Excellent piece by Benjamin Bratton in The Guardian. I think many people have a growing discomfort with the style of TED presentations, and the lack of any real affect beyond a feel-good fifteen minute glow of inspiration. Bratton asks some good questions, and avoids the trap of trying to package up easy answers for an audience weaned on infomercials and talent shows.
What is it that the TED audience hopes to get from this? A vicarious insight, a fleeting moment of wonder, an inkling that maybe it's all going to work out after all? A spiritual buzz?
I'm sorry but this fails to meet the challenges that we are supposedly here to confront. These are complicated and difficult and are not given to tidy just-so solutions. They don't care about anyone's experience of optimism. Given the stakes, making our best and brightest waste their time – and the audience's time – dancing like infomercial hosts is too high a price. It is cynical.