A Deepening Cognitive Divide?

Two or three technological areas are likely to transform life in the 21st century ... while also being so counter-intuitive to so many people that they're just as likely to leave millions in a state of incomprehension.


Some top candidates:

1) Quantum physics (computing, cryptology, nanotechnology):

Leaving common-sense, big-world thinking behind and embrace chaos, ambiguity, and physical forces we never experience

2) Virtual worlds (commerce, gaming, communication):

Thinking in deep and complex metaphors, parallel identities and rule systems

3) Modeling of complex adaptive systems (market analysis, policymaking, ecology):

Thinking in non-linear terms, fuzzy logic, probability, self-organizing systems, and punctuated equilibria

How will the vast majority of people be able to keep up? Our education systems are failing as equalizers on so many levels. Our living spaces are awash in neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors. The grip of poverty grows tighter everywhere.

Where is it all going?

Stress is contagious–but resilience can be too

The way that you think about stress can actually transform the effect that it has on you – and others.

Big Think Edge
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  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
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5 short podcasts to boost your creativity and success

These quick bursts of inspiration will brighten your day in 10 minutes or less.

Personal Growth

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Philosopher Alan Watts: 'Why modern education is a hoax'

Explore a legendary philosopher's take on how society fails to prepare us for education and progress.

Alan Watts.
Personal Growth
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  • He believed that we put too much of a focus on intangible goals for our educational and professional careers.
  • Watts believed that the whole educational enterprise is a farce compared to how we should be truly living our lives.
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Mining the Moon

How can we use the resources that are already on the Moon to make human exploration of the satellite as economical as possible?

The All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer (ATHLETE), a prototype heavy-lift utility vehicle to support future human exploration of extraterrestrial surfaces, at right, is parked beside the Habitat Demonstration Unit - Pressurized Excursion Module (HDU-PEM), at left, a concept off-Earth living and work quarters for astronauts stationed on asteroids, the moon or Mars, 15 September 2010. Photo by: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images
Technology & Innovation

If you were transported to the Moon this very instant, you would surely and rapidly die. That's because there's no atmosphere, the surface temperature varies from a roasting 130 degrees Celsius (266 F) to a bone-chilling minus 170 C (minus 274 F). If the lack of air or horrific heat or cold don't kill you then micrometeorite bombardment or solar radiation will. By all accounts, the Moon is not a hospitable place to be.

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