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


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

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


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.

Find out more

Needed: Regulatory Systems that Adapt to Change

August 12, 2011, 8:30 AM

What's the Latest Development?

Kenneth Oye, an expert in the way governments assess the potential risks posed by new technologies, promotes dialog between policymakers, scientists and other scholars on the best ways of regulating technologies such as synthetic biology and ubiquitous computing. He stresses that government officials should make regulatory systems that are designed to incorporate advances in knowledge.

What's the Big Idea?

Here's an example of why this is important. Participants in a synthetic biology workshop examined two versions of a bug designed to serve as an arsenic detector in groundwater in South Asia. One used a standard E. coli strain, and the other a genetically re-engineered “rE. coli”. “Everyone understood that the basic idea (of the genetic engineering) is to make the bug more exotic, to limit the likelihood of gene flow and make it safer. But the weirder the bug is, the more stringent the regulatory hurdles. The mismatch between regulatory templates and management of the bug was obvious.” 


Needed: Regulatory Systems ...

Newsletter: Share: