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

Data: Promiscuity & Privacy

April 12, 2011, 8:55 AM

What's the Big Idea?

What would be the consequences of a bipartisan bill proposing limits on what companies can do with online user activity and profile data? If we require that sharing of user data between companies be opted-into by users, and that users be able to see what data about them is being shared between companies, what might be the unexpected and undesired consequences? Big corporations have the resources to find a way around any new rules but small startups—which use user data to create new software and services - could be one of the potential and unintended victims.

What's the Most Recent Development?

Marshall Kirkpatrick fears that potential laws requiring users to opt-in for data-sharing would unnecessarily and harmfully block the "huge flowing river of online user data." He argues that consumers have a lot to gain from keeping the flow free. While data privacy violations can harm real people, he notes, "there's a difference between showing private info to other individual people and machines processing personal info in bulk. It's not the mysterious machines to be afraid of, it's the real-live creeps you actually know."



Data: Promiscuity & Privacy

Newsletter: Share: