Stumbled across a talk by Benjamin Bratton that shares an interesting perspective on TED. To me it's also a stimulating comment on the increasing bubble of design-thinking, placebo-innovation and increasing shallowness of social-media. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yo5cKRmJaf0
"Perhaps the pinnacle of placebo politics and innovation was featured at TEDx San Diego in 2011. You're familiar I assume with Kony2012, the social media campaign to stop war crimes in central Africa? So what happened here? Evangelical surfer bro goes to help kids in Africa. He makes a campy video explaining genocide to the cast of Glee. The world finds his public epiphany to be shallow to the point of self-delusion. The complex geopolitics of central Africa are left undisturbed. Kony's still there. The end.
You see, 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."
I found this particular part of his speech to be very much to the point:
"The potential for these technologies are both wonderful and horrifying at the same time, and to make them serve good futures, design as "innovation" just isn't a strong enough idea by itself. We need to talk more about design as "immunisation," actively preventing certain potential "innovations" that we do not want from happening."
I really would like to see the field of design (rapid-prototyping, visual storytelling, ...) to be used as a tool to evaluate technological possibilities. Rather than being used as an instrument to manipulate and to beautify technology without questioning its range of application. Sources: