TED is looking for young people to talk at an event in 2013.
TED talks are intended to engage innovative, techno savvy audiences on the topics of technology, entertainment and design. Considering that their content is predominantly in the relatively staid format of filmed lectures, the videos featured on this site have surprisingly high viewing figures – the top ten having amassed over 50 million views between them.
TED have been one of the frontrunners in the move towards generating dedicated for-web content (as opposed to those naughty file sharing/streaming sites that have caused so much fuss by redistributing existing content via the web) and, as such, have relied in part on the freshness of their approach to attract viewers. They are one of the online faces of innovation, as such they need to keep pushing on before the weaknesses start catching up with them.
In recent months, the lecture given by Thomas Suarez, a 12 year old app developer created an awful lot of buzz. At least, on my various social media feeds it is one of the only TED videos that I have really noticed being the hot virtual watercooler topic of the day in the last year or so (other than the Steve Jobs one, which got hits for news reasons rather than simply the excitement surrounding its content). Many of the posts and comments to do with this lecture were, predictably, focused on Suarez’ youth and how that made his ideas seem more innovative and energetic.
“Nov 17 2011: This boy is remarkable! When I was his age I was only thinking about sports and games, not developing APPS, this is great! I am glad there are kids in America like this.. They are the future!”
As we all know, few things get more attention in webland than childish exuberance. Except possibly childish exuberance displayed by kittens. Or Charlie Sheen. Putting some combination of these things a 2 minute video would probably crash the internet. TED have also noticed the youth appeal and, realising they are well placed to deliver content that are now looking for ‘The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered’.
“I can’t sit still and see another man slaving and working. I want to get up and superintend, and walk around with my hands in my pockets, and tell him what to do. It is my energetic nature. I can’t help it.”
Jerome K Jerome expressed this noble sentiment in his masterfully amusing 1889 tome, Three Men In A Boat, and, since reading it the other day, it has been bouncing around the inside of my skull. In response to this, I have decided to, if not actually plan a talk, then to suggest a few possibilities, a few miniature ideas that need only be expanded a little (lot) to be worth considering (or, more probably, not).
What do I want to hear people speak about?
- False nostalgia and all its associated nonsense including (but not limited to) lack of progression and stifling of innovation.
- The infuriating focus on profit from silicon valley which is promoting the same borderline psychopathic business practices and personalities as Wall Street is being damned for (does that make it the new old Wall Street?)
- The fallacy of ‘expertise’ in the humanitarian sector. No one has defined what ‘development’ even is, and it’s starting to create real problems as people don’t really know what they’re supposed to be buying into.
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