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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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How Access to Instant Information Plays to Our Bad Side

July 8, 2012, 12:00 PM
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What's the Latest Development?

In a rush to report the Supreme Court's decision on the new national health care law, which will take months, if not years, to fully comprehend, both CNN and Fox News got it wrong, announcing that five justices had struck down the law when in fact the opposite was true. This kind of rapid, and incorrect, response is all too common in our age, when "e-mail, social media and the 24-hour news cycle are informational amphetamines, a cocktail of pills that we pop at an increasingly fast pace—and that lead us to make mistaken split-second decisions." Our most immediate responses reflect our evolutionary biases, not values like fairness and temperance. 

What's the Big Idea?

Fortunately, there is a simple remedy to the biased outcomes of quick judgements. Scientists have found that by taking conscious pauses and considering how we are likely to react to a given situation, we can overcome the negative effects of our hard-wired responses. In one experiment which tested doctors' treatment bias against black patients, those doctors who realized what the experiment was testing for, and therefore reflected on how they would treat a black patient, made fairer prescriptions. "Although technology might change the way we react, it hasn’t changed our nature. We still have the imaginative capacity to rise above temptation and reverse the high-speed trend."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

 

 

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