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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.

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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: Humanizing Technology

The Big Idea for Friday, May 18, 2012

Without a doubt, techno-optimism – a fierce belief that the world is improved by any technological advancement – is a very effective foundation if you want to get ambitious things done quickly. It has enabled a generation of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to reshape the face of civilization in fairly short order. 

Its main peril, perhaps, is ethical myopia. While optimism may allow us to dream our imagination into being, only critical reflection can enable us to evaluate the meaning, value, and probable consequences of those dreams. 

Jaron Lanier, virtual reality pioneer and author of You Are Not a Gadget argues that cutting-edge technologists aren't taking into account the human cost of their creations, nor building them upon economic models that will help to sustain the livelihoods of future humans. He'd like to see more of the billions of dollars Silicon Valley is generating creating jobs for the worldwide consumers of its "free" products and services. 

 

 

Perspectives

  1. 1 Jaron Lanier: Why Facebook Isn't Free
    Jason Gots Humanizing Technology
  2. 2 The Value of Facebook: A Time Capsule
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  3. 3 Watch "Initial Public Offering" – Big Think's (Wall) Street Theater of Ideas for Facebook IPO Day
    Big Think Editors What's New at Big Think
  4. 4 Rethinking Social Networking
    Jason Gots Humanizing Technology
 

Today's Big Idea: Humanizin...

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