a policy institute. I have a problem in looking at the internet as a think tank. I was invited to a think tank sponsored by RAND some years back. There were attendees from many disciplines but all associated with the space program "project" that we were given.

    It was a real hoot. We were told to think outside of the box .... we have the known .... let your imagination run away with you. The whole thing was recorded. Some one would suggest something and we would all jump on it and "run it up the flag pole".

    I would think of the internet more as crowdscourcing. There is little if any original thought and a lot of Dr so and so says ... or a Harvard study ... as opposed to think tanks that are looking for new and innovative ideas solutions.

    I think each has its place ... but are separate entities.
    • Oct 21 2013: Thank You Robert,

      Much of what you just stated was the original foundation for why I started this conversation. I also feel that we use the internet mainly as a means of merely spreading current ideas, not so much in an effort to build new and innovative ideas. Most obviously, even modern technology is far inferior to the human mind with regards to the process of imagination. However, the spread of knowledge creates a larger sub-population within our general population that can use said imagination to produce the next useful, innovative ideas that are necessary to solve our various problems. So while it may not be a direct representative of our global think-tank, it surely has some creative involvement. If you disagree I would love to hear your reasoning behind it.

      In addition, do you think it possible to innovate the internet such that it really does provide a more direct representation of our global think-tank? Why has this not already occurred, or does it already exist and is subtly hidden within a pre-existing aspect of the internet and its usage? Furthermore, how we do we take advantage of any relationship the internet shares with the global think-tank such that we are not wasting a potentially precious opportunity?
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    Oct 14 2013: One of the variables is that 4.6 billion people (out of 7 billion) are not yet connected with the internet. We have only a 33% (2.4 billion) global think-tank so far.
    • Oct 21 2013: Thank You Joshua,

      This is by far one of the most important variables, in my mind, to take into account with regards to this topic. So much of the representation we witness coming from the internet can truly not represent our global reality. Do you think this is an issue that can be fixed, and by what means could it make our use of the internet a more successful contributor of global progress?
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        Oct 21 2013: Hello Cody,
        Not sure I'm qualified to answer your question, but Fritzie has made some good points.
        I would say this though.

        (1). Technology is an amplifyer of the human mind, hence the internet already shows an amplification of some good things, some bad things.

        (2). Technology is neither good nor bad, but neither is it neutral. It carries within the mind of the designer. What was the internet designed for? Well, originally to connect universities together to share information. A think-tank requires more than just sharing information - it has to be sifted, weighed, valued, and maybe the internet can help in that process too.

        (3). Technology is ambivalent. Despite a designer's intentions, their technologies can be used in unexpected ways - (like mobile phones in Africa being used a money-transfer devices, helping business growth). So maybe some unexpected use of the internet will open up new possibilities. This relates to ...

        (4). (Hegel, and later Marx), when quantitative change grows to a certain point, a qualitative change often takes place. Internet technology is mainly (so far) about quantitative things - mainly "faster" and "more of", etc. Given a few more years, maybe 75% of the world's population will be on the internet. As people connect more, trust can build, people in other countries are experienced more and more as .. well .. people, rather than stereotyped (which is needed to view them as an enemy), and from this there may evolve a shift in global consciousness for the betterment of humankind.

        In this sense maybe you have a think-tank by default, which transcends the huge scale of rational communications (and its limitations to handle large amounts of information) by leaping forward in evolution to some higher level of global consciousness. I think the first picture from the moon of "spaceship earth" had some similar kind of effect, and maybe the internet could do something likewise but taking it to a whole new level.

        (just thinking aloud)
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    Oct 13 2013: tolerance and knowledge?
    • Oct 21 2013: Thank You Riadh,

      Is this truly a representation of our overall global opinion? Some may say that the tolerance being projected is face-less and inaccurate, as surely discrimination and violence worldwide has not taken a drastic turn for the better since the implementation of the internet into the social realm of the human species. Furthermore, intolerance is certainly capable of being propagated through the general population in either an indirect or direct manner via internet use. So while the good may be apparently evident, is this optimism only due to the ignorance of viewing the bad?

