At The Speed Of Thought

Episodes

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01Scott Lash On 'liquid Modernity'20121001

This week's Essays present five reflections on what's been called 'liquid modernity' - the ways today's more or less instantaneous digital communication are affecting the managing both of events and ideas.

Tonight, as an introduction to the series, Professor Scott Lash of Goldsmiths, University of London, discusses concept and the digital world that gave rise to it.

'Nowism', the fleeting nature of the processes and 'micro-events' that populate contemporary life are difficult to escape. The sociologist Zygmunt Bauman calls it, eloquently, 'liquid modernity', but the term simply captures some very real and yet tricky aspects of contemporary culture. In these five talks, by leading thinkers in the field, we explore different aspects of this present tense existence. How much does immediate and ubiquitous access to information affect the way we retain knowledge - do we actually know less? - and how is this re-calibrating the idea of wisdom? With pop-up stores, restaurants and theatre spaces a growing phenomenon of urban living, the appeal of the fleeting, of the easily missed is being realised economically and creatively. And to what extent do the machine-driven algorithms of the trading floors drive and modify the way money flows and international economies operate?

Producer: Simon Elmes.

02Laurence Scott On Information Vs. Knowledge20121002

This week's Essays present five reflections on what's been called 'liquid modernity' - the ways today's more or less instantaneous digital communication are affecting the managing both of events and ideas.

Tonight, Laurence Scott reflects on how instantly available information, sourceable at the click of a mouse or a tap of a keypad, is affecting the way we know things. Are we becoming information-rich and knowledge-poor, and where does the older concept of 'wisdom' belong in the digital domain?

'Nowism', the fleeting nature of the processes and 'micro-events' that populate contemporary life are difficult to escape. The sociologist Zygmunt Bauman calls it, eloquently, 'liquid modernity', but the term simply captures some very real and yet tricky aspects of contemporary culture. In these five talks, by leading thinkers in the field, we explore different aspects of this present tense existence. How much does immediate and ubiquitous access to information affect the way we retain knowledge - do we actually know less? - and how is this re-calibrating the idea of wisdom? With pop-up stores, restaurants and theatre spaces a growing phenomenon of urban living, the appeal of the fleeting, of the easily missed is being realised economically and creatively. And to what extent do the machine-driven algorithms of the trading floors drive and modify the way money flows and international economies operate?

Producer: Simon Elmes.

03Claire Wardle On How News Travels Fast...20121003

This week's Essays present five reflections on what's been called 'liquid modernity' - the ways today's more or less instantaneous digital communication are affecting the managing both of events and ideas.

Tonight, Claire Wardle of the 'Storyful' newsgathering platform, who has worked extensively with broadcasters around Europe, explores the effects of instantaneously available news flows on the way we view our world, and interact with one another. "The impact of social networks for newsgathering is huge. There is more information from people witnessing news events from the ground than ever before, and as a result more pictures, videos and sources. But there's also a downside. The ability of people to click one retweet button means that false information can also spread just as fast..."

'Nowism', the fleeting nature of the processes and 'micro-events' that populate contemporary life are difficult to escape. The sociologist Zygmunt Bauman calls it, eloquently, 'liquid modernity', but the term simply captures some very real and yet tricky aspects of contemporary culture. In these five talks, by leading thinkers in the field, we explore different aspects of this present tense existence. How much does immediate and ubiquitous access to information affect the way we retain knowledge - do we actually know less? - and how is this re-calibrating the idea of wisdom? With pop-up stores, restaurants and theatre spaces a growing phenomenon of urban living, the appeal of the fleeting, of the easily missed is being realised economically and creatively. And to what extent do the machine-driven algorithms of the trading floors drive and modify the way money flows and international economies operate?

Producer: Simon Elmes.

04Paola Tubaro On Mobs And Mobiles20121004

This week's Essays present five reflections on what's been called 'liquid modernity' - the ways today's more or less instantaneous digital communication are affecting the managing both of events and ideas.

Tonight, Paola Tubaro of the University of Greenwich, who's made a study of the role of digital communication in the 2011 riots in England, examines the 'dark side' of social media: "in the cases of Tunisia and Egypt, everyone praised social media as instruments of democracy; but in the midst of the riots, the same power of social media to bring people together and organise collective action appeared scarier..."

'Nowism', the fleeting nature of the processes and 'micro-events' that populate contemporary life are difficult to escape. The sociologist Zygmunt Bauman calls it, eloquently, 'liquid modernity', but the term simply captures some very real and yet tricky aspects of contemporary culture. In these five talks, by leading thinkers in the field, we explore different aspects of this present tense existence. How much does immediate and ubiquitous access to information affect the way we retain knowledge - do we actually know less? - and how is this re-calibrating the idea of wisdom? With pop-up stores, restaurants and theatre spaces a growing phenomenon of urban living, the appeal of the fleeting, of the easily missed is being realised economically and creatively. And to what extent do the machine-driven algorithms of the trading floors drive and modify the way money flows and international economies operate?

Producer: Simon Elmes.

05 LASTFelix Salmon On High-frequency Trading20121005

This week's Essays present five reflections on what's been called 'liquid modernity' - the ways today's more or less instantaneous digital communication are affecting the managing both of events and ideas.

With work under way to develop a new sub-Arctic cable that will carry data faster across the world and reputedly shave microseconds off the time taken for computers in stock markets to respond to trades, in the final Essay of the series, New York-based financial journalist Felix Salmon uncovers the world of high-frequency trading and its part in the current financial crisis.

'Nowism', the fleeting nature of the processes and 'micro-events' that populate contemporary life are difficult to escape. The sociologist Zygmunt Bauman calls it, eloquently, 'liquid modernity', but the term simply captures some very real and yet tricky aspects of contemporary culture. In these five talks, by leading thinkers in the field, we explore different aspects of this present tense existence. How much does immediate and ubiquitous access to information affect the way we retain knowledge - do we actually know less? - and how is this re-calibrating the idea of wisdom? With pop-up stores, restaurants and theatre spaces a growing phenomenon of urban living, the appeal of the fleeting, of the easily missed is being realised economically and creatively. And to what extent do the machine-driven algorithms of the trading floors drive and modify the way money flows and international economies operate?

Producer: Simon Elmes.