Cory Leonard

Straight TED Talk by Benjamin Bratton

In Uncategorized on January 11, 2014 at 11:14 pm

What’s wrong with TED? “Too much faith in technology,” lacking in economics, viewing design as an end rather than a means, and more:

TED of course stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and Ill talk a bit about all three. I Think TED actually stands for: middlebrow megachurch infotainment.The key rhetorical device for TED talks is a combination of epiphany and personal testimony an “epiphimony” if you like through which the speaker shares a personal journey of insight and realisation, its triumphs and tribulations.

What is it that the TED audience hopes to get from this? A vicarious insight, a fleeting moment of wonder, an inkling that maybe its all going to work out after all? A spiritual buzz?

Im sorry but this fails to meet the challenges that we are supposedly here to confront. These are complicated and difficult and are not given to tidy just-so solutions. They don’t care about anyones experience of optimism. Given the stakes, making our best and brightest waste their time – and the audiences time – dancing like infomercial hosts is too high a price. It is cynical.

Also, it just doesn’t work.

via We need to talk about TED | Benjamin Bratton | Comment is free | theguardian.com.

Why so glum about this fantastic enterprise? Isn’t TED a lot of fun? Well, yes, it is–and I readily admit to enjoying many talks as much as the next person.

But if you want to do the hard work (and thinking) that is required for major steps forward–rather than inspirational infotainment– we need to understand more complexity, not less… as Bratton, apparently part of the loyal opposition, says, to “slog through the hard stuff (history, economics, philosophy, art, ambiguities, contradictions).”

In response, TED founder Chris Anderson makes the case that the forum aims to “help improve the quality of public discourse” in the Guardian. Definitely worth further discussion.

 

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