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

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Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

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World Renowned Bloggers

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Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

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Big Think Edge

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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.

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Today's Big Idea: Fast vs. Slow Thinking

The Big Idea for Saturday, July 13, 2013

We are continually reminded wherever we turn (and by Big Think, perhaps, most frequently of all) of the fact that in technologically advanced nations the pace of life is accelerating. Economic constraints have put pressure on businesses (and therefore their employees) to do more with less, and in less time. Simultaneously, tech companies are locked in a kind of arms race to make everyday living ever more automated and efficient, thereby enabling us to demand still greater productivity of ourselves. 

Yet one of the most significant contributions cognitive psychology has made in recent decades to our understanding of the mind is the idea that the mind uses two parallel systems of thinking: System 1 - the fast, intuitive, gut decision making engine, and System 2, its slower, more deliberate sibling. Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky are the pioneers in this work, and their studies reveal that in most cases, system 2 makes much better decisions. 

We talk about the pace of life as something over which we have no control, but individuals and companies are constantly making decisions about how to respond to these external demands. Philosopher Daniel Dennett's new book Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking is a reminder that in a speedy world the slower, more deliberative parts of our consciousness need attention, too. 

Perspectives

  1. 1 The Philosopher’s Self-Help Book (with Daniel Dennett)
    Jason Gots Big Think Mentor
  2. 2 The Purpose of Philosophy is to Ask the Right Questions (Video)
    Slavoj Žižek Postcards from Žižek
  3. 3 Slow Down, You Think Too Fast.
    Jason Gots Think Tank
  4. 4 How Access to Instant Information Plays to Our Bad Side
    Orion Jones IdeaFeed
 

Today's Big Idea: Fast vs. ...

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