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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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Existential Risk

The Big Idea for Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Here's a rough calculation: there is the potential for there to be 10^54 future humans lives – lives that also have the potential to be far richer in experience than the comparatively drab ones we live today.  

Such is the potential cost of existential risk. A failure to act on threats that are readily identifiable to us today could result not only in taking contemporary intelligent life on Earth out of the game forever but would also prevent 10^54 future humans lives from ever happening. That's a heavy burden.

So what, exactly, constitutes an existential risk? In today's lesson, Neil deGrasse Tyson reminds us that Earth is not the safe pale blue dot we like to think of it as but is actually in the midst of a cosmic shooting gallery. As Tyson points out, we have known about this for some time, but our failure to take appropriate action leaves us incredibly vulnerable. 




  1. 1 We Live in a Cosmic Shooting Gallery
    Jonathan Fowler and Elizabeth Rodd Big Think TV
  2. 2 An Asteroid Could Smash Us
    Edward Sion
  3. 3 Can We Save the Human Race?
    Robert de Neufville Politeia
  4. 4 The Sky IS falling. Should We Worry?
    David Ropeik Risk: Reason and Reality

Existential Risk

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