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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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To Predict the Future with Certainty, Unplug Yourself From the Present

January 24, 2013, 12:00 AM

What's the Big Idea?

We live in an amazingly uncertain world. And uncertainty is especially problematic because it keeps you frozen still in a fast-paced world. Moreover, any assessment based on uncertainty involves a large amount of risk. Therefore, in an uncertain world, the value of certainty is paramount. Daniel Burrus addresses this in his book Flash Foresight, and in the video below. 

Watch the video here:

What's the Significance?

As Burrus points out, there is a science of cycles that allow you to accurately anticipate the future. In fact, there are over 300 known cycles - business cycles, biological cycles, weather cycles. Economists have been trained to follow cycles. Warren Buffett is very rich because he can read cycles better than anyone else. 

According to Burrus, a different kind of change to cyclical change is called linear change. These are developments that are certain to carry on into the future. When countries become modernized, for instance, there's no going back. 

We also know for certain that we will have faster processing chips in the future, and the rate of growth is exponential. That means if you want to measure the progress of technology, you can follow a predicable curve, based on Moore's Law. 

Burrus says that if you are able to add up all of the things you are certain about, you will be able to create an amazing array of opportunities. To do this, he recommends spending an hour every week "unplugging from the present." The present, as Burrus points out, is "more related to your past than your future." The practice of routinely looking ahead will help make the future become visible, and produce certainty. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock


To Predict the Future with ...

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