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.

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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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Using Data, Can We Predict Everything?

January 5, 2012, 11:45 AM

What's the Latest Development?

Science, government and private enterprise are asking if they can predict future events by creatively crunching massive amounts of data made available by you, the individual. As people post more and more information online, computers are getting better at extracting and analyzing data to predict crime rates, stock market fluctuations, the spread of disease, political elections, revolutions and more. Professor Johan Bollen, who developed a method of using Twitter to predict market changes, describes the information revolution as 'a gold rush'. 

What's the Big Idea?

Whether consulting the Oracle at Delphi or a stale fortune cookie, predicting the future is one of our oldest desires (until, perhaps, we see what awaits us). Whether it's the economy or a national election, recent studies have shown that our time's most trusted soothsayer, the expert, rarely outperforms those making uneducated guesses: a dart-throwing monkey, for example. So can large-scale data analysis remove human error from prediction? Will governments and CEO be willing to accept the responsibility that accompanies knowing what's to come.

Photo credit: shutterstock.com



Using Data, Can We Predict ...

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