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Connections by James Burke

September 3, 2008

If you’ve never seen the BBC/PBS series Connections or if you haven’t watched it recently, I highly recommend checking it out. James Burke takes on the causes of change and innovation and the impact on society in a fascinating walk through history and non-linear connections and unforseen consequences. This show was done in 1978 yet its prescience and relevance to today and foreshadowing of our interconnected, communications driven world was right on. The clip below includes his final thoughts at the end of the 10 episode series.

A few nuggets really stick with me as directional for our work today, explaining the increasingly complex to consumers. “They have begun to know that they don’t know so much.” And “…find ways to translate the knowledge, to teach us to ask the right questions.” And this challenge: “Recognize the ability within yourself to understand anything, because that ability is there as long as it’s explained clearly enough. And then go and ask for explanation.” He ended the series a wee bit nervous about the impact of computers.

But in a later series, The Day The Universe Changed, he became more optimistic about what would eventually become the internet we all know and love and wrestle with. I wonder if he’s on Twitter …

For the intellectually curious who are about to run off in search of Connections, it’s on You Tube. Search “Connections James Burke.” You can also buy the series on DVD from PBS.

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