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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Near Death Experiential and Our Increasingly Strange Future

January 27, 2014, 6:41 PM

Our vision of the future is very much informed by our current cultural landscape. As we work together to create a more tangible version of that world, it's important to understand how social systems are coalescing. That's why we've created the Elements of Culture, a networked collection of 80+ macro trends that define the world at large. Broken into humanity, aesthetics, science/technology, ideology and media, this framework serves to guide everything we do at sparks & honey. We've just released a report detailing 10 of the most important elements of culture for 2014 (and beyond!). As part of this exercise we've imagined the extremes of these trends, viewing their trajectory into the future. Here's a sneak peek of four big ideas reflecting how this future may come to be. For six more, make sure to check out the full report

Near Death Experiential: 

In an effort to cut through social noise and the declining ability to surprise people, marketing and entertainment companies will push the boundaries of human tolerance. Expect haunted houses, roller coasters, or puzzle rooms that can quite literally scare you to death (after you’ve signed the waiver) and marketing that’s so in your face, it could kill you.

Ultra Anonymous Living:

Cities will spring up that take anonymity to a logical extreme (in opposition to modern panopticons, like London and New York). Names will not be allowed, citizens will be required to wear masks at all times, housing will only be temporary, forcing residents to rotate where they call home. No one will ever card you at a bar, because no one will ever know you existed in the first place.

The Longest Con:

Faking is gaining steam as a tool to create buzz and conversation. As this movement escalates, new examples will be forced to grow more and more outlandish in order to compete. Expect a long con, international in magnitude that presents something unquestioned as fact as an elaborate marketing stunt – for example, the entire North Korean military regime being a fictional setup for the next installment of Mission Impossible. 

Microbial Entrepreneurs:

The sharing economy and interest in microbes have evolved in parallel. Look for communities growing more comfortable with the idea of sharing each other's best microbes for health and wellness. Pioneering entrepreneurs will take advantage of this shift by building businesses that specialize in the sale of exceptional microbes to those who are deficient.

Nate Graham is a Cultural Strategist at sparks & honey, a next generation agency that helps brands synchronize with culture. Follow us on Twitter at @sparksandhoney to stay up to date on the latest high energy trends.



Near Death Experiential and...

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