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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Cynic tells us TED talks are American Idol, presentations junk

Benjamin Bratton has taken a lot of heat since he published a scorching piece called We Need to Talk About TED in the Guardian on December 30, 2013.

The thrust of his argument is that "so little of the future promised in TED talks actually happens." This he argues in his intelligent but astonishingly cynical op-ed which contains the entire text of the 11-minute TEDx San Diego talk below.

Listen as Bratton deflates the enthusiasm behind the reception of TED talks by the great unwashed (read us and the audience immediately in front of him) and rips presenters for not dealing with more difficult and substantive issues. Are those who take to the stage really Gladwellian, American Idol-styled sell-outs?

I can't begin to argue with Bratton point for point. But this I do know. For the longest time, TED's signature tagline has been "ideas worth spreading" - a simple promise, and in my experience, often delivered.

Would love to hear your views below.

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