For the past three weeks, I’ve been working feverishly on this third installment, exploring the evolution of storytelling — something I feel TED embodies on multiple levels.
The Evolution of Storytelling (video)
With the increasing amount of information available to us, the narrative we construct from and about it is of increasing importance — in understanding that information, in contextualizing it within our own reality, and in relating to it in ways that truly transform it from information to insight. Much of what we know about the world comes from the stories we’ve been told about it, and is reinforced by the stories we continue to tell ourselves and each other. These stories are built over layers of sociology, psychology, scientific paradigm, moral judgment, aesthetic conception, and various other factors each embedded in the tools and conventions of our era. To truly understand the evolution of this narrative, we have to first understand these tools and mechanisms driving storytelling – changing media, tectonic shifts in journalism, technological innovation, art and design as change agents, political dialogues, social movements, and other threads of our cultural fabric that interact with each other and cross-pollinate to produce the rich story of our time.
TED is the epitome of cultural storytelling. Through content curation and production value, TED finds the most engaging and compelling ideas in the world, puts them on a grand stage full of wonder and fascination, and frames them in a way that captures the world’s attention and imagination. This is storytelling. That stage is our modern-day campfire. At the same time, storytelling is always shaped by the tools of the day – new media, smart algorithms, innovative technology – most of which the world sees for the first time precisely on the TED stage. From the incredible Allosphere to MIT’s Sixth Sense to Jonathan Harris’ visualization magic, these tools and artist-scientists embody the cutting edge of storytelling, the forces that shape and define it for years to come.
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