porque não gosto de ted talks

ted talks são onde o conhecimento vai para morrer.

de morte horrível, convulsionada, agonizante.

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(nota prévia: quando digo que eu não gosto de ted talks eu não quero dizer que acho que devam ser proibidos e nem é uma crítica a quem gosta. eu só estou dizendo que eu não gosto. abaixo, alguns textos que articulam meu desconforto.)

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Why do some people dislike TED?

“A guy asked his friend, the writer David Foster Wallace, “Say, Dave, how’d y’get t’be so dang smart?”

His answer: “I did the reading.”

TED makes you think you’ve learned a lot in 18 minutes, when you really haven’t. It offers the illusion of an easier alternative to good old-fashioned hard work when it comes to learning or knowing something. And that’s why it’s dangerous.

If you can watch the videos while being aware enough that you’ve barely scratched the surface of complex fields and issues, then you’re good to go.”

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“No wonder Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the author of Black Swan, on his own website has vehemently mentioned- “Please no invitations from TEDx related venue”. He also describes TED as “a monstrosity that turns scientists and thinkers into low-level entertainers, like circus performers.””

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“A good deal of TED enthusiasts (the ones who post talks to Facebook) seem to think that listening to a 20-minute talk is an intellectual endeavor, when it really isn’t.

There’s nothing special about these talks — in fact, they’re surprisingly devoid of substance. Even if the presenter talks in rapid spurts, there really isn’t a lot of information that can be covered in such a short amount of time. And each lecture is a one-way discussion; only one side of an argument is presented, so it can be made as compelling as the speaker desires without standing up to rigorous inspection.

It annoys me when people post a lecture and say, “Listen to this! This guy/girl is so right!” when they can’t possibly know anything about a topic that is still hotly debated among Economics PhD’s, for instance. The talks are simply a form of entertainment — the contrarian arguments give listeners the good feeling that they know something that other people don’t. This is what creates the urge to “share”.”

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The trouble with TED talks

The genius of TED is that it takes capable-but-ordinary speakers, doing old talks they’ve performed many times elsewhere, and dresses them up in a production that makes you feel like you’re watching Kennedy announce the race to the moon.

TED Talks are designed to make people feel good about themselves; to flatter them and make them feel clever and knowledgeable; to give them the impression that they’re part of an elite group making the world a better place. People join for much the same reason they join societies like Mensa: it gives them a chance to label themselves part of an intellectual elite. That intelligence is optional, and you need to be rich and well-connected to get into the conferences and the exclusive fringe parties and events that accompany them, simply adds to the irresistible allure. TED’s slogan shouldn’t be ‘Ideas worth spreading’, it should be: ‘Ego worth paying for’.

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The Naked and the TED

Today TED is an insatiable kingpin of international meme laundering—a place where ideas, regardless of their quality, go to seek celebrity, to live in the form of videos, tweets, and now e-books. In the world of TED—or, to use their argot, in the TED “ecosystem”—books become talks, talks become memes, memes become projects, projects become talks, talks become books—and so it goes ad infinitum in the sizzling Stakhanovite cycle of memetics, until any shade of depth or nuance disappears into the virtual void.

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Stuff White People Like: Ted Talks

Unfortunately being able to create something that makes you feel smarter without having to do a lot of work has been very difficult. So only a few ideas have ever gained traction with white people, the most notable of which being documentary films and public radio. However, in the past decade a new item has been added to this very short list-TED Talks.

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We need to talk about TED

whats wrong with ted talks

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.

Also, it just doesn’t work.

Recently TEDGlobal said “no” to placebo science and medicine. But the corollaries of placebo science and placebo medicine are placebo politics and placebo innovation. On this point, TED has a long way to go.

When inspiration becomes manipulation, inspiration becomes obfuscation. If you are not cynical you should be sceptical. You should be as sceptical of placebo politics as you are placebo medicine.

As for one simple take away … I don’t have one simple take away, one magic idea. That’s kind of the point. I will say that if and when the key problems facing our species were to be solved, then perhaps many of us in this room would be out of work (and perhaps in jail).

Instead of dumbing-down the future, we need to raise the level of general understanding to the level of complexity of the systems in which we are embedded and which are embedded in us. This is not about “personal stories of inspiration”, it’s about the difficult and uncertain work of demystification and reconceptualisation: the hard stuff that really changes how we think. More Copernicus, less Tony Robbins.

At a societal level, the bottom line is if we invest in things that make us feel good but which don’t work, and don’t invest in things that don’t make us feel good but which may solve problems, then our fate is that it will just get harder to feel good about not solving problems.

