TED Chief Chris Anderson on the neuroscience of memes and the future of TED

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/10/26/ted-chief-chris-anderson-on-th.html


Are TEDs peer reviewed? I’m just wondering how much trust I should put in the info I gain from them?


Of course not. They may or may not be about peer reviewed studies/articles which may or may not be actually correct (since peer review isn’t a guarantee of correctness) and the speaker may or may not go beyond the scope of what was peer reviewed.

No TED talk offers anything like details anyway. They are edutainment, not education.


No, not peer reviewed. Pop academia. And not immune to ideological bias, intentional or not.

They can be a useful starting point, but BYO grain of salt.


Is Monterrey, California closer to Monterrey, Mexico or Monterey, California?


It’s weird to me how many people love or loath things like TED based on a misunderstanding of their real utility (regardless of the intent of the organizers/publishers).

At the risk of an imperfect analogy, TED is the Popular Science/Mechanics of the YouTube medium. Back in the 20th century critics would occasionally wish for those low-level and frankly not exceptionally well fack-checked publications to wither and die, either because they felt they debased science and engineering with Dick and Jane explanations, or they felt they were corrupting younger audiences with shoddy explanations. You rarely heard anyone advocating teaching young people to be skeptical readers while not throwing out the publications that stirred many an initial interest in the topics they covered.

Which isn’t to say we shouldn’t ask a higher standard from these sorts of outlets, particular when, like TED, they usually purport to be straight from the experts’ mouth.

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It doesn’t help that the paying audience is largely the wealthy. While it’s great that their desire to network at an elite powwow funds the talks being free for the world, it does have the same old problem patronage always has, which is conflict of interest.

There’s no eliminating ideological bias altogether, but I suspect TED or something like it that’s crowdfunded would be a useful counter-balance.


Similar issues to the media in general. From outside, it is very noticeable that almost all voices in the US media, including liberals, are those of the privileged. Slate, Salon, Vox, whatever; expensive colleges and upper class internships.

It’s why the street journalists like these folks are so important:


Working class voices.


They are very good at inspiring people to think and create, and I suspect that’s the primary purpose.

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