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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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Lawrence Summers:  I think the kind of area, philanthropy, that has been opened up with global health and a bringing of rigorous analysis to those problems, is something that is profoundly important. I think the whole set of advances associated with behavioral economics and the recognition of the many different aspects of how people make decisions that go way beyond rationality, and that have implications for how options are priced. And some of the questions in behavioral finance that people have worked on, but have much more profound implications for the ways in which we can best educated people, the ways in which we can best support people, I think these are terribly, terribly important issues. I think the questions around how we’re going to help the societies that are falling furthest behind. There’s a range of very able people – Jeff Sachs – towards one end, in terms of a continuum of views, others who are doing very, very thoughtful work.

But you know, my approach in general in life is to try to engage with the issues rather than the particular individuals. And I think the second revolution that’s underway after the Industrial Revolution, with the rise of China and India, is profound than anything else that’s happening.

Recorded On: June 13, 2007

 

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