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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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Today's Big Idea: Collective Intelligence

The Big Idea for Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Perhaps our success as a species depends on how well we're able to use our global collective intelligence "to make choices that are not just smart but also wise."

This what Tom Malone and Matt Ridley both believe. Malone is the director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence where he uses teams to tackle global problems like climate change. Matt Ridley is a scientist and self-described "rational optimist." Ridley believes that all human progress is tied to the "mating of ideas," and he says we will enjoy enormous prosperity in the future so long as we trust each other enough to trade knowledge. 

Technology promises to dramatically accelerate the speed of knowledge transfer. While collective intelligence has been around for a long time, Malone asks this crucial question for all his research projects: How can people and computers be connected so that--collectively--they act more intelligently than any individuals, groups, or computers have ever done before?



  1. 1 Collective Intelligence: The Mating of Ideas
    Daniel Honan Collective Intelligence
  2. 2 Fred Hassan on Technology Driving Innovation
    Fred Hassan
  3. 3 5 Big Moments in the History of Knowledge Transfer
    Jason Gots Think Tank
  4. 4 The Future of Quantum Computing
    Michio Kaku

Today's Big Idea: Collectiv...

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