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

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Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

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World Renowned Bloggers

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Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

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Big Think Edge

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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.

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How Social Media Created an Echo Chamber for Ideas

August 15, 2014, 4:00 PM
Clones

In the early days of social media, idealists dreamed of a digital market place for ideas, the kind that might help rejuvenate a democracy too often given over to distractions. If communication were nearly effortless, the reasoning went, people would have much less to lose by listening to those of different ideological stripes. Today, however, sociologists have concluded that social media often entrench people's ideological positions and even make those positions more extreme. Witness the age of a bitterly divided America.

Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein has studied this phenomenon at length, finding that deliberation among a group of likeminded people moves the group toward a more extreme point of view. 

"The mere discussion of, or deliberation over, a certain matter or opinion in a group may shift the position of the entire group in a more radical direction. The point of view of each group member may even shift to a more extreme version of the viewpoint they entertained before deliberating."

Thus individuals, companies, and other organization looking to understand the world in new ways must develop tools to deliberately include opinions that they do not agree with. The problem of general agreement to the exclusion of new ideas is particularly a problem in our universities, explains Harvard english professor Louis Menand in his Big Think interview:

Read more at the Conversation

Photo credit: Shutterstock

 

 

How Social Media Created an...

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