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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.

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

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Is the Internet Deleting Humanity's Historical Record?

May 1, 2012, 11:26 AM
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What's the Latest Development?

Many websites and blogs that catalog our contemporary (electronic) era could be lost by the time historians wish to investigate their content as clues to what our time was like. Stored data decay over time. NASA, for example has lost data from its earlier moon missions because the machines used to read the data were scrapped. "In 2010 the United States Copyright Office exempted publishers of online-only works from the duty of depositing a copy with the Library of Congress unless specifically requested." And according to copyright law, circumventing anti-piracy software to copy and archive digital files is illegal. 

What's the Big Idea?

Even if publishers were to print every electronic document they published, the data which lie behind those documents and give them meaning could be lost as software changes and loses the ability to open old files. Regulators have begun considering the problem. In May, the nation's Copyright Office will hold public hearings to discuss exemptions to the ban on circumventing anti-piracy software. "Without a wider mandate for libraries, giving them the right to store both digital materials and the tools to open it, historians of the future will be unable to reconstruct our times."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


 

Is the Internet Deleting Hu...

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