Also in the Times today, Megan Hustad writes The Church of TED, arguing that TED is on its way to becoming a secular cult in all the wrong ways. The article is a fun read, and it just might hold the seeds of a recipe of sorts for critically evaluating a TED talk as-it-happens. Is the talk taking a specific issue, then “lifting” it to ten thousand feet, producing sweeping sentences on human behavior or technology that are probably not supported by the initial kernel of detail? Thinking back, I have seen many a TED talk use this outline, and it can pull us along way beyond where we ought to be shaking our head and laughing it off. Robots aren’t the only ones who will eventually hone the power of rhetoric in speech– we humans are pretty amazing at innovating, tweaking and massively deploying new communication techniques too- the Internet just turbocharges the speed of optimization and the global infection rate.