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Jason Pontin

Editor in Chief/Publisher, MIT's Technology Review

TEDCRED 100+

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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 5 2013: I would simply argue that just because we haven't solve the 'big' problems yet, doesn't mean we can't. Just means we haven't. Politics is a big reason many of these things haven't been addressed. We can't even get some members of Congress (or the U.S. population) to admit climate change is real, never mind a solution! Other things just require more time and/or money to study. Solutions will come. Be patient.
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      Mar 5 2013: If there's something wrong, those who have the ability to take action have the responsibility to take action. — Thomas Jefferson.

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