It may have been the TEDx talk in Valencia, Spain, by the Great Soul of Hugs that rang the alarm bell at headquarters for big-think conference TED. Or perhaps the free-energy, buzzword-crammed stylings of TEDx speaker Randy Powellin Charlotte, North Carolina, about “vortex-based mathematics.”Whatever the final straw, the big brains at TED schooled their rabid audience Friday on the perils of pseudo-science. The ultimate warning: “Presenting bad science on the TEDx stage is grounds for revoking your license.”
TED posted a letter to the TEDx community on its blog warning of the pitfalls of bad science. TEDx conferences happen in cities and towns across the world. To date there have been 5,000 events and 21,000 TEDx talks put up online.
While they are based on the well-known TED conference, and would-be TEDx event planners need to apply for a free TEDx license to use the brand, the satellite events aren’t organized nor are speakers vetted by TED staffers. That’s left up to the individual TEDx organizers. And it is where the process has failed in some cases, says TEDx Director Lara Stein.
“This isn’t the first time it’s happened, but the community does a pretty good job of policing itself, and most of the time there are amazing events,” says Stein. “But we thought it was an important enough issue to respond directly and help the community respond to this better.”