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The Internet has brought a variety of opportunities for the development of human potential, but it also introduced people to lots of distractions. Making knowledge more accessible and noticeable to engage people in self-development is one of the modern challenges. TED Talks are a phenomenon of global significance because they have the potential to change the world of education and individual perception of learning. Kamenetz (2010) has a good point that TED is a powerful instrument for sharing ideas and knowledge because it has changed the lives of many speakers and connected hundreds and thousands of people around the world. I fully support the position of Kamenetz on this issue and will argue that all the above is true to life.
The process of sharing ideas is in itself a great way to push forward science and technology. Discoveries do not usually happen in a vacuum, and in order to produce some value, there is a necessity to process a certain amount of information or to do research. Generating quality data and disseminating it across the Internet certainly contributes to the acceleration of that process. Kamenetz (2010) writes about Jill Bolte Taylor whose life changed after her speech in TED and whose work became known to many more people. It certainly helped her to become more effective at generating new knowledge than if she did not participate in TED Talks. Given that, it could be safe to assume that others, inspired by her revelations, would become one step closer to their own scientific or technological discoveries.
According to Bratton (2013), TED does not contribute to the development of science and technology because it oversimplifies knowledge and, therefore, leaves the world in stagnation regarding bright ideas and actual progress. However, the process of creating innovation does not always have a clear beginning. It can rarely be predicted in which manner a discovery is made. Bratton (2013) argues that TED does not work, yet he has no control over millions of people who watched TED on YouTube. Therefore, he cannot say for sure that none of the viewers has created something of value for science or technology.
The human brain consists of myriads of neurons and synapses between them. In each person, the synapses connect neurons differently, hence the difference in the way we think and in the knowledge we possess. Therefore, it is unclear how new information may affect a person. Millions may watch a TED talk with no positive effect at all, but all it takes for the 18-minute show to generate value is to spark a single bright idea in an individual’s mind.
Speakers on TED Talks are mostly professionals, and their ideas are worth listening to for the people who need inspiration and motivation. Receiving that from TED Talks, they may start an ambitious project of their own. They may also engage in other’s projects to help mutual dreams come true. Kamenetz (2010) mentioned that Bob Corrigan’s encyclopedia of life, of which he talked on TED, gained many supporters who were willing to contribute. That means that TED creates a positive impact on people’s lives in many ways including the establishment of mutually beneficial bonds.
Connecting people is one of the greatest achievements of TED. The conference inspires people to act instead of being simple consumers. That is partly the reason why TED features people who have a strong vision and a bright idea. They seek other people who could help them and such individuals usually appear. In addition to that, TED broadens media space and gets more people to know about great ideas. For instance, Loudenback (2017) shares valuable TED Talks through a popular media, Business Insider that has millions of users every day.
Bright ideas from TED have more than one way of spreading. People who watch TED Talks tend to share them with friends, colleagues, relatives (Kamenetz, 2010). That fact speaks for the vast area of coverage and adds to the notion of innovation being created by individuals out there. Besides connecting users, TED also creates value by fostering collaboration among speakers. People who are passionate about what they share with the audience tend to find like-minded individuals as was the case with the author and Gever Tully. Kamenetz (2010) reports having benefitted from working together and contributing to the development of an education movement that is centered on learners.
Above all else, TED is a medium itself and a source of free knowledge. The positive effect of that is recognized even by Bratton (2013) who claims that the organization creates nothing of value. TED follows its goals and spreads the ideas of the speakers free of charge making their license and all their videos free (Kamenetz, 2010). The organization improves the quality of content on the Internet, which is an important step towards inspiring youth for choosing self-education rather than pure entertainment. TED Talks have their own means of distribution such as a website and YouTube channel the popularity of which grows steadily attracting new followers each day. All of that makes the organization a large player who shapes the present and the future of internet behaviors, making them more knowledge-oriented.
All things considered, TED Talks are a phenomenon that positively affects the development of science and technology and creates value by connecting people around the world through idea-sharing. The considerations of the fact that TED does not work lack proof while the opposite argument presents plenty. The examples of people having their lives changed by the experience they had as speakers prove the fact that there is a certain magic that works for the benefit of humankind.
There is a large educational, media, and collaboration potential that the phenomenon of TED brought to the Internet. Given all the points discussed above, it is certainly a good idea to be inspired by the speakers and become one yourself thereby contributing to the connection of the global community. Therefore, in the clash of viewpoints developed by Kamenetz and Bratton, there is a clear winner.
Bratton, B. (2013). We need to talk about TED. The Guardian. Web.
Kamenetz, A. (2010). How TED connects the idea-hungry elite. Fast Company. Web.
Loudenback, T. (2017). 9 of the most fascinating TED Talks about money. Business Insider. Web.