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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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Welcome to the Era of Cognitive Computing

June 23, 2013, 12:00 AM

At some point a child might touch a hot plate and his mother will say the word "hot."  That word is then programmed in the child's brain. When someone says, "hot," the child knows to be careful. Eventually, when the child has accumulated enough knowledge he will start to ask the question "why?"

Can computers learn the same way a children learns? 

We are getting to that point, explains Hector Ruiz, the former chariman and CEO of Advanced Micro Devices and the author of Slingshot: AMD's Fight to Free an Industry from the Ruthless Grip of Intel. Ruiz tells Big Think that we are starting to see evidence today that computers can "get to a point where actually they begin to query back and say 'I need more information. Give me more information. Tell me about this.'" 

In the video below, Ruiz points to experiments going on right now in health care, oil exploration and financial transactions that are beginning "to tap the power of cognitive computing." 

Watch here:

Image courtesy of Shutterstock


Welcome to the Era of Cogni...

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