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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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A Computer Scientist Praises Print

March 5, 2010, 10:03 AM

David Gelernter is not a man known for conventional thinking, so perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Yale computer science professor—whose digital-world achievements include the development of the Linda coordination language—mounts such a stirring defense of print media in an interview this week.

"Abolishing the book is like abolishing the symphony," Gelernter argues, noting that the format is a small wonder of design and has been integral to some of humanity's most cherished intellectual achievements. On the one hand, he believes "people are too smart to allow it" to disappear altogether. On the other hand, he observes that his Yale students become "less and less able to express themselves in writing" with each passing year, and believes a failure to reverse that trend will make print media wither into irrelevance.

Gelernter doesn't just talk old media, of course; he also explains the concept of "lifestreaming," which he helped define in the 1990s, and how it is increasingly coming to fruition around the digital universe. The interview was conducted in partnership with the DLD (Digital-Life-Design) conference in Munich.


A Computer Scientist Praise...

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