Retraction: TED Is Awesome

I liked TED and then convinced myself that I didn’t. I was a hater. Please don’t be one too. 

Urban Dictionary defines a hater as: “A person that simply cannot be happy for another person’s success. So rather than be happy they make a point of exposing a flaw in that person”. An example follows:

Susan: You know, Kevin from accounting is doing very well. He just bought a house in a very nice part of town.

Jane (hater): If he is doing so well why does he drive that ’89 Taurus?

My post from two weeks ago, Is TED Watering Down Our Minds?, is a prime example of hatertude, and for that I am sorry. I had explained how my initial love for TED had given way to boredom with the increasingly repetitive lectures. I cited Salman Khan’s education project as the last time I was genuinely impressed by a TED talk. What I failed to mention was that before Khan, there was Theo Jansen’s kinetic creatures that roam the coastline of Holland. Before that was Eric Whitacre’s virtual choir of over 2,000 voices from around the world. And Pranav Mistry’s 6th Sense technology that will revolutionize the way we interact with computers. And Hans Rosling’s data presentation that are so simple and so informative. The list goes on.

Although TED isn’t perfect, it has probably blown my mind away more than just about any other internet site. It will not save the world, but that’s OK. TED is an introduction and inspiration. TED is not comprehensive, but it’s not supposed to be. Most importantly, it is not watering down our minds.

TED may have faults with self righteousness and elitism (I’m beginning to doubt even those), but to suggest that it is watering down our minds is a red herring and a sad attempt to take a swipe at something because it enjoys mass appeal. If an organization can convince tens of millions of people to commit nearly 20 minutes of their day to sit down and think about something new, then they have succeeded and I applaud them. By today’s standards 20 minutes is quite a bit – especially on the internet.  There are so many things that are watering down our minds (stupid cat videos anyone?) and turning to a fast food approach to learning (cable news anyone?). TED is not one of them.

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8 thoughts on “Retraction: TED Is Awesome

  1. I don’t think stupid cat videos are watering down our intelligence. Cats are hilarious, mine is actually scared of his own shadow. However, as with everything, a balance is needed. TED is coming to Qatar in April and I’m quite excited.

    1. Haha. Very true re: the cat videos. As for TED’s coming to Qatar, I think that’s fantastic. I was quite excited when TED came to India, but I was a little deflated because so much of it felt like a sort of coming out party for India’s intelligentsia. But still, all in all, it was a good viewing and I look forward to watching the talks from Qatar. I think the way Qatar, and Doha in particular, is positioning itself in the coming years and decades is ripe for TED-type analysis.

      side not: kudos on the Museum on Islamic Art – absolutely beautiful!

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