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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.

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Today’s Big Idea: Deep Learning

The Big Idea for Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Although "deep learning" is a highly technical subfield of computer programming, its core concept is fairly simple: more complex representations are built up from simpler ones. The principle holds true in the realm of human cognition: we build a complex grasp of language upon a few simple rules. Sophisticated philosophy is the end result of an iterative process that begins with a rudimentary grasp of cause and effect. 

The concept has powerful implications not only for programmers, but for educators seeking to structure curricula in ways that take into account the way our minds naturally think and learn. The most obvious lesson here is that analogy is a powerful teaching tool. We learn best when exposed to the same pattern across a range of contexts, rather than by memorizing lists of domain-specific minutiae. And the best way to teach pattern-recognition is through project-based learning, in which students apply general principles to a wide range of problems. 


  1. 1 Ray Kurzweil: Memorization is For Robots. People Learn By Doing.
    Jason Gots Think Tank
  2. 2 The Most Amazing Race: Reverse-Engineering the Brain
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  3. 3 IBM's Watson Computer Beats the Superstars of Jeopardy! But What Does it Mean?
    Michio Kaku Dr. Kaku's Universe
  4. 4 How World of Warcraft Could Save Your Business and The Economy
    Jason Gots Think Tank

Today’s Big Idea: Deep Lear...

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