Is PopTech the new TED Talk? Wired.com thinks so.

For the last few years, if you wanted to hear someone really smart tell you about something really complex in a really short amount of time, you would seek a TED Talk.  The speaking series has put some profound ideas about science, astronomy, medicine, social science, and many other complex topics before average people in ways they can understand.  The success of TED Talks has made a competitor out of another series of talks that once flew pretty low under the radar.

Wired.com argues that PopTech is the new TED and should be your destination to learn about the new, the weird, and the amazing.  PopTech is not new.  In fact, the conference has been around for about 20 years now, but were never concerned about reaching a wide audience.  Now that TED has blazed the trail for this type of learning, PopTech is rapidly growing as an additional if not alternative speakers series.

At its inception, PopTech was heavily focused on technology but has recently expanded to include similar topics to TED; futurism, medicine, business, and even skateboarding.

Some of the most popular PopTech talks include the unveiling of new cancer fighting technology, the rise and fall and rise again of LEGOs, and the future of biologically influenced adhesives.

So why is PopTech emerging as a competitor to TED now?  Part of the reason is the perception that TED Talks have become overly simplistic and simply serve as a way for the inquisitive to become conversational on a complicated topic in a matter of minutes.  Watch a TED Talk and be the smartest guy in the room at your next party.  At least that’s the perception of some.

PopTech serves as an alternative due to it’s truly cutting edge subject matter and underground feel.  If TED Talks are eventually outpaced by PopTech, it will probably just be a case of becoming too popular to be “cool.”  Whether TED or PopTech is your darling, watching a few of either one sure isn’t going to make you any dumber.

Check out David Robertson on the history of LEGOs for a taste of PopTech