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.

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Question: Do you have a creative process?

Aubrey de Grey: There’s a learning process in becoming a good researcher. I became a good researcher when I was looking to be a scientist. And that was something I was able to take into the biology field when I chose to become a gerontologist. Now a lot of the research process is understanding yourself … understanding your own mind, because sometimes you can know too much to be able to have a good idea. You can be encumbered by conventional wisdom. And you need to know when to step back and pace up and down, and talk to yourself for half an hour … when you might ought to go to a particular conference just to get a bunch of new knowledge … when you ought to read a bit … things like that. So you have to get an innate feel for that. It’s not something that can really be articulated and taught. However, in switching from one field to another, it’s important to emphasize that this has a very long and distinguished track record of success in research – people who switch, making big contributions more or less at once – because they are unencumbered by conventional wisdom. They have been trained in a different field, so they know how to research. Research is a very transferrable skill. But you come in, you know only enough but not too much. And you can come up with new ways of looking at things.


Recorded on: 6/22/07





Do you have a creative proc...

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