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

The Quantified Self

The Big Idea for Friday, February 15, 2013

If you care about your personal health, you can track your progress in real-time, thanks to technologies that leverage personal data. What exactly does this data do for you?

For one thing, when linked up with social media, you can share your accomplishments with friends. This "motivational hack" works like an accelerating engine. As you compare your achievements with friends, it is human nature to want to look good in their eyes. 

In today's lesson, photographer Rick Smolan, who heads the Human Face of Data project, explores the way that the data revolution is demonstrating its enormous potential through the mobile health revolution. In numerous ways we are able to track our behaviors and the behaviors of others that we care about (such as aging parents) in ways that enable us to accelerate our own progress or respond to emergencies more quickly. 


  1. 1 How to Read Your Own Body With Data
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  2. 2 Counting Down to the Era of the Quantified Self
    Dominic Basulto Endless Innovation
  3. 3 Can Big Data Change Who You Are?
    Rick Smolan
  4. 4 Launching a Democratization of Data Science
    Stephen Wolfram Experts' Corner

The Quantified Self

Newsletter: Share: