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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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We Profoundly Underestimate Animal Intelligence

December 11, 2013, 11:38 AM

10,000 years ago humans domesticated animals. This innovation led to the belief that humans are an exceptional species, an idea that was further inflated when philosophy and religion conveniently placed humans at the center of the universe. 

Today, fixated as we are on reason, humans continue to overlook other types of intelligence that animals possess in abundance. This is the subject of a new book called The Dynamic Human, which puts forward the argument that animals can have cognitive faculties that are exceptional to human beings.

These faculties include the ability to transmit complex information through leaving scents or making varied sounds to communicate across the tropical forest canopy. These scents and sounds are unintelligible to humans, as are the communication systems of killer whales. 


We can go on and on and mention that beavers are better engineers than individual humans, just as bears are better fishermen. The bottom line, the authors argue, is that we have underestimated animal intelligence for a long time, and human reason, which we cherish so much, "is just one variety of intelligence."

Read more here

Image courtesy of Shutterstock


We Profoundly Underestimate...

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