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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  • Mar 1 2013: Root cause for big issues - Hunger & Poverty - is Unequal Distribution of wealth.
    USA. Japan, UK, Germany control about - 45% of Worlds wealth but have to feed only 9% of world population. (data taken from Wikepidea).
    It is beyond human possibility to make people in these 4 countries sensitive to big issues - Hunger & Poverty. Technology cannot do the same.
    It is a losing battle that is being fought.
    Hope is Overpopulated countries - China & India - realize they are being allowing themselves to be exploited by rich countries. They should learn to help-themselves. They cannot blame rich countries for all evils. God helps those who help themselves

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