In this case the placebo is worse than ineffective, it’s harmful. It’s diverts your interest, enthusiasm and outrage until it’s absorbed into this black hole of affectation.

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The tantalizing secret-of why ted talks are useless

We get a little boost from just saying our goals out loud. That’s right, every time you tell someone about your goal, that great accomplishment you’re working towards, you get a little self-esteem boost. It’s actually similar to the feeling you get when you actually accomplish the goal.

So that sounds great, right? Well, not exactly. Studies also show that once you get that little boost you are less focused on actually doing the hard work of achieving the goal. You rest on your laurels. So it turns out that people who don’t talk about their goals actually stand a better chance of accomplishing them.

I know, I know, it’s crazy. I can see you’re all stunned.

And I know what you’re thinking: what does this have to do with TED talks?! Well, when it comes right down to it, it’s all just a bunch of talking, isn’t it? The speakers stand up and deliver a neat speech about an interesting subject and we all feel moved to get up and do something and, heck, maybe make a difference out there. And then the next speaker does the same and we get all motivated again. There’s no doubt this makes us feel good but these TED talks give us the same counter-productive self-esteem boost that talking about our goal does.

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Against TED

What began as something spontaneous and unique has today become a parody of itself. What was exceptional and emergent in the realm of ideas has been bottled, packaged, and sold back to us over and over again. The whole TED vibe has come to resemble a sales pitch.

My critique has to do with TED’s epistemic style — that is, what counts as knowledge and how that knowledge is disseminated. TED is not simply “engaging” and “entertaining” but a specific type of entertainment that is increasingly out of touch and exclusionary.

Yes, people want new and entertaining ideas but feel alienated by the branding and packaging reminiscent of the corporate Silicon Valley establishment. “Consumers” are savvy, and they know when they are being sold to. So many of the TED talks take on the form of those famous patent medicine tonic cure-all pitches of previous centuries, as though they must convince you not through the content of what’s being said but through the hyper-engaging style of the delivery. Each new “big idea” to “inspire the world” and “change everything” pitched from the TED stage reminds me of the swamp root and snake oil liniment being sold from a wagon a hundred years past. As Mike Bulajewski pointed out in a Tweet, “TED’s ‘revolutionary ideas’ mask capitalism as usual, giving it a narrative of progress and change.”

TED attempts to present itself as fresh, cutting edge, and outside the box but often fails to deliver. It’s become the Urban Outfitters of the ideas world, finding “cool” concepts suitable for being packaged and sold to the masses, thereby extinguishing the “cool” in the process. Cutting-edge ideas not carrying the Apple-esque branding are difficult to find.

At TED, “everyone is Steve Jobs” and every idea is treated like an iPad. The conferences have come to resemble religious meetings and the TED talks techno-spiritual sermons, pushing an evangelical, cultish attitude toward “the new ideas that will change the world.” Everything becomes “magical” and “inspirational.” In just the top-ten most-viewed TED talks, we get the messages of “inspiration,” “astonishment,” “insight,” “mathmagic” and the “thrilling potential of SixthSense technology”! The ideas most popular are those that pander to a metaphysical, magical portrayal of the role of technology in the world.

TED style aligns much more easily to articulating ideas that sell than ideas that concern power, domination, and social inequalities. Real cutting-edge ideas also come from the margins. TED’s corporate-establishment voice and style aren’t without their uses, but they are certainly not innovative or cutting edge.

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por fim, abaixo, minha ted talk favorita:

patos fazem quá quá, galinhas dizem cocoricó

ducks go quack onion talks

§ 2 respostas para porque não gosto de ted talks

  • Concordo em parte….e entendo a preocupação com o conhecimento. e eu me enquadro naqueles que sabem que é apenas um arranhado na superfície.
    O que acho interessante no TED é aquilo que Schopenhauer já dizia no seu A ARTE DE ESCREVER: ” Quem tem o que dizer não fala difícil, é direto e reto. Quem fala difícil não tem o que dizer…”
    A maioria das opiniões contrárias ao TED são de Cientistas ou pensadores que falam difícil…e não tem nada a dizer.
    O Importante do TED é que em 18 minutos conseguir falar ou mesmo arranhar a supefície de assuntos muitos deles difíceis de explicar…
    Por exemplo Aleex, gosto dos seus textos que recebo por email, me fazem pensar, memso os que eu discorod..
    São objetivos e não pretendem esgotar o assunto.
    daria um bom TED…pense nisso…

  • Haroldo Gre disse:


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