Sunday 30 January 2011

Living With New Reality

How many planets are there orbiting the sun? The answer was nine when I was at school. However, to the disappointment of many, the International Astronomical Union decided to drop Pluto from the definition of planet and now we only have eight planets in our Solar system. Astronomers estimate there are around 70,000 similar objects out there.

Now let move to soccer. Fortunately, the Asian Cup will remain in "real Asia" as Japan was crowned the champion when they defeated Australia. Some might be wondering why Australia is competing in an Asian soccer tournament? Too me at least the Australians finally accepted that they are closer to Asia then Europe or the United States and participating in Asian soccer tournament could be the first step to accept that fact.

The two episodes mentioned above are among the indicators that what were accepted as truth in the past may not necessarily be so in the future. There are many reasons for that. Availability of new information and knowledge is one of the drivers. Perhaps this is what Alvin Toffler has been describing as obsoledge, that knowledge becomes obsolete fairly quickly in the era of information and technology.

Would this phenomena affects our live? I'm sure each and every of us are experiencing it in one way or another. Chats over dinner has been transformed from face to face to chats over social media such as Facebook and Twitter. I had met many people who complained about why many of us prefer to communicate with virtual friends rather than real friends in front of them.

Facebook and Twitter did not just change the way we interact among ourselves but have started to move into more high risk territory, the political dimension. I am sure we could remember how Obama won his election and how the Republicans responded by investing in social media in winning more seats in both houses in Washington recently. Social media has moved from enabling information and knowledge sharing into shaping the new reality of how we organise ourselves among relatives, friends and the society at large. I am sure those in Middle East would appreciate this comment deeper.

Where do we go from here?

Some may try to stop a moving train by introducing new obstacles, good luck to them. Some may accept the reality that we have to live with a world where misconducts could be revealed to the world at large quickly. As we have the options to decide which lens to use in observing the new realities around us, being truthful to the facts would enable us to rationally figure out the next steps.

Things will continue to change and the preferred future is when societies are able to live with information overload and able to differentiate between facts, fraud and fantasy. 


Irene Cho said...

Unfortunately, most people are still very naive about the super power of the Internet. It can be very good and very bad at the same time. Take the issue of the dog abuser which was widely circulated on Facebook. Over coffee chat with a colleague, she had decided that the lady in question is guilty based on all the "evidence" presented on Facebook. I asked her what made you so sure it is that lady? She said "In her Facebook page ... she talked about the abuse as though it was nothing wrong!" and I replied "Could there be a fact that there is someone out there who really hate this person and created a Facebook account and start pretending to be her and thus causing quite a number of people to abuse her verbally?". She didn't replied my question but she had already decided that the women is guilty and that opinion is set on hard cement.
Also with the issue of the dog abuser, if you had bumped into that Facebook page about this issue you could see all the abuse that is hurled around. I thought to myself "Is not these people who verbally or in this sense virtually abuse these two person, is as bad as the two person who abused the dog?"
Unfortunately, wisdom not something that be can taught, not even at Harvard ;)
So, sometimes I am afraid to live in this new reality :)

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