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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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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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Targeted Web Ads Tied to Your Credit Card Buys

October 25, 2011, 7:00 AM
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What's the Latest Development?

Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. are investigating using what they know about people's credit-card purchases to target online ads for them. One holy grail would be, for example, to show a weight-loss ad to a person who just swiped their card at a fast-food chain—then track whether they bought the advertised products. So instead of your Web ads generally being based on your online activity, they'd also be linked to your bricks-and-mortar world.

What's the Big Idea?

The plan, if implemented, would not only be a technological feat—tying people's Internet lives with shopping activities—but erode Web privacy. "It's an effort by the two companies to profit by selling access to the insights they gather about people with every credit-card transaction," writes Emily Steel. After all, 'You are what you buy,' aren't you?

 

Targeted Web Ads Tied to Yo...

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