To study a system as complex as the entire universe, astrophysicists need to be experts at extracting simple solutions from large data sets. What else could they do with this expertise? In an interdisciplinary talk, TED Fellow and astrophysicist Federica Bianco explains how she uses astrophysical data analysis to solve urban and social problems -- as well as stellar mysteries.
We need humor like we need the air we breathe, says editorial cartoonist Patrick Chappatte. In a talk illustrated with highlights from a career spent skewering everything from dictators and ideologues to selfies and social media mobs, Chappatte makes a resounding, often hilarious case for the necessity of satire. "Political cartoons were born with democracy, and they are challenged when freedom is," he says.
Rising carbon levels in the atmosphere can make plants grow faster, but there's another hidden consequence: they rob plants of the nutrients and vitamins we need to survive. In a talk about global food security, epidemiologist Kristie Ebi explores the potentially massive health consequences of this growing nutrition crisis -- and explores the steps we can take to ensure all people have access to safe, healthy food.
In a talk and demo, Twitch cofounder Emmett Shear shares his vision for the future of interactive entertainment -- and explains how video game streaming is helping people build communities online. "I am excited for a world where our entertainment could connect us instead of isolating us -- a world where we can bond with each other over our shared interests and create real, strong communities," Shear says.
Rising inequality and growing political instability are the direct result of decades of bad economic theory, says entrepreneur Nick Hanauer. In a visionary talk, he dismantles the mantra that "greed is good" -- an idea he describes as not only morally corrosive, but also scientifically wrong -- and lays out a new theory of economics powered by reciprocity and cooperation.
Community organizer Raj Jayadev wants to transform the US court system through "participatory defense" -- a growing movement that empowers families and community members to impact their loved ones' court cases. He shares the remarkable results of their work -- including more than 4,000 years of "time saved" from incarceration -- and shows how this new model could shift the landscape of power in the courts.
Reading slowly -- with her finger running beneath the words, even when she was taught not to -- has led Jacqueline Woodson to a life of writing books to be savored. In a lyrical talk, she invites us to slow down and appreciate stories that take us places we never thought we'd go and introduce us to people we never thought we'd meet. "Isn't that what this is all about -- finding a way, at the end of the day, to not feel alone in this world, and a way to feel like we've changed it before we leave?" she asks.
The use of deepfake technology to manipulate video and audio for malicious purposes -- whether it's to stoke violence or defame politicians and journalists -- is becoming a real threat. As these tools become more accessible and their products more realistic, how will they shape what we believe about the world? In a portentous talk, law professor Danielle Citron reveals how deepfakes magnify our distrust -- and suggests approaches to safeguarding the truth.
"A record of our emotional life is written on our hearts," says cardiologist and author Sandeep Jauhar. In a stunning talk, he explores the mysterious ways our emotions impact the health of our hearts -- causing them to change shape in response to grief or fear, to literally break in response to emotional heartbreak -- and calls for a shift in how we care for our most vital organ.
Carl June is the pioneer behind CAR T-cell therapy: a groundbreaking cancer treatment that supercharges part of a patient's own immune system to attack and kill tumors. In a talk about a breakthrough, he shares how three decades of research culminated in a therapy that's eradicated cases of leukemia once thought to be incurable -- and explains how it could be used to fight other types of cancer.
When we define racism as behaviors instead of feelings, we can measure it -- and transform it from an impossible problem into a solvable one, says justice scientist Phillip Atiba Goff. In an actionable talk, he shares his work at the Center for Policing Equity, an organization that helps police departments diagnose and track racial gaps in policing in order to eliminate them. Learn more about their data-driven approach -- and how you can get involved with the work that still needs to be done. (This ambitious plan is part of the Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)
"I dream of a world where geography classes teach about the climate crisis as this one great challenge that was won by people like you and me," says climate activist Luisa Neubauer. With Greta Thunberg, Neubauer helped initiate "Fridays For Future," the momentous international school strike movement that protests the lack of action on the climate crisis. She shares four first steps that anyone, regardless of age, can take to become a climate activist. "This is not a job for a single generation. This is a job for humanity," she says.
