When the first TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference was held way back in 1984, it wasn’t quite the paradigm-shifting cultural juggernaut it is today. That growth happened gradually over time, with each subsequent event expanding in scope. The events became so popular, in fact, that regular attendees were known to buy up Vancouver homes for sale so they could be on the ground floor of TED’s flagship conference that is held every year in the bustling Canadian city.
All that changed in 2020, when the outbreak of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the Vancouver event’s first-ever cancellation. Smaller TED events in other cities across the world were held throughout 2021, including ones in China, Egypt, Portugal, Yemen, and Australia, but the big Vancouver blowout was still nowhere to be seen. With the constant rising and falling of COVID-19 infection rates, the future of TED remains up in the air, but here are a few things die-hard TED-heads can expect going forward:
A Greater Emphasis on Virtual Presentations
Since the early 2000s, TED has been a leader in embracing the power of the internet, using digital streaming and recorded multimedia content to bring presentations to audiences all across the globe. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization was well-positioned to pivot towards producing more online content in place of their usual live events, and that’s exactly what it did. As society tentatively inches toward what we all hope is a post-pandemic world, it’s likely that TED’s greater emphasis on virtual conferences and presentations will continue playing a major role in bringing new ideas to the masses.
More Talks About Health & Medical Science
In 2015, Bill Gates gave a TED Talk in which he warned that the modern world was vulnerable and unprepared for a life-threatening, large-scale pandemic. History has proven him right; as a result, people are reevaluating many of the things they once took for granted, including their sense of security and knowledge about health issues. Likewise, the general public has seen a renewed interest in the development of more effective and efficient medical treatments, even as social media has inundated the discourse with confusing misinformation. Unsurprisingly, all of these topics look to play a large role in TED programming for the foreseeable future.
Higher Demand for Smaller Regional Events
Though stay-at-home orders and greatly reduced capacity limits for live events have made it difficult to host larger events like TED Vancouver, none of this has done anything to decrease the public’s thirst for knowledge. If anything, it’s exacerbated it. The result? While large-scale TED events have become fewer, small-scale regional gatherings are more in demand than ever. This newly heightened focus on decentralization has helped foster stronger community engagement in areas where TED had a much harder time penetrating in previous years, so it’s likely this strategy will only continue to expand.
TED Vancouver is All Set to Return in 2022
As stimulating as local events and online-only presentations are, many devoted TED-heads are still clamoring for the return of the organization’s much-beloved and long-running Vancouver-set super-conference. Fortunately, as of this writing, TED Vancouver is scheduled to finally return in 2022. Although little information is available at this point, the event’s theme has already been unveiled: “A New Era.” Clearly, fans can expect TED Talks to continue being a fixture of today’s academic and entertainment landscape, as the organization seems poised to evolve to accommodate the new status quo.