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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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Transcript

Question: When you read the newspaper or watch the news, what issues stand out for you?

Transcript:Well so the big issues would be the things that might affect our ability to survive as a species on the planet. I think most, people religious and nonreligious, would agree that that would be a very bad thing. And so the sort of things that could affect that is some sort of pandemic, overpopulation and pollution, or getting hit by a meteor. So to some extent, we may need to do things like eliminate poverty just so we have less burden so we can go forward with our science and engineering enough, so that we can get some of us off the planet, so when the meteor hits we will still survive. So in a way, you have to think in this very interconnected, far reaching way in order to decide what the priorities are. And at least some of the priorities are to get us to a point where it’s not such a luxury to have science and engineering that’s capable of getting us to another habitable planet; or for that matter constructing a habitable biosphere that’s not planetary. Many steps between there. I mean personal genomics, and being able to monitor our environmental microorganisms and so forth, could be a huge step towards reducing poverty and increasing education so that then we can do things that involve physics again.

 

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