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 25 2013: The definition of problems varies from region to region and from culture to culture and so do the solutions. The big problem actually arises when one region starts taking decisions for another with respect to the solution of the problem. Take for example the problem of Afghanistan or Iraq or Palestine generally considered as big problems universally. Why all these problems could not be resolved? One logical reason could be because the solutions were imposed as per the understanding of another region and were heavily inspired by the vested interests. So, to me the solution should be indigenous and free from vested interests.

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