Let’s burst our bubbles.

Oct 11th, 2017

In May 2017 we asked, can you really trust technology? Sarah Parsonage opened the event by calling on us all to ‘burst our bubbles’. Read Sarah’s introduction in One Edition, One Question in print. 

The majority of us live in bubbles. Be it in our industries, our communities, our social circles or our political and economic opinions. We understandably choose to surround ourselves with people who think like us, who like the same things as us and who share our ideals and values. This is not new; this type of thinking dates back to when time began. However, as we continue into another year of political uncertainty and such divided opinions and values, both in Europe and Globally, it is becoming ever more obvious that creating our own bubbles and residing in our comfort zones is not always healthy.

The question, whether technology has exacerbated our propensity to live in real and virtual bubbles, is an interesting debate. Earlier this year, Tim Berners-Lee wrote an open letter, marking 28 years of his creation and highlighting his concern for the future of the web; “I imagined the web as an open platform that would allow everyone, everywhere to share information, access opportunities and collaborate across geographic and cultural boundaries.” However, it is increasingly apparent that whilst we might be the most connected generation of our time, we are also more disconnected from real life and real people. Through innovations in technology, we are now able to create our own news feed, our own music choices and our own individual political ‘campaigns’. In short, we are creating personal echo chambers.

The irony is that Berners-Lee’s desire to create something that crossed cultural boundaries and strengthen communities has actually divided societies, opinions and created such a wealth of noise that we are retiring further into our individual bubbles, unable to distinguish between authentic opinion and data or empathise with cultures different to that of our own.

This in itself was not the only reason I chose to ask the pertinent question “can we really trust technology?” It was why I set up One Question six months ago.  In my introduction in One Edition, Volume One, I talked about the desire to create an event that challenges the way we think about our every day, whilst asking the difficult questions; ‘why?’ and ‘how?’. This is, and will remain to be, the main purpose of One Question and by asking this ‘one question’ from varying perspectives including AI, Advertising, Government, Data, Finance, Healthcare and more, we are forced to look outside of our everyday lives and understand how we can not only learn from different industries but strengthen existing relationships and build new ones in real life. In short, we are encouraged to burst our own bubbles.