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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.

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Collective Intelligence: The Mating of Ideas

October 30, 2012, 12:00 AM

What's the Big Idea?

The British scientist and author Matt Ridley makes an apt comparison between the spread of knowledge and sexual reproduction. Ideas are not birthed by single parents. The accumulation of knowledge over the course of many generations is in their DNA. That is why Ridley sees all of human progress as the mating of ideas. 

In the video below, Ridley uses the example of a pencil to demonstrate how no single individual alone knows how to manufacture one, and that is why our progress is dependent upon collective intelligence. 

Watch Ridley and other experts on collective intelligence in the video here:

What's the Significance?

Collective intelligence has been around for a long time. What is different today, however, is how collective intelligence, combined with technology, has the power to create what has been described as a "global brain." Technology optimists like Thomas Malone, who heads MIT's Center for Collective Intelligence, argue that this global brain will develop into an awesome problem solving tool that will be able to tackle seemingly insurmountable problems. 

To Matt Ridley, this idea all comes back to human progress. Count him as an optimist. As long as we trust each other we will be able to trade knowledge and expand knowledge at accelerating rates. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Follow Daniel Honan on Twitter @Daniel Honan

To learn more about The Nantucket Project and how to attend the 2013 event visit nantucketproject.com.


Collective Intelligence: Th...

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