“I recently watched some of the talks from this conference on my laptop. They hit like parodies of a bygone era, so ridiculous that it made me almost nostalgic for a time when TED talks captivated me. Back then, around a decade ago, I watched those articulate, audacious, composed people talk about how they were building robots that would eat trash and turn it into oxygen, or whatever, and I felt hopeful about the future. But the trash-eating robots never arrived. With some distance, now, from a world in which TED seemed to offer a bright path forward, it’s time to ask: what exactly is TED? And what happened to the future it envisioned?”