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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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Hello, Can You Read Me There, China?

October 22, 2012, 10:00 AM
Shutterstock_99761213

What’s the Latest Development?

In places like China and Iran, the government blocks and filters access to certain information on the internet that may go against the politics or ideals of leadership. Every day, over one million people from these countries are using tools like Ultrasurf and Tor to get past “extensive blocking programs and government surveillance.” However, the ever-increasing demand for these services is starting to cause problems so that “online bottlenecks that have made the tools slow and often inaccessible to users.” “Activists and nonprofit groups say that their online circumvention tools, funded by the U.S. government, are being overwhelmed by demand and that there is not enough money to expand capacity.”

What’s the Big Idea?

Internet freedom is turning into a human rights question of the 21st century, and there are conflicting views on how to tackle the issue. While the US is spending around $30 million a year to provide greater access to the internet, other countries continue to spend billions of dollars to censor it.  “Internet freedom activists say part of the challenge in developing online circumvention tools is determining how much to spend now on helping users evade detection vs. how much to spend on more sophisticated projects for the future that could keep pace with censorship technology.”

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

 

 

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