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 12 2013: One word:


    It's the main driver! I'm surprised the people from your article aren't aware of the innovations transforming the world, from third-world to developed nations.

    Here is just one:


    Skip to 2:15 in the video, then skip again to 14:20.

    Ideas travel by communication. Whoever said the internet is not a big net plus won't be surprised by "breakthrough" advances in the next five to ten years, they'll be profoundly astonished!: "Where'd all THIS come from?"

    Marino Hernandez
    just a founder of Marketply

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