Great read on “Generation TED”: Super excited

This essay by Julian Baggini is a great read. I’m not against TED at all, but there are some important things to keep in mind, noted in this essay I actually ‘re-found’ via Ben Caudron.

The good:

“Thinkers and writers need to be thrown together for serendipitous intellectual encounters to occur.”…”This is something that Generation TED has definitely got right. Everyone rightly bemoans the way that academic specialisation and organisational silos prevent people from sharing expertise and knowledge. Most experts have at least one thing to say which is of interest to people outside their specialist field, so we need forums that allow experts to communicate and share in non-technical language.”


“Generation TED does lack sufficient scepticism. Truly great ideas are sculpted with the chisel of critical thought, not created fully formed by spontaneous genius and good intent. We don’t need to wallow with postmodern irony in the contradictions and paradoxes of the modern world but nor should we ignore them.”


“Just as Generation TED needs a bit of scepticism, so it also needs to recognise that intellectual nuggets are only tasters and not the final word: just because something takes 18 minutes to watch, that doesn’t mean it takes only 18 minutes to fully understand.”

One thought on “Great read on “Generation TED”: Super excited

  1. Thanks for the link, I enjoyed the essay by Julian Baggini but am not sure I buy into the premise that, “Generation TED” (an obvious extension of Gen X, Y, Z …) believes the things that he ascribes to them; that there is not the need for careful thought and that these ideas do not need hard thought and hard work. I am sure there are some – perhaps fuelled by a media cultural of immediacy and immediate fame – would this be “Generation X-factor” who think in this way – but many of the speakers within the TED culture talk of their own struggles and failures and hard work before having their 18 mins.

    I hope that what happens is what is hinted at in your final quote – not that they are tasters but that they are inspiration points. I read a different blog earlier today entitled “Star Wars inspired me to become an astrophysicist – and I wasn’t disappointed”.

    However maybe it would be useful if the TED talks have as their subtext Edison’s quote from Harper Magazine in 1903 “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration”

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