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.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


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

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


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.

Find out more

Big Data

The Big Idea for Sunday, February 02, 2014

If you own a cell phone, like 80 percent of the people in the world, you are constantly producing data. And even if this "data exhaust" may seem like useless information to you, innovative companies everywhere are taking advantage of it, and will continue to devise more advanced ways as they become better and better at complex data analysis.

Just how big is the opportunity in big data? The World Economic Forum has already embraced it as a key asset for the world economy, while others have equated its importance to oil. That's right: big data is the new oil.

The plot thickens when we consider big data's relationship to politics and personal freedom, and that is the subject that Rick Smolan takes up in today's lesson. How will we view the likes of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange in 50 years - as dangerous threats to national security or the heroic defenders of individual liberty? Likewise, how will we view men like J. Edgar Hoover, who used government data for personal gain?



  1. 1 Who is the Enemy of the State?
    Big Think Editors Big Think TV
  2. 2 The Deadly Important Insights of Big Data
    Jonathan Fowler and Elizabeth Rodd Big Think TV
  3. 3 Rick Smolan on Data Exhaust
    Rick Smolan
  4. 4 “Big Data, Better Workforce”
    Haig Nalbantian

Big Data

Newsletter: Share: