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 9 2013: If the "big problems" you refer to are of the socioeconomic and stability variety, I feel we are unable to solve them because the people we look to, to solve them and allow others to enforce the means to solve them are politicians. The thing with politics is, simply put, there are too many politicians. I know that sounds odd, but what i`m saying is, these people are masters or rhetoric and running elaborate pep rallies. For the most part, they are not economist, scientist, or health care providers which are people who are most qualified to solve our big problems.

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