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 5 2013: Colleen,

    I agree with that wholeheartedly, and I am so glad you made that point. There is a balance we need to achieve to evolve as individuals but also contribute to the global community. I believe it starts on a small scale and over time can snowball into and have a much bigger effect on the world. That is exactly why I started the Repay Someday project. The catalyst came from a sequence of events resulting from Hurricane Sandy but the overall much bigger goal is to accomplish what you mentioned, "evolve in ourselves as individuals, AND contribute to the global community AT THE SAME TIME"

    Thank you very much for your feedback and thoughts. I really appreciate hearing others thoughts and insight on this subject.
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      Mar 5 2013: Dave,
      It looks like you are relatively new to the TED community? Welcome:>)

      To keep comments in sequence, you can respond directly to a comment, rather than going back to the top. You see the "reply" options in the upper right corner of the comment? Try it....you'll like it:>)

      I agree that any effort toward balance in our individual lives AND the global community may start on a small scale, and we can build from there. I appreciate you and your contribution as well Dave:>)
      • Mar 5 2013: Thank you for the welcome and the tip :) I look forward to hearing and reading much more on here and learning from everyone.
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          Mar 5 2013: Looks like you found the "reply" option. Now you'll notice that this comment is third level...see the little arrows on the upper left? So, it does not have a "reply" option. If you wanted to reply to this comment, you'd go to the next possibility above:>)

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