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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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On the 20th Anniversary of the Web, Its Inventor Sounds a Warning

December 29, 2010, 12:00 AM

The World Wide Web turned 20 this month.  To mark the occasion, its creator and protector, Tim Berners-Lee (who invented it so that particle physicists from CERN—the current home of the Large Hadron Collider—could collaborate remotely) warns that the egalitarian ubiquity of the Web "is being threatened in different ways. Some of its most successful inhabitants have begun to chip away at its principles. Large social-networking sites are walling off information posted by their users from the rest of the Web. Wireless Internet providers are being tempted to slow traffic to sites with which they have not made deals. Governments—totalitarian and democratic alike—are monitoring people’s online habits, endangering important human rights." In an essay for Scientific American, Berners-Lee urges us to treat the Web as a public resource and resist forces that threaten its universality.

Does Berners-Lee have any regrets about his invention?  He admitted, in an earlier interview with the New York Times, that if he could design the Web again, he wouldn't require the double slash (the //) after the "http:" in Web addresses that has become the bane of sloppy typists everywhere. 

Jay Rosen, who teaches a course at NYU on "The Rise of the Web," spoke to Big Think about Berners-Lee's motivation in inventing the Web.



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