A Slave to the Smartphone, No More!

Smartphones are incredible education, business and entertainment devices but their ubiquity has otherwise normal people acting batty. Businesses must take the lead to restoring sanity.

What's the Latest Development?

Do we remember a time before the smartphone, when work and play existed in separate realms of space and time? The problem of the smartphone's ubiquity is not a principled objection but a practical one. People are addicted to their phones to the detriment of their family and friends. "When Martin Lindstrom, a branding guru, tried to identify the ten sounds that affect people most powerfully, he found that a vibrating phone came third." Hyperconnectivity actually destabilizes the modern workplace by distracting workers and allowing managers to act more capriciously. 

What's the Big Idea?

Trying a digital diet, such as refusing to do business on your phone before you've eaten breakfast, sounds fine in principle but is likely to prove impractical given the speed of today's communication. Instead, businesses must lead the way in setting limits on smartphone use because (1) they are among the biggest abusers (again, the capricious boss) and because (2) they stand to gain from having more focused employees. The Boston Consulting Group, for example, has introduced rules about when employees are supposed to  be offline and asked them to work together to make this possible.

3D printing might save your life one day. It's transforming medicine and health care.

What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.

Northwell Health
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
  • Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
  • Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
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Big Think Edge
  • In some fundamental ways, humans haven't changed all that much since the days when we were sitting around communal fires, telling tales.
  • Although we don't always recognize them as such, stories, symbols, and rituals still have tremendous, primal power to move us and shape our lives.
  • This is no less true in the workplace than it is in our personal lives.

Has a black hole made of sound confirmed Hawking radiation?

One of Stephen Hawking's predictions seems to have been borne out in a man-made "black hole".

Image source: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Surprising Science
  • Stephen Hawking predicted virtual particles splitting in two from the gravitational pull of black holes.
  • Black holes, he also said, would eventually evaporate due to the absorption of negatively charged virtual particles.
  • A scientist has built a black hole analogue based on sound instead of light.
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Big Think Edge
  • The word "creative" is sometimes waved around like a badge of honor. We speak of creativity in hushed tones, as the special province of the "talented". In reality, the creative process is messy, open, and vulnerable.
  • For this reason, creativity is often at its best in a group setting like brainstorming. But in order to work, the group creative process needs to be led by someone who understands it.
  • This sense of deep trust—that no idea is too silly, that every creative impulse is worth voicing and considering—is essential to producing great work.