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TED Wants To Remind Us That Ideas -- Not Politicians -- Shape the Future (qz.com) 263

An anonymous reader shares a Quartz report: Amid global political upheavals, TED curator Chris Anderson argues that ideas have never mattered more. "Ideas changes how people act and [shape] their long term perspective," he said in during a April 17 press briefing. "Politicians come and go and ideas are forever." He said TED -- two segments of which will be broadcast live in movie theaters this year -- wants to re-introduce civility into political discourse. "We want to avoid the zero sum game we see on cable television every day," said Anderson, noting that TED is a non-partisan organization and has historically featured controversial and intriguing thinkers from both sides of the political divide. In place of the shrill, headline-bait tenor of political spectacles, TED wants to take viewers to a place of "reasoned discourse" where big ideas can act as a bridge between opposing views. By creating an eclectic program -- including an entire session delivered in Spanish and another on artificial intelligence -- Anderson said he wants to steer the conversation away from government and politics. "With so much focus in politics, the world is in danger of forgetting that so much of what really changes the future happens outside completely of politics. It happens inside the mind of dreamers, designers, inventors, technologists, entrepreneurs," he said.
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TED Wants To Remind Us That Ideas -- Not Politicians -- Shape the Future

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 19, 2017 @01:27PM (#54264203)

    "It happens inside the mind of dreamers, designers, inventors, technologists, entrepreneurs," and meee.

    TED is fucking overrated. Pablum.

  • by Kunedog ( 1033226 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2017 @01:29PM (#54264215)
    TED's been posting some hopelessly feminist content lately, and they know it, too, because they've disabled ratings and comments on those vids. They're also abusing the DMCA to shut down criticism:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    The DMCA-censored vid:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    And an update:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
  • If only... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 )

    "With so much focus in politics, the world is in danger of forgetting that so much of what really changes the future happens outside completely of politics. It happens inside the mind of dreamers, designers, inventors, technologists, entrepreneurs," he said.

    Until the politicians ban, mandate or regulate the science, technology or business.

    • Until the politicians ban, mandate or regulate the science, technology or business.

      AGW/Climate Change, Patents and Restrictive laws (DMCA), Licensing and Regulations that do more harm than good.

      Too late.

  • by sjwest ( 948274 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2017 @01:30PM (#54264221)

    The staff at ted might like lofty ideals but they are to be consumed not discussed - Bearing an Australian youtuber and others have been dmca'ed and Ted lost the fair use test.

    To call them communicators is a paradox when they censor too.

    • Copyright abuse, okay, but what's up with the "social justice warrior" being thrown around here? Are we REALLY at a point where "Oh they're feminist" is as evil as abusing the DMCA? Mocking SJW is understandable (though personally I think "mens rights activists" are exponentially more absurd). It's another to act like they're doing something immoral.

      Have the TED talks threatened violence against men? Because googling "TED feminism" just comes up with a bunch of talks about how feminism is good.

      If "yay
  • You mean like? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bodhammer ( 559311 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2017 @01:32PM (#54264241)
    Freedom?
    Individual and Inalienable rights?
    Personal Responsibility?
    Limited Government?
  • An assertion too far (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 19, 2017 @01:34PM (#54264257)

    There has been an ongoing debate in history comparing the macroscopic idea of history and the "Great Man" idea of history.

    From a macroscopic level, things like the industrial revolution (or more specifically, things like the invention of the Spinning Jenny) made societal changes inevitable. It was only a matter of time before the Monarchies feel in Europe. It could have been earlier or later by a few decades or centuries, but it was inevidible.

    From the "Great Man" level... it's hard to imagine if Nepolian didn't exist that "meh, somebody else would have conquered Europe."

    It's hard to accept the assertion that politicians have no impact and it is only ideas. Can anybody honestly say, "If George Washington had decided to become King of the fledgling United States, to the applause and approbation of all his contemporaries, the United States would absolutely still have become a republic?"

    • But did Napoleon actually matter to history? In the end, his reign lasted a decade, his conquests failed and the Bourbon dynasty was restored. He certainly shook up the European establishment, but only because the European establishment was already crumbling.
  • Lets get real. Any idea big enough to scare big business or possibly deter the globalist agenda is bought up to ensure it's used appropriately (i.e. the new mass censorship on Google's Youtube).
  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2017 @01:40PM (#54264317)

    I think that's the main point of the whole TED thing -- even if it is mostly a bunch of attention-seeking folks and academics desperately trying to promote themselves. The analysis is correct -- there isn't a lot of mainstream substantive discussion of things beyond politics and pop culture. You really have to go seek it out, and things like social media amplify the divide between intellectual and entertaining conversation.

    One of the things I really don't like about social media is its tendency to separate the easily led among us into little camps. Because Facebook and other platforms know exactly what stimuli we will respond to, content they know we like is fed our way with little chance to break out of the echo chamber. Add to that the constant drumbeat of bad news, regardless of political side/opinion, and people can't be faulted for assuming the world is going to end tomorrow. It also doesn't help that there's a very strong current of anti-intellectualism among some sectors of the population. For some, universities are seen as bastions of evil, liberal progressive ideas -- not exactly the kind of opinion that fosters the sharing of ideas.

    I have mentioned previously on here (and been blasted for it!) that social media is destroying the ability for the average person to relate to others. I've been told I'm too politically correct and everyone should be allowed to shout whatever they want at each other. If politically correct means "I don't want people's default posture to be acting like a bunch of hyenas to each other" then I guess I'm PC. I just want to see my technocratic government implemented at least once before I die -- instead of a bunch of lying politicians, hire the people with the best ideas and make rules based only on facts. Life would be much more peaceful with a bunch of engineers running things. People might actually study things like STEM without thinking about whether their careers will end when they turn 40, or whether all the work will be offshored by the time they graduate.

    • The big problem that I have with TED talks is that almost nobody who watches them acts on what they learned. Most people will get briefly inspired about some guy making a 10 minute speech about something like making affordable public housing out of shipping containers or using drone technology to stop Elephant poachers, but then 99.9% of the people who watched will do little more than give the video a thumbs up or maybe share it with their friends. And yes... I'm just as guilty of this as everyone else.

      Some

    • I just want to see my technocratic government implemented at least once before I die
      I too wish to be led by this new world man [youtube.com]. Perhaps in the model of the new Soviet Man or the Nietzschean Ubermensch. What could possibly go wrong?
  • No matter how much you think this, it shows that you missed the point. The reason that Politicians will ALWAYS shape the future is because there will ALWAYS be two people disagreeing on something. And when that happens, there is always a politician or a hundred just around the corner ready to take the "highest bidders" side.

    So until you can find a way to get people or keep people from bringing their problems to a politician, then you can remind us all you like, it will only fall upon deaf ears.

  • In order to matter the degree to which an idea is put to use must be considered. The fabulous idea of "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" may be super important but it certainly has not been widely accepted or implemented. Just as we have very ignorant and greedy forces trying to keep things the same or turn back the clock to another era the French had a mater class that resisted like crazy the idea of liberty, equality and fraternity. The way the idea grew a bit was by slaughtering the ruling class
  • Politicians willing to support the people with ideas would be nice.
  • by Pinky's Brain ( 1158667 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2017 @02:15PM (#54264625)

    An idea which is reshaping the entire Muslim world for the worse and the Muslim communities in Europe with it. Of course not, he thinks social progressiveness is the only way forward as long as white politicians just get out of the way and open the borders.

    TED, where PC morons spew pseudo-intellectual bullshit at other PC morons and where they present mundane, pie in the sky and just plain ridiculous technology as revolutionary.

  • Whenever I picture a guy with a title of "TED Curator" I imagine a hipster with an ironic beard and horn rimmed glasses wearing a $250 plaid shirt.
  • TED Wants to Remind Us that They Still Exist.

  • TED remains breathlessly naïve, and seems to want to relegate itself to those facebook posts by people who quote never heard of poets making meaningful comments about the feels.

    Ideas are worth precisely shit. Ideas+execution shape the future. Execution is frequently heavily influenced by politicians who make the rules that govern the corporate and legal landscape in which your execution may take place, if it isn't strictly forbidden, construed as patent infringing (esp. by trolls), defunded by competit

  • by ErikTheRed ( 162431 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2017 @02:40PM (#54264849) Homepage

    ...is that the first thing people want to do with them - especially in the TED crowd - is use politics to force them on everyone.

    And some of the ideas actually are good - for certain people in certain situations. The problem with using politics is that you're applying these ideas to everyone, by force. This usually results in an overall net negative impact.

    We live in a world of incredibly diverse values, beliefs, and practices. Much of the goodness or badness in these areas is fairly subjective. For example, some people prefer more leisurely lifestyles and others value high productivity. Some people want to work and function in highly communal environments, and others are more individualistic. None of these things are wrong, but when you start building strict sets of societal rules around them then you create strong and completely unnecessary conflict.

    There are less subjective areas that involve hard science and scientific experimentation, but these are relatively rare and usually uncontroversial. There are also plenty of ideas labeled as "science" that do not involve the scientific method; these tend to be extremely controversial and because the "science" label is misapplied their proponents tend to be very quick to pull out the political guns.

    In any case, we also live in a world where far too many people want to force their beliefs and lifestyles on everyone else. The political left and right are fairly equally guilty of this - the left from an economic standpoint, and the right from a religious standpoint, and both from an overall values standpoint. It's deeply sad that virtually none of these people are capable of saying "Hey, it's OK that you're different - go be your crazy-ass self over there and as long as you're not in my face about it then we'll ignore each other and everything is fine." But instead, they demand strict enforcement. These days the left demands that we memorize sixty new gender pronouns a week, and the right loses their shit if you don't say "Merry Christmas."

    We don't need 50 new TEDxasfaz talks a week. We need a planet full of people to chill the fuck out.

  • Nice sentiment...almost certainly wrong. Syria is exhibit 1 in the "what politicians say and do matters a lot" argument. From what I've seen: no-warrant arrests and detention, torture and barrel bombs beat Powerpoint slides. Every. Single. Time.
  • When being tolerant, let's be as generous as possible. When we start making exceptions and putting qualifiers on freedom, that's when things start to go belly-up.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2017 @03:21PM (#54265203)

    Politicians come and go and ideas are forever.

    The problem is that while politicians may go, the bureaucracy they create does not. That essentially lasts forever, and has a great impact on what ideas are possible, if for no other reason than it drains funds form making some other idea possible.

    Rather than term limits we need the concept of department limits, where each arm of a large bureaucracy must be voted to continue every ten years or so after justifying what it has done.

    • Politicians come and go and ideas are forever.

      The problem is that while politicians may go, the bureaucracy they create does not.

      Also, legislation (in case that wasn't implied already). For instance, the consensus on certain drugs seems to be that drugs are bad, because they're illegal, and they better stay illegal because they're bad. The same goes for things like copyright laws, with some people arguing that we shouldn't allow the Pirate Party in the parliament, because their agenda goes against current legislation. Because obviously the parliament should never do such a thing as change the law.

  • by eepok ( 545733 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2017 @03:25PM (#54265231) Homepage
    It's nice to think that simply spreading good ideas is good enough... but it's not and it never has been. You know how many Black slaves in America had the "idea" of freedom? What about the number of women who surely liked the "idea" of universal suffrage? And how many workers had the "idea" of working less per week for a guaranteed wage?

    Ideas are great, but in a representative system ("government") CHANGE only comes when people imbued with sufficient power make the effort to evolve an idea into policy. Even if today's politicians/leaders don't like an idea and get removed from office, someone is going to have to take a leadership position to make changes to the official way things are done.

    "With so much focus in politics, the world is in danger of forgetting that so much of what really changes the future happens outside completely of politics. It happens inside the mind of dreamers, designers, inventors, technologists, entrepreneurs,"

    No. Your personal interpretation and your world view change *internally* with ideas. How you and others are physically affected relies on what "ideas" politicians have and put forth as policy. Politics, however fatiguing, is not unimportant.

  • we need more H1B's to get the ideas from and the min wage is to high.

  • TED you do realize the amount of money you have is practically non-existent to what the US Chamber of Commerce has in its collective coffers right?
  • Just not in good ways. The best they can contribute is to not make things worse, although that takes an exceptionally good politician. On the side of making things worse, they sometimes have tremendous potential and accomplishments. Just look at Trump, Erdogan, Orban, Johnson, etc. for a really long list of politicians making things a lot worse and sometimes giving away their peoples future, all because of ego, religious fanaticism, general stupidity and so on.

    So while politicians can shape the future, it i

  • by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Thursday April 20, 2017 @03:02AM (#54267967)

    Frankly, I find the quality and content of TED talks embarrassing. Hmm, why should I feel embarrassed about that? I don't know, but I do. So often verging on intellectual fraud. A venue for self-promotion and mutual intellectual masturbation. Well, I guess it keeps them off the street.

  • as if politics can't eliminate great ideas, or at least pester them so that either you or the inventor don't want to use them anymore.
    what's the deal with those tesla stores again? or uber & airbnb around the whole world?

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