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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 24 2013: We can't solve big problems because top down approaches don't work and bottom up approaches don't work.

    However, I have spent 8 years asking myself the very same question to a very particular global issue I identified and one that no one else knows about.
    The outcome of all my research, strategy sessions, sleepless nights and 3am brain storms was to come up with the complete package after hearing one comment from a reporter of all people.
    Large problems are often the symptom of another set of problems. Identifying the set of smaller problems and finding how they produce the bigger problem should be the task of the big problem fixer to find.
    But they do not usually have the cross sectional skills required to achieve this task. And so "horribly" stalemate occurs.
    This is something I have found in my own big problem solution. Only dogged determination and street smarts will get the answers you require to move to the next piece. This is because vested interests tie up problem solutions and do not like giving answers to fixers.

    If this is all too confusing I suggest you read my big problem fixing solution.

    The solution is knowledge. Correctly sourced, correctly identified, correctly assembled and correctly implementable.

    What do you think?> http://www.scribd.com/doc/109637671/Interference-Anomalies-in-Global-Mining

    I bet you did not know there is a bigger cartel in mining than OPEC in the oil industry!

    Brendon Butler

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