What is Big Think?  

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

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Big Data

The Big Idea for Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Just how surprised or outraged should we be that the government is tracking our data? If you are terribly surprised, you probably haven't been paying much attention, as there have been many hints over the years that the government is doing exactly exactly what the data operative Edward Snowden revealed it has been doing - running a massive phone and Internet surveillance program.

If you are outraged, that is another matter entirely. Your level of outrage is no doubt dependent on whether or not you regard this surveillance as "a minimal invasion of privacy," as the government wants us to believe, that has been used for the public good.

And yet, even if we give the government the benefit of the doubt on this claim, that does not mean that surveillance will only be used for benign purposes in the future. And today we look at the big ideas involved in this case, from legal precedent to the way we go about our lives as a data-producing species. 



  1. 1 Four Big Ideas Behind the NSA Leak Story
    Nicholas Clairmont Think Tank
  2. 2 Partying Like It’s 1984?
    Steven Mazie Praxis
  3. 3 Big Data is Watching You
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  4. 4 The Dark Side of Big Data: NSA's Surveillance Program
    Orion Jones IdeaFeed

Big Data

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