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

Today's Big Idea: Authenticity

The Big Idea for Wednesday, August 22, 2012

When you join a social network, Jaron Lanier says, "you start to parse yourself into hash tags and circles or whatever the scheme is of the particular social network." That may not seem so dehumanizing in the short term, but after many years, Lanier argues, you will find that you have regimented yourself according to the way these networks want you to conform. 

Lanier, who is an outspoken critic of many of the features of Web 2.0, is deeply concerned about the type of conformity and the associated behaviors it engenders. 

So what forms of information technology are truly valuable, which both consumers and small businesses can get behind?

Lanier says it is those endeavors that really "add something to the world," in the sense that someone can take responsibility for it, and just as crucially, receive a reward for it, as opposed to making users into "some fragment in a giant statistical effect." Apps do that, Lanier says. "Kickstarter ventures do that. Products like Kinect do that for the people who make them and design experiences on them." Lanier sees the future in these types of ventures. 



  1. 1 Jaron Lanier: What it Means to be #Human
    Jason Gots Input/Output
  2. 2 How to Win Friends and Influence People All Over The World
    Big Think Editors Think Tank
  3. 3 The Value of Our Online Participation
    Clay Shirky
  4. 4 Taming the Herd Mentality
    Iain Couzin

Today's Big Idea: Authenticity

Newsletter: Share: