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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.

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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Personalized Medicine

The Big Idea for Wednesday, January 11, 2012

This week Big Think didn't visit the consumer technology trade show in person in Las Vegas, but we did, as you should too, follow Peter Diamandis on Twitter, and we followed with great interest the latest X Prize competition that he officially unveiled, a development we have been following since May

Read here about the latest X Prize competition to "develop a mobile solution that can diagnose patients better than or equal to a panel of board certified physicians." That's right, robot doctors armed with awesome computing power. Will that disrupt the field of medicine? You bet, and just imagine the impact this technology could have on the bottom billion of the world who lack access to doctors, as well as for the developed world that is drowning in the rising cost of medical diagnosis.  

No offense to human doctors. There just aren't enough of you. In fact, access to doctors ranges wildly around the world. To better understand the way doctors are distributed around the globe in relation to population, consider this illustrative map. Cuba is the global leader, with the lowest patient-to-doctor ratio of 170 to 1. Tanzania, on the other hand, is dead last with a 50,000 to 1 ratio. 


  1. 1 Making the Science Fiction-Inspired Star Trek Tricorder a Reality
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  2. 2 The Virtual Doctor is Here to See You Now
    Dominic Basulto Endless Innovation
  3. 3 The Dawn of Personalized Medicine
    Francis Collins
  4. 4 185 - The Patients Per Doctor Map of the World
    Frank Jacobs Strange Maps

Personalized Medicine

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