Can we still solve big problems? Five Questions with Jason Pontin

In the second of several new interviews in a revitalized "Five Questions" series, the editor in chief and publisher of Technology Review, Jason Pontin, connects with the IdeaFestival.

Watch the edited video to the right. Time stamps following each question (below) indicate where that question begins in the video.

Jason will appear at IdeaFestival 2013, where he will moderate a panel on Big Questions, Big Ideas and Intractable Problems that will include a name symbolic with blogging, Dave Winer, who created the RSS syndication standard. Digital syndication, combined with the then new medium of blogging, gave distinctive voices a chance for the first time to build audiences, just as their print counterparts did.

You don't want to miss Jason's panel! Festival Passes are now on sale, but don't wait too long to get yours. Sales are far ahead of last year's pace and we're expecting to sell out.


1) Your most recent editor's note in Technology Review points out a couple of stories about the human role in "an automated world," and included the intriguing comment that "technological advances are not the same as progress." Do you believe the current divergence between wage growth and productivity in the United States is exacerbated by technology? If so, what technologies are responsible? And where do you see humans fitting in an "automated" future?

2) You're the editor of Technology Review. Since the IdeaFestival is all about the importance of innovation, how as a practical matter has Technology Review responded to changes in its industry? (2:22)

3) Today's media-saturated culture has of late drawn its share of critics, which include such people as Evgeny Morozov, Jaron Lanier and Nicholas Carr. If the medium is the message, how, in your opinion, are we being changed by the communications tools we use? What changes do you see on the horizon? (4:55)

4) Let's play Jeopardy! What question is an IdeaFestival audience member likely to ask following your panel? (8:00)

5) Isadora Duncan is quoted as saying, “If I could tell you what it meant, there would be no point in dancing it.” How do you "stay curious?" (9:30)