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


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

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


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.

Find out more
With rendition switcher


Question: Is technology changing traditional power structures?

Walt Mossberg: Yeah. I think that’s ridiculous.

People have such a short memory of history. First of all the Kremlin, even in Russia’s reduced state, has, the last time I checked, thousands of actual operational nuclear warheads. So when you have the power to push buttons and destroy entire countries and hundreds of millions of people, that’s actually more power than even Sergey [Brin] and Larry [Page] have at Google, I think, by at least some measures.

Secondly, people forget that there have been business tycoons--the robber barons, the people that owned the railroads. John D. Rockefeller owned most of the oil in the country at one time. That’s pretty good power. So yeah Bill Gates and the guys that run Microsoft are really powerful. Steve Jobs is really powerful. The Google guys are really powerful.

The flavor du jour – whoever is hot on the Internet – is really powerful. The Internet itself is obviously really powerful, although it’s not controlled by anyone.

So there have always been multiple centers of power. There’s cultural power. There’s military power. There’s economic power. There’s business power. We have all those things today. They’re just different and different names.

And I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to cover in one part of my career some of those power centers; and now in another part of my career some others where there’s a lot of innovation.

I would say the Kremlin was very innovative. I wouldn’t say the White House was very innovative. I think it’s great fun to talk to people who have fascinating new ideas, and the inclination and resources to try them out. But I don’t think it’s a new thing that we have business figures who have a lot of power.

We obviously still have no idea just what the rise of China and India means. They have enormous economic potential, including, by the way, a significant high tech potential. And I’m not just talking about call centers. They have the potential to invent and develop things that we have become accustomed to seeing invented and developed here. And from the point of view of the United States as a country, it would be very interesting to see what happens in those countries. Because while they do have these concentrations of educated people, and middle class, and people who are even wealthy and entrepreneurial, they also still are, in the majority, full of extremely poor, uneducated people who have a right to a future. And how they distribute their wealth, and how they go about taking care of their whole populations – particularly in the case of China which is, of course, not a free country – is going to be a fascinating situation.


Recorded on: Sep 13, 2007


Is technology changing trad...

Newsletter: Share: