TED Talk: The Six “Killer Apps” of Prosperity

I recently watched this TED talk on the six “killer apps” of prosperity:

Very interesting presentation. Some thoughts:

  • The concept of “killer apps” is an interesting metaphor to apply to traits of a society.
  • Ferguson did a good job of debunking the myth of  Western Imperialism being any more pronounced than Eastern Imperialism.
  • The claim by a Scottish speaker before a primarily American audience that the publication of Scottish writer and philosopher Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations” was the most significant event in 1776 was both amusing and thought provoking.
  • Ferguson’s points around the Germans and the Koreans were very strong.
  • I wonder if you had ten historians with different belief systems come up with lists of the six killer apps that speak of the success of Western Civilization how much overlap there would be on those lists? Maybe quite a bit, but somehow I think some confirmation bias would sneak in. Maybe it also has with Ferguson’s list.
  • The whole idea of Killer Apps to me is a smaller thing that gets you excited about the larger thing that has some exclusivity to it. Going with that broad definition, this is actually a pretty apt metaphor for some of the things on the list.