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

Question: What keeps you up at night?

Aubrey de Grey: I’m not a worrier actually. I figure I’ve got an extraordinarily privileged life. I’ve been able to get into a position of making a very substantial difference to the world’s biggest problem, and you know as a scientist as someone who likes working on hard problems you can’t get much better than that, so I’m pretty content with my life.

Question: Are you worried about dying?

Aubrey de Grey: I don’t really think about my personal fate except in so far I don’t want to anytime soon because I want to carry on making a big difference to the world and also because I’m enjoying my life, but my own life span, my own mortality, doesn’t really figure in my calculations. I mainly think about the effect that I’m having on the world in general, and that’s really for mathematical reasons because, let’s face it, the therapies that I’m working to hasten are gonna happen sometime anyway. What I’m doing is getting them to happen sooner, and if we ask how much difference am I personally making, then you know even in extraordinarily optimistic scenario I’m certainly not making more than 10 years difference to the date at which these therapies are going to emerge, so that means that I’m not making more than 10 or 15 percent difference to my probability of making the cut right.

Now it’s very easy to get worked up about 10 or 15 percent, and I could say the same if I were thinking about my wife for example or my mother or whatever, but if I’m thinking about people in general, then I can think about the fact that 100,000 a day are dying in a horrible way from the thing called aging. And if I were to bring forward the defeat of aging even by one day, that would be 30 World Trade Centers of lives that I’m saving, and it’s very easy to get worked up about that.

Recorded on:  October 2, 2009

 

What Keeps Aubrey de Grey U...

Newsletter: Share: