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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.

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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.

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Man Versus Machine

The Big Idea for Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The transition to the automation, or robot economy, is happening right now, and it is happening rapidly. 

This transition is most apparent in China, where the Taiwanese-owned manufacturer Foxconn plans to build up to one million robots over three years to either replace or augment human workers. 

And yet, where will products be manufactured in the future? Right now China has the edge, particulalry in building cheap electronics products. Yet others see a manufacturing renaissance in the U.S. On the other hand, innovations in 3D-printing may soon render manufacturing as we know it obsolete. 


  1. 1 Foxconn, Revisited
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  2. 2 The Robot Hiring Boom Has Arrived
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  3. 3 A U.S. Manufacturing Renaissance?
    Jason Gots Re-Envision
  4. 4 Goodbye, Knowledge Workers. Hello, Insight Workers!
    Megan Erickson Think Tank

Man Versus Machine

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