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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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Seth Berkley:  When we come into a new community, the question is who can help us do this research. We’re trying to do both clinical trials but we’re also trying to work in countries that have research capabilities as well. We just launched a program in India for example with medicinal chemists. Who are medicinal chemists? They’re the chemists who worked in these large generic manufacturers who used to try to figure out how to make drugs off patent cheaply. There are a lot of them in India. They’re fabulous scientists. We got a group of them together and said could you help us try to solve some of these problems on HIV and put a lot of people power into trying to solve it in a way that we might not be able to afford to do it in another place. On the trial side going into a community and getting a group engaged, developing the trust, having them understand that we’re there to work with them, that if we succeed with the vaccine, that it will be made available to the communities, that this will have effects for them and for the whole world, and again, making sure that it is not seen as an exploitive phenomena. It’s absolutely critical in trying to build those relationships.

 

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