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We are Big Idea Hunters…

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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Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

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Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

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Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

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Collective Intelligence

The Big Idea for Sunday, July 07, 2013

No one person knows how to make a pencil. That is to say, as Matt Ridley has pointed out, no one person is an expert on how to extract graphite as well as design the pencil casing and all of the other steps involved in creating the product. We have to rely on collective intelligence.

In today's lesson, the computer scientist Ramez Naam argues that the ideas the spread are the most useful ideas, and ideas pass the usefulness test through their ability to combine with other ideas and propagate themselves. 

So everything we’re doing in society today, such as expanding access to education and research tools, Naam says, "is accelerating this process of the Darwinian evolution of ideas."

 

Perspectives

  1. 1 Idea Sex: The Evolutionary Logic of Knowledge Transfer
    Big Think Editors Big Think TV
  2. 2 The Wisdom of (Animal) Crowds
    Iain Couzin
  3. 3 Collective Intelligence: The Mating of Ideas
    Daniel Honan Collective Intelligence
  4. 4 The Wisdom of Crowds, Revisited: When The Crowd Goes From Wise to Wrong
    Maria Konnikova Artful Choice
 

Collective Intelligence

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