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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: What forces that have shaped humanity most?

Transcript: I don’t think there is a single force. As a biologist I would have to begin with the force of evolution. Clearly I believe in evolution. I believe in the theory of natural selection. I think it’s had enormous impact on who we are as a species and where we are today. I believe in the power of technology. I think particularly if you look at the history of human endeavor, you could write that history based on the kinds of technological advances, you know, from the Bronze Age on. The first time someone picked up a stick and realized it could be a tool, to what is happening today in . . . with the Internet, for example. I think that has been a tremendous, tremendous force that has affected the way we have developed as a species. I think the other would be the move away from subsistence to creating excess, which is another way of saying the ability to move from living hand-to-mouth to finally creating wealth. And what wealth allowed individuals to do both in terms of creating a greater comfort in the way we live; but I think also in allowing us the leisure time that allows us as humans to create art, for example.

 

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