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 4 2013: Its simple. we cant solve them because we consider them big.
    If you predecide that something is extremely hard or impossible, then it actually will be impossible.
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      Mar 4 2013: I wholeheartedly agree Siddharth. We create our reality, so if we program ourselves to believe something is extremely hard or impossible, that is the reality we create. I believe that is one important factor that keeps some people from doing anything....they think/feel that what they might be able to do is not enough. When we pool our resources as a global community, however, with everyone working together, we CAN find solutions that are beneficial to the whole.
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        Mar 4 2013: Exactly. By pushing each other to go beyond this "impossibility" as a whole community is definitely a solution. But this brings us to one more question, can everyone work together? Can we leave our ego, the concept of "mine and yours", etc behind and make this happen?
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          Mar 4 2013: Some of us can and do:>) Actually, I believe all of us CAN.....the next question is....do we want to? I believe that when we are working together, it is better for the individual AND the whole.....what do you think Siddharth?

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