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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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The Politics of the Internet

The Big Idea for Thursday, March 01, 2012

Who will determine the future of the internet?

As a society, we're still trying to grapple with the political implications: for example, is internet access a human right? Who should regulate it, and how? Is the Internet inherently democratic? And is it "left" or "right"? Big Think contributor Peter Saalfield scrutinizes Karl Rove's claim that the internet is making people more libertarian. True, Silicon Valley is one of the key sources of funding for the libertarian party, he says, but the Internet is not an ideology, it's a tool, and to get lost in an argument over whether the Internet has a partisan bias is to miss the point. "The potential of digital technology is to give people of all points of view a platform for their views"--a platform, and a community.

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales argues that as online censorship becomes increasingly sophisticated, it continues to limit the possibilities for people, governments, and economies. Dominic Basulto objects to the very idea that the internet is lawless terrain in need of government control.


  1. 1 On Facebook, No Nipples Allowed. (But Crushed Limbs are OK.)
    Megan Erickson Think Tank
  2. 2 Is the Internet Making Us More Libertarian?
    Peter James Saalfield Think Tank
  3. 3 Why the "Civilized Internet" is Uncivilized
    Dominic Basulto Endless Innovation
  4. 4 Jimmy Wales on Smart Censorship
    Jimmy Wales

The Politics of the Internet

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