Public Sphere: Session 12 at TEDGlobal2012

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Click to watch the session-opening animation.

We end TEDGlobal2012 with a session that steps back and asks, “How do we, as a society, communicate with each other?” The public sphere, the place where we engage with society at large, has undergone tremendous change — driven and empowered by the digital revolution, but also, perhaps, by a deeper human urge to connect. We’ll hear about changes in the arts, in how we argue, and how we debate.

In this session:

Kirby Ferguson, the creator of “Everything Is a Remix,” talks about how the arts have always borrowed and copied from past artists. He’ll talk about that, and share his thoughts on current copyright law.

Media and society theorist Clay Shirky brings a bold new talk — positing that the history of the world is really the history of … arguing.

Michael Anti (Zhao Jing) is a key figure in China’s new journalism, exploring the growing power of the Chinese internet, which boasts some 500 million netizens–including 200 million microbloggers on sites like Sina Weibo. It’s not a western-style space, Anti clarifies, but for China it is revolutionary: It’s the first national public sphere.

For his new book, Andrew Blum visited the places where the internet exists in physical form: the cables and switches and servers that virtually connect us. Take a quick tour of Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet.

How do organizations think? In her new book, Wilful Blindness, and in trenchant articles, Margaret Heffernan examines why businesses (and people) ignore the obvious. We sidestep touchy issues to avoid conflict, but as she says: “Conflict is thinking. And organizations that don’t have any conflict aren’t thinking.”