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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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High Tech Offshoots for Neglected Markets

October 20, 2011, 11:30 AM

What's the Latest Development?

How do you bring technology to developing countries underserved by the Internet, mobile devices, and other technologies that people in the U.S. take for granted? Two examples are an SMS social network and a “hybrid” slate that converts handwritten paper data entry into a digital format. 

What's the Big Idea?

Umar Saif founded Pakistan-based SMSall, an “SMS social network,” withs 2.7 million users in Pakistan that has conveyed 4 billion SMS messages. For people without good broadband Internet  access, SMS is a good, inexpensive communication tool. Meanwhile, Yale University’s Microsavings and Payments Initiative offers a “hybrid” slate that converts handwritten paper data entry into a digital format, letting people keep using manual accounting but reducing errors.


High Tech Offshoots for Neg...

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