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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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Stephen Hawking, Ray Kurzweil, Michio Kaku: Whose Idea Will Most Impact Our World -- You Decide!

July 6, 2011, 12:00 AM

Which scientific idea--offered up by experts such as Ray Kurzweil, Michio Kaku, Stephen Hawking and others--will impact our world the most? See our top contenders and vote for your favorite by sharing it on Facebook with your friends.

1. Biotechnology Will Stop Aging 

Futurist Ray Kurzweil says the coming biotechnology revolution will allow us, in the next 15 to 20 years, to reprogram our genes to resist both aging and disease. By mid-century, we may all be kept healthy and young by billions of nanorobots inside of our bodies. According to Kurzweil, this breakthrough will open the gates of immortality.

Watch the video and vote by sharing it with your friends on Facebook here.

2. Adapting to Climate Change

"Climates always change" says Heidi Hammel, Senior Research Scientist at the Space Science Institute. "The question is, how are we going to adapt to climate change?" Geo-engineering? "I don’t think is the right way to do it," Hammel says. "How can we set up our population systems in cities so that they can react to a changing climate, you know, whether it’s getting hotter or colder. Mother nature will always throw surprises at us, and so here we are planning for this global warming. Well, 30 years ago we were planning for global cooling. It just goes to point out that we’re never really quite sure what we’re going to deal with. We need to be ready to deal."

Watch the video and vote by sharing it with your friends on Facebook here.
3. The Future Brain: Computers Will Read Our Thoughts

Technology is replicating and replacing functions long held in the brain. What does offloading your brain to technology mean for such vital human capacities as memory and creativity? Dr. Gary Small, Professor of Psychiatry and Aging, UCLA School of Medicine, says in the future you will wear a headband that will read your thoughts, so when you think a thought it will be translated wirelessly.

Watch the video and vote by sharing it with your friends on Facebook here.

4. Energy From Fusion in 20 Years

Sure, scientists always say that fusion is 20 years away, but this time theoretical physicist Michio Kaku says it’s for real. How significant would this be? Dr. Kaku tells Big Think "Fusion is the power of the sun, the possibility of using ordinary seawater to create unlimited amounts of energy due to thermonuclear reactions on the Planet Earth." Kaku adds that possessing such a vast amount of clean power in just two decades might not be one moment too soon, as the planet may very well be choking on greenhouse gases.

Watch the video and vote by sharing it with your friends on Facebook here.

5. Abandon Earth for Another Planet

Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking says all we have to do is survive another two hundred years and the human race will be saved, because by that point human settlements in space will already be well-established. "I believe that the long-term future of the human race must be in space," Hawking tells Big Think.

Watch the video and vote by sharing it with your friends on Facebook here.



Stephen Hawking, Ray Kurzwe...

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