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

New Car Technology & Older Drivers

January 31, 2010, 11:48 AM
The driving task has generally remained the same since the baby boomers learned to drive. That is about to change. New in-vehicle technologies are promising to make us more connected, aware and safe. That promise is not without its challenges.

Warning systems that beep, glow, vibrate or speak are appearing in new vehicles to alert the driver of a possible collision or unsafe distance. Some vehicles appeared on show room floors this year introducing a wide array of 'active safety' applications, e.g., automatic braking systems that will apply pressure if the vehicle senses an imminent collision. More advanced systems will detect driver state -- are you fatigued or stressed -- and possibly intervene to refresh the driver to ensure optimal performance. Other services are providing real-time information through next-gen infotainment systems connecting you to the Web and a wealth of context rich information on everything from where to eat to where to park. 

Insight & Innovations

These innovations all make sense in the abstract. However, these systems fundamentally change the driving experience. Even a novice driver of only a few years has imprinted on their memory 'how to drive.' Drivers with several decades of experience have an even stronger mental model of how to safely operate a vehicle. For example, do I stretch and look to compensate for a blind spot or, like a trained aircraft pilot, 'do I trust my instruments?' New in-vehicle technologies pose a new challenge to the automobile industry, insurers, and transportation policymakers.
  • How do we safely introduce these increasingly intelligent 'autonomous systems' to the driver?
  • What is the impact on insurer underwriting that must address the possible paradox of active safety systems introducing new risks?
  • Is driver education not just for kids anymore - do new vehicle technologies demand lifelong driver education?
  • How do vehicle designers and engineers manage the marriage between consumer electronics and the dashboard to give drivers the mobile lifestyles they may desire but not the distractions they may introduce?
Technology is moving fast. Policy is lagging - how does the transportation safety community (government, manufacturers, insurers and the public) balance innovations on the dash and safety on the roads. For now, the driver is alone and must make their own decision on how to safely self-regulate the use of these systems.

A January 17, 2010 article by the Boston Globe's Hiawatha Bray provides a great overview of things to come - Computing horsepowerCarmakers pack new models with gadgets - and make driving more complex in the process

New Car Technology & Older ...

Newsletter: Share: