How not to be ignorant about the world

In this TED Talk Hans Rosling presents the results of our public surveys that shows that people don’t know key aspects of global development. And Ola Rosling shows that this has nothing to do with intelligence. It’s a problem of factual knowledge. Facts don’t come naturally. Drama and opinions do. Factual knowledge has to be learned. So Ola teachers 4 rules of thumb for not being ignorant about the world.

History

GAPMINDER HISTORY

Gapminder was founded in Stockholm on February 25, 2005, by Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund and Hans Rosling. In 2006, Hans Rosling held his first TED talk on “The best statistics you’ve never seen”. It became one of the most seen TED talks ever, thanks to its unique combination of knowledge-testing, animating bubble charts and storytelling about global development.

The animated bubble graph is a software called Trendalyzer, which Gapminder had developed to make global public data understandable. In 2007 Google acquired Trendalyzer and the team of developers moved to Google’s headquarters in California. Over three years the team improved the user experience for search and exploration of global public data. In 2010 Anna and Ola decided to leave Google and return to Gapminder to develop free teaching material. In order to prioritize what content to include in the teaching material, they started measuring public knowledge (or rather the lack of knowledge) with the Ignorance project. They soon realized that spreading facts was not enough since the problem was bigger. People had an incorrect dramatic worldview.

The Factfulness project was born to help people get a fact-based worldview. Since the world is better than most people think, a fact-based worldview actually reduces stress and anxiety. Using Factfulness you can dismantle the misconceptions that shape the overdramatic worldview.

About

WHAT GAPMINDER IS

Gapminder is an independent Swedish foundation with no political, religious or economic affiliations. Gapminder is a fact tank, not a think tank. Gapminder fights devastating misconceptions about global development. Gapminder produces free teaching resources making the world understandable based on reliable statistics. Gapminder promotes a fact-based worldview everyone can understand.  Gapminder collaborates with universities, UN, public agencies and non-governmental organizations. All Gapminder activities are governed by the board. We do not award grants. Gapminder Foundation is registered at Stockholm County Administration Board. Our constitution can be found here.

 

WHY GAPMINDER EXISTS

We humans are born with a craving for fat and sugar. But we are also born with a craving for drama. We pay attention to dramatic stories and we get bored if nothing happens.

Journalists and lobbyists tell dramatic stories. That’s their job. They tell stories about extraordinary events and unusual people. The piles of dramatic stories pile up in people’s minds into an overdramatic worldview and strong negative stress feelings: “The world is getting worse!”, “It’s we vs. them!” , “Other people are strange!”, “The population just keeps growing!” and “Nobody cares!”

For the first time in human history reliable statistics exist. There’s data for almost every aspect of global development. The data shows a very different picture: a world where most things improve; a world that is not divided. People across cultures and religions make decisions based on universal human needs, which are easy to understand. The fast population growth will soon be over. The total number of children in the world has stopped growing. The remaining population growth is an inevitable consequence of large generations born decades back. We live in a globalized world, not only in terms of trade and migration. More people than ever care about global development! The world has never been less bad. Which doesn’t mean it’s perfect. The world is far from perfect.

The dramatic worldview has to be dismantled, because it is stressful and wrong. It leads to bad focus and bad decisions. We know this because we have measured the global ignorance among the world’s top decision makers in public and private sector. Their global ignorance is high, just like the ignorance of journalists, activists, teachers and the general public. This has nothing to do with intelligence. It’s a problem of factual knowledge. Facts don’t come naturally. Drama and opinions do. Factual knowledge has to be learned. We need to teach global facts in schools and in corporate training. This is an exciting problem to work on and we invite all our users to join the Gapminder movement for global factfulness. The problem can be solved, because the data exists.

 

WHAT GAPMINDER DOES

Instead of wasting our time blaming the media or condemning the human brain, we develop free teaching material to dismantle misconceptions and promote a fact-based worldview.

Gapminder measures ignorance about the world

We identify the most ignored global facts by comparing what people think against the official statistics. We run public polls and we ask knowledge questions to live audiences from stage.

Gapminder makes global data easy to use and understand

We develop data visualization tools to let people explore the vast treasure of global statistics. Since many people hate statistics, we use photos as data to give the numbers meaning. We have sent photographers to 240 homes across the world to show how people really live. That’s what we call a fact-based worldview.

Gapminder provides courses and certificates

We also develop teaching materials and knowledge certificates. With our teacher certificate we want to create a global network of trusted Gapminder teachers who can represent us locally.

Gapminder promotes Factfulness, a new way of thinking

We promote a new way of thinking about the world and the society which we call Factfulness. It is the relaxing habit of carrying opinions that are based on solid facts.

Gapminder collaborates with educators across the world

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