TED Conversations

Jason Pontin

Editor in Chief/Publisher, MIT's Technology Review


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"Why Can't We Solve Big Problems?"

I'll be giving a TED U Talk in Longbeach at the end of the month. I'll be asking "Why Can't We Solve Big Problems?" I think that blithe optimism about technology’s powers has evaporated as big problems that people had imagined technology would solve, such as hunger, poverty, malaria, climate change, cancer, and the diseases of old age, have come to seem intractably hard.

I'd love to know what the TED Community thinks our difficulties are - or, even if the idea is true at all.

Here's a URL to the story I wrote in MIT Technology Review on the subject: http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/429690/why-we-cant-solve-big-problems/


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    Feb 15 2013: Our basic "command" from nature is to protect ourselves at all costs. The essence of immortality. Prevalence favor of weaker, reproduce, cooperation for survival.
    Why cancer is not cured yet?
    Because -despite this diseased- does not benefit anyone else. Quite the opposite. Man will become more human when solving the problem of the perpetuation of the species that obsesses him for millennia and dedicated to what the ties him with Earth/Life.
    • Feb 16 2013: If we could understand " basic "command" from nature " , we would know that immortality is not about not dieing.
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        Feb 16 2013: This is exactly what I mean! Immortality means the perpetuation of the species. And that applies to the single-celled organisms up to humans. Sorry Mr. Darwin, you were right.

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