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: Ian McDonald.