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We need to talk about TED, by Benjamin Bratton

Stashed in: #TED, Problem?, Awesome, TED Talks

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Guess what, watching TED videos doesn't make you some kind of genius intellectual. In fact it makes you a consumer of middlebrow American Idol!

I like that this guy is snarkier than you are.

Problems are not "puzzles" to be solved. That metaphor assumes that all the necessary pieces are already on the table, they just need to be rearranged and reprogrammed. It's not true.

"Innovation" defined as moving the pieces around and adding more processing power is not some Big Idea that will disrupt a broken status quo: that precisely is the broken status quo.

One TED speaker said recently, "If you remove this boundary ... the only boundary left is our imagination". Wrong. If we really want transformation, we have to slog through the hard stuff (history, economics, philosophy, art, ambiguities, contradictions). Bracketing it off to the side to focus just on technology, or just on innovation, actually preventstransformation. Instead of dumbing-down the future, we need to raise the level of general understanding to the level of complexity of the systems in which we are embedded and which are embedded in us. This is not about "personal stories of inspiration", it's about the difficult and uncertain work of demystification and reconceptualisation: the hard stuff that really changes how we think. More Copernicus, less Tony Robbins.

At a societal level, the bottom line is if we invest in things that make us feel good but which don't work, and don't invest in things that don't make us feel good but which may solve problems, then our fate is that it will just get harder to feel good about not solving problems.

In this case the placebo is worse than ineffective, it's harmful. It's diverts yourinterest, enthusiasm and outrage until it's absorbed into this black hole of affectation.

I enjoyed his talk.

"But have you ever wondered why so little of the future promised in TED talksactually happens? So much potential and enthusiasm, and so little actual change. Are the ideas wrong? Or is the idea about what ideas can do all by themselves wrong"? 

Too much group navel-gazing.

Yes, unfortunately. Not sure how TED can be fixed. 

The process of change is exceptionally uncomfortable. Most people know what's good for them but they also are not willing to go down the road of uncomfortable. 

The reason we don't have more Elon Musks - he has an exceptionally high tolerance for uncomfortable and the rest of us aren't on his level. 

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