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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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Crowdsourcing Revives Use of Human Computers

December 6, 2011, 8:30 AM

What's the Latest Development?

A new generation of human computers is doing tasks that computers can't. They are employed in large numbers and organised into streamlined workflows. As was the case in the age before electronic computers, their output is combined to generate results that could not easily be produced in any other way. Mechanical Turk, CrowdForge, CastingWords are riding the resurge.

What's the Big Idea?

Microsoft researcher Eric Horvitz envisages a future in which algorithms co-ordinate an army of human workers, physical sensors and conventional computers. Say a child goes missing, an algorithm might assign some volunteers to search duties and others to examine CCTV footage. The system would also trawl local news reports for similar cases and the element combined to create a cyborg detective.


Crowdsourcing Revives Use o...

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