A reflection on free culture Ted Talks.

Our assignment for this week was to watch six Ted Talks, and pick our favorite four to talk about. All of the talks shared a common theme: free culture. All of the talks made good points and had a lot of truth in them, even though I felt some of them were terribly boring.

My favorite talk was by Lawrence Lessig on re-examining the remix. My favorite part was when he edited Wikipedia live for everyone to see. He pointed out that there are places for the market and places where the market should not exist. His example of this was funny. He used a romantic relationship versus a prostitute. Cultural ecology is defined as “the study of human interaction with ecosystems to determine how nature influences and is influenced by human social organization and culture.” Lessig makes the point that free is important to cultural ecology.  I was also very curious to see where he would go with the left/right thing. I was pleased by the respect he showed towards both sides and how he stated that the left should adopt right ideas and the right should adopt left ideas.

My second favorite talk is by Richard Baraniuk on open-source learning. I like the idea of cutting out the textbooks and allowing teachers to share and modify course materials freely, anywhere in the world. Can you imagine the freedom this would give students? For the cost of the internet, any textbook could be free. Nooks and Kendalls allow you to download books from anywhere in the world, but you still pay for the iBook. College textbooks are expensive, and if you cut the cost of textbooks student’s lives would be a lot easier. (Speaking of textbooks being expensive, I paid $160 for a book and it’s got pages falling out!) I also like the term “educational dj.”

My third favorite talk is by Larry Lessig on laws that choke creativity. (I think I just like Lawrence Lessig in general.) My favorite part of this particular talk was when he made the statement “common sense is uncommon in law.” To be more broad, I believe that common sense is uncommon in general. But he’s right, and not just on the basis of free culture. There are dumb laws pertaining to everything. He also made a good point about people doing things because they love doing it and not just for the money. My momma always told me that the job you’re going to want for the rest of your life is the one that you’d get up and do every day for free. His whole point on this talk was how to revive creative culture, which seems to be a big problem for our society today.

My fourth favorite talk is by Howard Rheingold on collaboration. It’s ironic how “businesses and nations succeed only by defeating destroying and dominating competition” when our nation has laws against monopoly. A monopoly is defined as “the exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service.” To me this talk was a little on the boring side, but it still made many good points. For example, Rheingold said “human communication media and the ways we organize socially have been coevolving for quite some time.” This is very true and I can prove it. In my human communications class and my sociology class, we’re studying the exact same things. Even down to the vocabulary words. It’s really strange to be honest. You don’t even have to study for both classes. Another good point of his is that humans destroy what they depend on. How true is that?


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