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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.

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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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There's a New Universe of Choices in the World of Ideas

September 26, 2013, 12:00 AM
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For close to twenty years, one third of the country tuned in to NBC on Thursday night to watch the network's "Must See TV" prime time blocks. The dramas and sitcoms that dominated the ratings throughout the 90s became part of the national conversation. Warren Littlefield, the former president of NBC, tells Big Think that if you missed shows like ER or Friends or The West Wing, you didn't want to go to work the next day. You'd be left out.

All of this, of course, has changed, as television has grown from a 50-channel universe to a 200-channel universe. "It’s a different, more competitive world," Littlefield says, but it's also a better world in his view.

Sure, we're never going to see 75 million people joining together on one night, but "the viewer is left with a world of choice, outstanding material on cable television, outstanding material still on network television," Littlefield says. And that's not to mention the Internet, with Netflix entering the game of original programming and winning Emmys

"The more players that want to create original content and finance it," Littlefield says, "the more exciting it is in the world of ideas."

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Image courtesy of Shutterstock

More from the Big Idea for Thursday, September 26 2013

Media Convergence

The media world of today is defined by convergence, that is to say, the tendency for systems to evolve so that the distinction between, for instance, television and the Internet is less clear, and... Read More…

 

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