Steven Pinker's Tedtalk Summary

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In this TEDTalk, Steven Pinker introduced an interesting trend in societal violence. The talk began by presenting fax that showed a dramatic decrease in the amount of violent crime beginning as far back as the earliest human hunter-gatherers. In many places during that time period, the chances of dying at the hands of another human were as high is sixty percent. Although the media and people tend to believe we are living in a time of extreme violence, we are actually living during one of the most peaceful times in human history. Even though the 20th Century witnessed tragedies such as the Holocaust, Rwanda, Stalin’s mass executions, and two World Wars, the chances of a human by violent means was less than three percent. So why is it that so …show more content…

Pinker proposes a few possible answers to this question. For one, he states that better reporting and the instant access to news has made us more aware of violence and cruelty taking place in the world. A hundred years ago, a double-murder suicide in California most likely wouldn't have made it past local news. Today, the Associated Press would instantaneously have an article ready to be distributed by thousands of media outlets, and everybody would be able to read about it from anywhere with the internet. Another possible reason for the illusion of our world being more violent than ever is the advocacy market. As Pinker humorously points out, “Nobody attracted advocates and donors by saying ‘things just seem to be getting better and better’.” I suggest an answer similar to that of Pinker’s first, that the news media has helped to create this illusion. However, unlike Pinker, I don’t accredit this illusion to innocent improved reporting. I believe that the media draws out and dramatizes tragedies for the sake of ratings, and even attempts to encourage reportable behavior. For example, recently, in the attention build-up relating to the release of a video showing a white police

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