What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

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.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

Autonomous Cars 101 with Brad Templeton

June 25, 2014, 12:00 AM

Tired of driving? Soon hitting the road will be as simple as pressing a button and sitting back and relaxing while a hard drive does all the work.

Depending on where you live, most people rely on their cars. This leads to some staggering statistics: over 33,000 Americas are killed every year in car accidents; 1.2 million killed around the world. The autonomous car will greatly reduce those rates and make driving safer for everyone. We may not have the flying cars of “The Jetsons” yet, but this is certainly a welcomed improvement.

To understand how close we are to seeing self-driving cars on the road, Big Think sat down with Brad Templeton, a renowned software architect and a consultant on Google’s driverless car project, at Exponential Finance, presented by Singularity University & CNBC. What do we have to look forward to, according to Templeton? These cars will be lighter, electric, and intelligent.

“We're going to rewrite really important elements of our society when we make transportation one of these computerized technologies,” says Templeton. “It's going to change a lot more of our lives than people think to have cars that are smart in this way.”

By 2020, “smart cars” (not the German brand—Smart—currently out on the market) will be popping up on freeways. Will their popularity spread like the smart phone craze? Templeton is optimistic, especially given their amazing potential to transform the world.

“These vehicles are so efficient that they don't just beat out the cars we're riding in now, they beat out the trains and the buses, even in Manhattan, even in Japan,” he says. “That's how efficient small lightweight electric vehicles can be at carrying people in terms of energy used to send a person a mile.”

The rise of smart cars will transform geo-politics. Oil rich countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia will be disrupted by this technology as earth-friendly vehicles take over. “This would mean the United States would no longer have to import oil from overseas,” he says. “It also means reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 200 million tons.”

For more on Templeton’s insights into smart cars, visit his Robocars site, and watch this clip from Big Think’s interview:



Autonomous Cars 101 with Br...

Newsletter: Share: