My Vision for ARS

Dear friends,

We just launched ARS BETA VERSION II yesterday, with insane growth and feedback. We introduced the ‘constructive critique’ function; and I can truly tell you– this is a revolution.

I wanted to share with you what my personal vision for ARS is, and why I am so passionate about ARS.

Breaking the Walls of Social Media Talk at Stanford/Falling Walls Lab

Download my Presentation Slides >

What is ARS?

First of all, what is ARS?

ARS (for now) is a photography feedback platform. When you upload a photo to ARSBETA.COM, your photos are randomly and anonymously distributed to the community of ARS photographers. Then others will provide you with honest feedback and critique.

What can ARS become?

This is where things get interesting. Where can ARS go? What can ARS become (even bigger than photo?)

For me, this is my ultimate vision:

ARS can become the next Apple. ARS will be a photography, art, idea, academic, and educational feedback platform that empowers all creators in society.

The hole

There is a hole. There is currently no platform which has a ‘double blind’ feedback and constructive critique platform.

For us to advance as a species and society, we NEED constructive, real, and brutally honest feedback. But the problem is that most of us cannot give each other truly honest feedback and critique, because we are ‘afraid of hurting one another’s feelings’.

For example, Steve Jobs would often tell Apple employees, ‘This is shit.’ The problem is that just telling people that their work is ‘shit’ isn’t constructive critique. Thus, Steve Jobs would often tell Apple employees why their work was “shit” (in the eyes of Steve, ie. not good enough). I don’t mind others telling me that my work sucks, as long as they give me constructive critique on how I can improve.

Imagine the future

Imagine a society in which all education, technology, and art will advance, for these reasons:

  1. Feedback and constructive critique will be democratized: Just because you are a Ph.D. at Harvard doesn’t mean that your opinion is more “legitimate” than someone with less social status.
  2. Truly honest feedback and critique: A lot of academic advisors often ‘water down’ their feedback to their students, because they don’t want to discourage them. If there is an anonymous platform that incentivizes real feedback and critique, the student would actually push him or herself to make better academic work.
  3. Discovery: With the randomized and the ‘fair’ algorithm of ARS, you can actually have the opportunity to discover new talent, without bias. Without the bias of their gender, their race, their nationality, or their background or education. For example if I am presented with a photography project with some fancy person with some fancy collaboration with a fancy organization, I will probably get suckered by the ‘halo effect‘ (thinking that they are legitimate because of their affiliations, rather than judging their work in a more ‘objective’ way).

There is no limit.

The first design of ARS (done by Annette Kim) was my vision: ARS (with the old-school NASA font):

I wanted to evoke a spirit of exploration, a spirit of innovation, and a spirit of pushing limits:

I want to channel my inner-Elon Musk, my inner-Steve Jobs, to create something truly great– something that will outlast me after I die, and something which will benefit humanity.

I am optimistic about future humanity, and future technology. I don’t think technology is a thing to be shunned. Technology is what makes us more epic humans. Technology is a tool. Technology can be used (in good ways) to augment (increase) our humanness.

For example, photography is augmented reality (photography makes us appreciate the visual world more). Pencil and paper is one of the best ways we can augment our intelligence.

ars beta logo

The danger is– when we become slaves of our technology (rather than making technology our slave). Thus my battle against algorithms, against fearfeeds, as well as the sedative drugs (entertainment, media) which is killing our human ambition, and what we are capable of.

Let us shoot for (beyond) the stars together!


Join the revolution: ARSBETA.COM >

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