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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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Alec Ross on the Next Generation of Diplomacy

August 26, 2009, 11:25 AM

It was big news when Alec Ross joined the White House State Department in early April 2009—the former Obama campaign social media star was the first diplomatic expert with a specialty in technology such as Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging. As it turns out, his services were long overdue given the rapidly evolving international landscape. Ross sat down with Big Think to tell us that the developing countries are more ready than most of us realize to utilize new technologies to conduct targeted “smart” diplomacy, address crises, and distribute important mass communication.

Ross went in detail with Big Think about how, historically, diplomacy has evolved based on advances in communication and how, with today’s leaps in social media, it is changing more quickly and profoundly than ever. He gave some specific examples of how the White House is confronting this new dynamic during political campaigns, international diplomacy, and humanitarian aid missions. And in case you’re wondering exactly how you become the White House social media specialist, Ross shares some unexpected career advice.



Alec Ross on the Next Gener...

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