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


Rebecca Goldstein: If Plato were to come back today I think he would have a lot to say about so many things but crowdsourcing would be of great interest to him.  I take Plato to the Googleplex and he’s very, very interested in our technology.  And that would appeal to him very much.  But he gets into a conversation at the Googleplex with a software engineer on crowdsourcing and could crowdsourcing answer the kind of ethical questions that he first raised.  And he is, he’s quite interested in this idea but he’s very down on it. He’s very much against it because, you know, he doesn’t – he didn’t have much faith in the ethical opinions of the masses.  He thought that ethics was a kind of knowledge that is extremely hard to attain.  He’s right.  I mean that’s one of the reasons we’ve left him so far behind.  Slowly, slowly we make progress – ethical progress.

But he thought, you know, it was a kind of knowledge and it takes a trained mind and, you know, it’s harder than mathematics.  Mathematics is a preparation for this kind of knowledge that you need that kind of dispassion and distance from your own life to be able to access ethical knowledge.  So he would not have been very interested in crowdsourcing and what is the opinion of the masses of people.  And he also would say, I think, well then how do we ever make any ethical progress.  How do we ever learn anything new to challenge our intuitions if, in fact, it’s just being crowdsourced.

I do have Plato getting quite addicted to the Internet and looking up things on the Internet and Wikipedia constantly.  I mean that was partly – I needed a quick way to bring him up to speed and he is – so he carries – while he’s at the Googleplex he gets a Chromebook, they give him a Chromebook and he carries it with him everywhere.  I mean, he’s constantly consulting it.  But again he is – he believed in the expert.  He believed, you know, in expertise.  He – Aristotle, his student, actually says some things that are much more favorable toward crowdsourcing.  You know, he says that if you go to a meal if it’s just cooked by one person you may not like it but if it’s a feast with many people bringing their dishes you’ll find something to like, Aristotle says.

And he really has an idea there of crowdsourcing.  Let’s try to get as many points of view as possible.  Plato is very dubious of this.  He believes that it’s extremely difficult to know anything.  It takes a tremendous amount of training – years and years of training.  He has the rulers of his state studying advanced mathematics for ten years before they can even think about political philosophy.  That’s how hard he thinks these things are.

Directed/Produced by Jonathan Fowler and Dillon Fitton



What Would Plato Think of C...

Newsletter: Share: