Benjamin Bratton:

 Science, philosophy and technology run on the model of American Idol – as embodied by TED talks – is a recipe for civilizational disaster.

TED has become mainstream and feels stale now. It’s hard to constantly be more inspired by yet another amazing 20 minute talk about a subject you never cared about before. There are lots of good things there. The accessibility of the talks, the TEDx events near you make the event way less elitist than the World Economic Forum in DAVOS, even though actually attending an event is similarly reserved for people with lots of money.

The main event is a gathering place for people that do do stuff. For world changers and creators to meet and mingle and share and connect. A high-powered networking event in a way. That sounds horrible, but this is where the magic happens. Unfortunately, we only see the 20 min talks on Youtube that are being shared on Facebook when one of your friends is moved by something. Sharing talks by real people about real problems is still a much better way to occupy our minds than sharing stats on Bieber or Kanye.

But, it’s clear that TED is experiencing growing or maturing pains. It’s been months since I watched the last TED talk. It’s exhausting being inundated with the constant inspirational message without the ability to do something about it right away.

And then there is the question about results: Is TED actually achieving anything?

Bono launched the ONE campaign, Jamie Oliver did something, The City2.0 came and went. There are results. But deep-level culture change takes time and is hard to recognize. Like a flower or a tree that grows all the time, but you can’t really see the changes within minutes of staring at it. And then one day the tree is larger, the flower is blooming. That’s how culture changes. And TED won’t be able to speed this up.

But, this leaves us with the question about what should happen with TED?

Bratton doesn’t offer any solutions or ideas. No insight into what could’ve happened that lead to fact that TED feels a bit stale now.

But it’s clear that TED,  like many organizations needs something new, something fresh. TED expanded, from one elitist conference to many local-run ones.  TED 2.0 was TEDx. Accessible to most of us. But now we’re hungry for TED3.0.

And man, would I love to go to TEDActive this Spring up in Whistler B.C.