It’s not what you think, its what you feel…

English: Chris Anderson is the curator of the ...

Chris Anderson is the curator of the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference Français : Chris Anderson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…and darling, you feel marvelous, or inspired, or funny, or persuasive, or jaw-dropping…at least that is how the TED Talks are being promoted on the Apple TV app. TED is entertainment – if you learn something from any of the videos great, but if the video is not entertaining, it won’t be up there. Why is that on my TV? Because I haven’t shut it off yet. Someone sent me a vaguely relevant “this video changes everything” link that was somewhat interesting so I had not gotten around to going into the Apple TV preferences and shutting it off. Yes, you can do that. I only have nine or ten channels or services there. I use it mostly to get media from my computer to my TV, but anyway: I am, as usual, really annoyed by how TED presents information. It is a strange form of entertainment. I don’t mind that people want to feel a sense of wonder. I am all for that. But lets not mistake it for learning or knowledge. One of the things that these talks pander to is our sense that learning about how the world works is a difficult thing. Getting a real idea about how to solve problems is tricky. But along comes a TED Talk and you can feel good about what you think you know about world hunger or quantum mechanics in eight minutes. Real knowledge about something takes time, work, and engagement, no one can give that to you. I hope that no one is going to this Apple TV app thinking that they want to learn something in particular because it is categorized not by what someone would want to know but what one wants to feel. I used to encounter this often with freshmen, and I still encounter it on Facebook. Someone will post something on Facebook with a photo or data that is false, I call them on it, and they say “the data may be wrong, but the issue is so dire, we can’t quibble about that now.” On top of that, I know some smart, knowledgable, innovative people who have given TED Talks but you won’t find them up there because even though they are thinking in ways light years ahead of our time, they just weren’t jaw-droppingly entertaining enough.

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