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

1

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

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

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
Close

Hurray for SOPA!

January 20, 2012, 1:56 PM
Piracy

What's the Big Idea?

Big Think co-founder Peter Hopkins is fond of thinking against the grain, and when it comes to the current debate over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), Hopkins's thinking is true to form. 

According to Hopkins, while SOPA has been "vilified and grossly mischaracterized," the proposed law is actually necessary to protect the people he calls "the content innovators." These are not people like Rupert Murdoch. They are people without a platform or a voice but aim to "make content smarter." And yet, according to Hopkins, this small group of "unsung heroes" have had "every single obstacle thrown in their path."

These obstacles include the mega-media companies, who are not true innovators and often "think in old and fixed ways," Hopkins says. In addition, content innovators have been undervalued by the venture capital world, and most importantly, they have been "ripped off by foreign entities." That is why Hopkins argues that SOPA, imperfect as it might be, is a reasonable protection that he supports.

Watch the video here:

 

What's the Significance?

Does Peter Hopkins really support censorship? Of course not. For one thing, as Hopkins points out, SOPA does not alter anything about free speech that isn't already inscribed in existing copyright law. But free speech is also simply the wrong issue to be leading with, he says. 

"Any time somebody represents themselves as the ultimate defender of such a central and core right it is worth looking more deeply," Hopkins says. Is the technology industry really a credible defender of free speech? Look at their track record, Hopkins says. "If this is such a core principal why do they accept and work in so many instances within much tighter and draconian bounds that limit the freedom of speech of others who use their programs in other parts of the world?" Hint: think China. These companies both limit speech by preventing certain pages to load, and put a chill on speech by scanning and reporting user activities to governments. 

It is very difficult to reconcile these positions with certain tech companies' sudden embrace of free speech as it relates to SOPA. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Follow Daniel Honan on Twitter @Daniel Honan

More from the Big Idea for Sunday, March 10 2013

Open Internet

How did a grass roots movement take on an industry with a powerful lobby and win?  The SOPA movement shows us how traditional power structures are being turned on their head to create a future ... Read More…

 

Hurray for SOPA!

Newsletter: Share: