How TED Culture Destroyed the World, Literally
Oct 18, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Mike Caulfield keys in on the problem with TED more precisely that I ever have: "It’s the culture that surrounds TED. Because the culture of TED is what allows people like Lomborg to have more influence than actual experts. The idea of TED is that you’re smart enough to get it in 10 minutes or less, and the story that TED-ites love (b/c it supports that narrative) is the story of someone outside the 'industry' or research area coming in from another area and declaring at a glance what everyone has missed. So we get economists talking about global warming, game designers talking about learning, techies talking about political gridlock, and choreographers talking about physics. It’s so simple, they tell us."

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Comments

Re: How TED Culture Destroyed the World

If you're glib and entertaining, TED wants you. The ponderous prose of someone like Charles Darwin would never pass muster. Good thing we didn't have TED as the arbiter of what ideas were worth sharing in the 19th century. [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: How TED Culture Destroyed the World

If you're glib and entertaining, TED wants you. The ponderous prose of someone like Charles Darwin would never pass muster. Good thing we didn't have TED as the arbiter of what ideas were worth sharing in the 19th century. [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: How TED Culture Destroyed the World

Respectfully disagree with Frank. Certainly TED talks have become a bit more celebrated and dramatic, but lets not throw the baby out with the bath water. I love the talk that shows a boy who disrupts the power structure in his African town by building a windmill from old car parts to extract water from the ground for his village. Sure, we could ignore that and encourage a talk from a respected expert on the topic, but why?

I agree the entertainment aspect of TED talks receives too much emphasis these days, but that does not diminish the fact that innovation emerges many times through the adjacent possible - from people who received their idea because they were NOT an expert. Today, the "ponderous prose of someone like Charles Darwin" might actually inspire the connection of adjacent thoughts that lead to a new discovery or innovation.

I am glad for TED. Sure, less drama would be great, but TED is a conversation worth spreading.

Humbly,

Davo [Comment] [Permalink]



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