One of the entries for the Index design award was the Dropping Knowledge website. It’s a fun, if somewhat difficult concept which lets anybody ask a question, and gives anybody else the opportunity to offer their answers.
It is an attempt to use the new sort of participatory culture to find or reach contemplative answers to difficult questions, and thereby highlight some of the many political, social and cultural issues of the day. Just how well it achieves this is open for discussion, since most of the questions asked are so open-ended that it is difficult to answer them without much exposition.
This is perhaps best illustrated by “The Table of Free Voices” event, which brought together 100 thinkers from around the globe to sit around a table in Berlin and answer 100 questions asked on the website. Among the participants were people like Bill Joy, founder of Sun Microsystems, Mongolian author Galsan Tschinag, and German physicist Hans-Peter Dürr. This has resulted in a huge databank of the recordings of each participant’s 100 answers, which each viewer then can watch and contemplate as they see fit.
It’s an interesting experiment, but I cannot help but wonder whether these questions and answers actually help much, or if they just create more confusion and indecision.