Genetic Enhancement, TED Talks and the Sense of Wonder

Article Summary by Loredana Filip

Science can be communicated to the public in various ways, including books and journal articles. And yet in our digital world, online interactions have a growing impact on the audience. TED talks became a widely available and highly popular resource for the communication and reception of science. They reach huge audiences, their content is accessible, condensed and entertaining.

However, TED is also an American media organization – and this culture may affect how science is communicated. For instance, the cultural values of optimism and individualism can influence how the ‘science of genes’ is presented: it can be framed as a story of genetic enhancement.

This paper takes a closer look at the stories of genetic enhancement in TED: or, the idea that we can manipulate the genome to improve ourselves. We need to explore such stories in more detail because they do not only disseminate information, they can inform future policies as well.

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Read the article on the Medical Humanities website.


Loredana Filip is a PhD candidate at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and a fellow of the Collaborative Research Centre “Cultures of Vigilance.” She was a research assistant, lecturer and tutor for international students at Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg where she also received her Master degree in North American Studies. Her dissertation explores the ways in which the culture of self-help influences science communication, especially in TED talks. Her research interests include the history of science, affect theory and critical posthumanism. She recently published a book chapter with Routledge on a similar topic.

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