TEDxMet skirted Silicon Valley clichés—there was no Singularity worship, no teach-a-starving-child-to-code palaver—but it offered no erudition or insight or even surprise. All it offered was the sensation of being borne along on a lazy river of what TED likes to call “ideas.” That, rather than any individual lecture, was what made TEDxMet so dispiriting. Not for these folks was the museum a place where, like Rilke at the Louvre, you could be struck dumb by an archaic torso of Apollo and realize that you must change your life. The experience of art is too risky for TED. Instead art was reduced to just another nifty kind of shareable content, accelerating rather than resisting the tech world’s malign delusion that it participates in creative activity.
By Jason Farago