      With regards to your statement of knowledge, I couldn't agree more. As Fritzie stated below, "For people engaged in learning, there is tremendously enhanced access to resources and to each other". With internet access, any individual can become a student or teacher in both an active and passive manner. The real question is, have we taken full advantage of this capability or has it yet to produce significant results?
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        Oct 21 2013: Thank you too Cody for your beautiful reply ;
        if you think the tolerance is face-less and inaccurate ,excuse me that's mean nothing can making us tolerant again if the internet still unable to changed it yet from your said ,it's more than our overall global opinion if we still stuck in the goodness is just a weakness ,if we lost to the tolerance we can't learn only what can making us feel how hard we're by our principals ,even the bad is real doesn't mean that we must see it normal or take it like an ethic ,i think the best tolerance it can come from the internet now in this world of intolerance *
        • Oct 21 2013: Riadh,

          Please pardon me for playing Devil's advocate right now. I do not believe that the internet has any capability to perform any action, yet alone stimulate the growth of social tolerance. Due to its nature, tolerance is a personal choice and clearly not something the internet can choose for you.
          However, It might very well play a role in the spread of tolerance should any such movement within our society gather support however. I believe that a tolerance towards homosexuality in the United States has gradually occurred over the past decade, something that can be attributed to the spread of ideas and messages over the internet, as well as through many other means. This is not to say that it has been a global shift in tolerance by any means though, for in some portions of the world an intolerance towards homosexuality has increased. Note, this is not an argument of specific tolerances throughout society, merely an example to reference for supporting a point.
          Overall, I think it is difficult to reason that the internet is proof of growing world tolerance alone towards anything as it is just too personally-relative an opinion. It would be safe to claim that intolerance is just as capable of being spread as is tolerance, and if this is so then would the grounds not support a more neutral conclusion than one that leans towards either one?
          Thank you and please feel free to combat against or agree with this in any manner!
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        Oct 21 2013: you're right i just prefering it by this way to be with one side only the rightness and i feel more than satisfied with it and you were very right again just i believe everything start by itself i am living it with my itself and i believe i am not the first or i'll be the last who fight the badness until his death :)
  • Matt K

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    Oct 12 2013: the internet is the foundation of global peace and a global mindset, i believe. however not for the current generation. as long as we have not seen the peak of population which will be around 2050, everything will be unstable. after 2050 it will take at at least another 50-100 years time when finally a totally relaxed life without any stress will be possible. but thats just my rough prediction, and u never know...maybe the network effect will really do something amazing within the next 10 years. so lets see...enough knowledge is at least already available....

    ....maybe if ted talk will create much more pages with statistical numbers that will be a nice indicator
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    Oct 11 2013: For people engaged in projects together, there is significantly expedited communication and a diminishing of the need to move bodies and paper in the course of the work. That will tend to be an efficiency gain in think-work.

    For people engaged in learning, there is tremendously enhanced access to resources and to each other. Wikipedia, the MOOCS, and TED Talks are some specific examples. There are also communities of practice, where people get DIY assistance (as in Maker forums) or discuss issues common to their activities, like an artists forum or a programmer forum, or forums for the users of particular consumer devices.

    The internet has opened new entertainment avenues, as people see together and discuss together whatever they like, from the publicly significant to the frivolous, with others across the globe, in a sense forming together and in reference to each other impressions about subjects, countries, and those with whom they share the globe.

    Both good ideas and bad ones tend to spread quickly.
    • Oct 21 2013: Thank you Fritzie,

      I think your last statement really drew your ideas together. I feel that there is much optimism with regards to not only the current, but also the future offerings of the internet towards the overall progressive movement of the human species. That being said, I also feel that some "negative" social, economical, and political aspects of our species have only been concentrated within the cyber realm. Do you believe that there should be a better means of separating the good ideas from the bad ones? (vagueness on the difference between good/bad put aside that is).

      As an example, the spread of the internet throughout the developed world has increased trade opportunity by massive leaps and bounds. However, it can be argued that this has allowed a general monopoly by only a handful of corporations, and thus lessened the variability of trade opportunities for the common individual. Wouldn't mind your thoughts on this concept!
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        Oct 21 2013: I don't think there is any institution or mechanism that would be considered by all readers to be a reliable judge of the quality or validity of various pieces or sources of information or proposals. One person's guru is another person's charlatan.