TED Conversations

Jason Pontin

Editor in Chief/Publisher, MIT's Technology Review


This conversation is closed.

"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/


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Mar 7 2013: Alexander The Great conquered the known world because his brilliance, vision, and passion enabled him to "cut the Gordian knot" rather than allowing an insoluble problem to foil his will. In my Feb. 23 comment I discussed the need for vision and "leadership", here I'd like to suggest that "big problems" don't always need to be "solved"... They just need to be broken through.
    • thumb
      Mar 7 2013: I think the problem is is most things are already broken or fragmented ...maybe that Alexanders fault
    • thumb

      . . 100+

      • 0
      Mar 8 2013: ** I think our difficulties come from a lack of good relationships amongst people.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.