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

Would You Prefer A Computer As Your Anesthesiologist?

November 2, 2013, 3:00 PM

What's the Latest Development?

MIT neuroscientist and Massachusetts General Hospital anesthesiologist Emery Brown has designed an automated anesthesia delivery system that he says can be used to safely maintain a patient in a medically-induced coma. The system consists of a computerized brain-machine interface that monitors the patient's brain activity via an electroencephalogram (EEG) and provides the appropriate amount of anesthetic as needed. Tests done on rats have proven successful, as described in a paper published in PLoS Computational Biology.

What's the Big Idea?

Medically-induced comas are normally used to treat seizures or alleviate brain swelling, yet they require near-constant human monitoring. Brown says that his studies of the anesthetized brain reveal a pattern of EEG activity that's easily recognizable by a computer, and in fact the computer could be better than a human at determining and adjusting sedation levels. Duke anesthesiologist Mark Newman says that while such systems can make sedation more precise, tracking EEG signatures alone isn't enough to ensure safety in coma patients. Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson has developed a similar automated system that will arrive on the market early next year.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at MIT Technology Review


Would You Prefer A Computer...

Newsletter: Share: