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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: Disrupting Education

The Big Idea for Saturday, October 27, 2012

On a panel dedicated the status of America's higher education system, Peter Hopkins painted a picture of a system in decay. It is saddling students with enormous debt while failing to deliver real value to help them earn higher wages. 

Hopkins, along with Peter Thiel, Vivek Wadhwa, Larry Summers and Harvard dean Mike Smith, debated solutions for the higher education challenge at The Nantucket Project, a festival of ideas held earlier this month.

Technology has the potential to give millions of people access to knowledge and the trend right now is to make courses available, through ventures such as edX. 

So as the cost of knowledge declines is our current system of higher education -- which in many cases charges upwards of $200,000 for a four-year degree -- on a sustainable path?


  1. 1 The Future of Higher Education: Massive Online Open Disruption
    Daniel Honan Collective Intelligence
  2. 2 Simulating Higher Education on the Web
    Anya Kamenetz Think Tank
  3. 3 Want to Be an Innovator? Drop Out of College!
    Peter Thiel
  4. 4 Earth to Academia: Student Loan Debt Is Mounting - And It's Unethical.
    Megan Erickson Think Tank

Today's Big Idea: Disruptin...

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