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

1

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

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

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
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Well probably the . . . the most dramatic effect that technology has had on the human rights movement is making it easier for us to disseminate our information around the world. If you think about it, traditionally, saying going back 20 years, Human Rights Watch would issue a report, and we had to physically deliver that report to people. We had to, you know, mail it. I’m not even sure if there was Fed Ex at that time, but there was some version of that. But you know as quickly as you could, you would courier the report to journalists wherever they would be. And it would be a complicated endeavor very limited by expense and just physical capacity. Today by contrast, we keep e-mail lists. There’s almost no cost involved. And we can disseminate, you know, in electronic form, our findings instantaneously to thousands and thousands of people. In fact, just the people who sign up for our list serves to receive these reports are in the realm of 50,000 for any given report. So it’s . . . You know it’s quick, rapid dissemination. Now the news cycle has adjusted to that. And so whereas, you know, 20 years ago it may have been sufficient for us to put a report out on an event two, three months down the road; today we’ve gotta respond to it within a news cycle. And so that’s forced us to speed up. But it’s possible to operate at that speed because we can use e-mail to communicate with our colleagues in the field; to make sure that we’ve brought in the perspective of Brussels, or Jakarta, or Buenos Aires or whatever matters and merge it all together in the course of kind of a quick e-mail back and forth and then put out our response. And so that . . . that speed is a challenge, but it’s also very much a new capacity. And . . . and in the process, it’s allowed us to be more global – global in the sense of collecting the information more easily from around the world; global in terms of being able to build partnerships around the world; and global in terms of being able to more readily disseminate that information to people who matter.

Recorded on: 8/14/07

 

Re: How is technology chang...

Newsletter: Share: