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Poch Peralta

Freelance Writer / Blogger,


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Is TED Talks a recipe for civilisational disaster?

This attack on TED by Benjamin Bratton is really searing. One reason he gave for TED not working is over-simplification.

'This is my rant against TED, placebo politics, "innovation," middlebrow megachurch infotainment, etc., given at TEDx San Diego at their invitation...'

'One TED speaker said recently, "If you remove this boundary ... the only boundary left is our imagination". Wrong.

'If we really want transformation, we have to slog through the hard stuff (history, economics, philosophy, art, ambiguities, contradictions). Bracketing it off to the side to focus just on technology, or just on innovation, actually prevents transformation.

'Instead of dumbing-down the future, we need to raise the level of general understanding to the level of complexity of the systems in which we are embedded and which are embedded in us...'

Jimmy Strobl requested that this video be added here:


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    Jan 16 2014: Scholarly objections to TED
    Research Isn’t Always Racy, and Value Is Not the Same as Profit
    'The ubiquity and power of the TED brand and network could facilitate intellectual superficiality. It could lead to the unholy Gladwellification of complexity, in which self-promoters foist trendy but reductionistic arguments on a fawning and uncritical global network. Some TED talks are great; others are mediocre or underwhelming. And is there any real-world follow-through?

    'But the deepest worry, I think, is that society could be duped into conflating any “idea worth exploring” with the sexiest, most of-the-moment topics that can be branded and sold by a speaker dressed like a cinematic ninja with a powerpoint presentation...'

    I consider TED more decent and scholarly than Wikipedia. That's why I spend most of my time on TED.

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