TED: Why Ideas Matter

Source: TED, Jun 2016

What can help knit humanity together?
Great ideas, says TED curator Chris Anderson.

The need for new ideas has never been more apparent. Two huge areas in particular are crying out for fresh thinking.

The first is the future of work itself. The truth is that because of the new capabilities of technology, most of the jobs that disappeared are never coming back … and they probably shouldn’t. Humans are capable of being so much more than production line robots. But without jobs, how do they survive? Long-term, we can dream of a world rich enough to pay everyone a living wage as a birthright, of thriving human creativity, and of thrilling new ways for humans to build on and collaborate with machine intelligence.

But how do we get there? There are no quick answers. It may take a revolution in education; we may even need to rethink capitalism itself. Certainly we’ll need ideas to address the growing inequality that has driven so much of the anger. So let’s seek out those with compelling ideas to offer here. The current system is in danger of breaking. We need to give a platform to dreamers and reformers who are thinking outside the box.

The second huge area? Our treasured global values. It seems clear now that millions of people around the world are rejecting a global order that they feel was foisted on them and has given them nothing.

Here, we can’t back down. The idea of one connected humanity has inspired the world’s greatest reformers for centuries.

we have to help people find a new way of seeing that the dream of one world is not threatening, but beautiful. The key may be to stop framing this dream as a top-down system driven by faceless global elites who tell us all what to do, but instead as a flourishing of human possibility that’s happening right here on the ground. People from all corners of the globe connecting with each other and discovering to their delight that they share so many hopes and dreams, and also have so many remarkable things to learn from each other, and to be amazed by each other.

Ideas matter. And if ideas matter, openness matters. Ideas can’t be contained by borders. They’re for all of us. And ultimately, I believe humans are capable of being inspired by ideas that will draw them toward the reflective, reasoning, forward-thinking part of who they are instead of the fearful, angry part. Together we’ll figure out the right way forward.


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