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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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Does Digital Distraction Stunt Your Creativity?

September 9, 2012, 8:57 PM

What's the Latest Development?

If you've got work to do at the computer, especially somewhat creative work, to what extent does the unavoidable urge to surf the Net distract from the quality of your enterprise? Apparently a lot. Or that, at least, is the idea behind a couple of software tools that make the Internet and social media inaccessible while you are at the keyboard. One program, called Freedom, "was developed by Fred Stutzman, visiting assistant professor at the University of North Carolina’s School of Information and Library Science, and counts Nick Hornby, Dave Eggers and Naomi Klein among its users."

What's the Big Idea?

Artistic production is more frequently than not born from observation and introspection, two tasks which the Internet keeps us from in the most delightful ways. The Web is an extremely powerful tool, to be sure, but it does not come free. It is actually changing how our brains work. "How can people not think this is changing your brain?" asks the neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield, professor of pharmacology at Oxford University. "How can you seriously think that people who work like this are the same as people 20 or 30 years ago?"

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


Does Digital Distraction St...

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