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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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Don't Feel Obligated to Read This, Or Anything Else Online

January 10, 2014, 12:00 PM
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One of the beautiful things about the Internet is that everybody has a voice. And one of the terrible things about the Internet is that everybody has a voice.

A lot of people don’t have anything worth listening to, and so sifting through that and finding a way to determine the signal out of all that noise is one of the challenges of our time.  It’s part of the hallmark of shifting from an economy and an ecology of scarcity to one of abundance.

Look at a grocery store in the US.  That is a fantastical concept to someone from 50 years ago. It’s still a fantastical concept to people from developing nations.  You go to a Star Market or a Walgreens or a Giant Foods or a Whole Foods or what have you.  How many choices of cereal do we need?  We’ve got like 80 choices of cereal, diet cereal, Chocó Cocoa Crispy, nutty cereal, cereal with oxytocins in them, cereal with herbs and whatnot, weed-infused cereal, probably vodka-infused and baco-infused, Coca Pebbles.

It’s getting a bit nuts and so what that industry has done is kind of thrown a lot of money at marketing and paying for positioning in the store and trying to convince you that this cereal is worth more than that cereal. That is part of the solution, but don’t feel as a reader, as a digester, as a downloader of this vast world of abundance that you have to feel obligated to read it all, to view it all.

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

 

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