Journalist Andrew Marantz spent three years embedded in the world of internet trolls and social media propagandists, seeking out the people who are propelling fringe talking points into the heart of conversation online and trying to understand how they're making their ideas spread. Go down the rabbit hole of online propaganda and misinformation -- and learn we can start to make the internet less toxic.
In a hilarious, completely improvised talk, improv master Anthony Veneziale takes to the TED stage for a truly one-of-a-kind performance. Armed with an audience-suggested topic ("stumbling towards intimacy") and a deck of slides he's never seen before, Veneziale crafts a meditation on the intersection of love, language and ... avocados?
"The free, online, mainstream pornography that teenagers are most likely to see is a completely terrible form of sex education," says public health researcher Emily F. Rothman. She shares how her mission to end dating and sexual violence led her to create a pornography literacy program that helps teens learn about consent and respect -- and invites them to think critically about sexually explicit media.
In spring 2019, more than 17,000 Europeans from 33 countries signed up to have a political argument with a complete stranger. They were part of "Europe Talks," a project that organizes one-on-one conversations between people who disagree -- sort of like a Tinder for politics. Editor Jochen Wegner shares the unexpected things that happened when people met up to talk -- and shows how face-to-face discussions could get a divided world to rethink itself.
There's two times more carbon in the earth's soil than in all of its vegetation and the atmosphere -- combined. Biogeochemist Asmeret Asefaw Berhe dives into the science of soil and shares how we could use its awesome carbon-trapping power to offset climate change. "[Soil] represents the difference between life and lifelessness in the earth system, and it can also help us combat climate change -- if we can only stop treating it like dirt," she says.
"North Korea is unimaginable," says human rights activist Yeonmi Park, who escaped the country at the age of 13. Sharing the harrowing story of her childhood, she reflects on the fragility of freedom -- and shows how change can be achieved even in the world's darkest places.
TV news anchor Lee Thomas thought his career was over after he was diagnosed with vitiligo, an autoimmune disorder that left large patches of his skin without pigment and led to derision and stares. In a captivating talk, he shares how he discovered a way to counter misunderstanding and fear around his appearance with engagement, dialogue -- and a smile. "Positivity is something worth fighting for, and the fight is not with others -- it's internal," Thomas says. "If you want to make positive changes in your life, you have to consistently be positive."
What's the best way to get over heartbreak? Rapper and writer Dessa came up with an unconventional approach after a chance viewing of Helen Fisher's TED Talk about the brains of the lovestruck. In a wryly funny talk, she describes how she worked with a neuroscientist to try to get her brain to fall out of love with her ex -- and shares wisdom about romance that she gained along the way.
As we recklessly warm the planet by pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, some industrial emissions also produce particles that reflect sunshine back into space, putting a check on global warming that we're only starting to understand. Climate activist Kelly Wanser asks: Can we engineer ways to harness this effect and further reduce warming? Learn more about the promises and risks of "cloud brightening" -- and how it could help restore our climate to health.
"For all that's ever been said about climate change, we haven't heard nearly enough about the psychological impacts of living in a warming world," says science writer Britt Wray. In this quick talk, she explores how climate change is threatening our well-being -- mental, social and spiritual -- and offers a starting point for what we can do about it.
As Asian economies and governments continue to gain power, the West needs to find ways to adapt to the new global order, says author and diplomat Kishore Mahbubani. In an insightful look at international politics, Mahbubani shares a three-part strategy that Western governments can use to recover power and improve relations with the rest of the world.
Growing up in England, Pico Iyer was taught that the point of a game was to win. Now, some 50 years later, he's realized that competition can be "more like an act of love." In this charming, subtly profound talk, he explores what regular games of ping-pong in his neighborhood in Japan have revealed about the riddle of winning -- and shows why not knowing who's won can feel like the ultimate victory.
In a forward-looking talk, author Bina Venkataraman answers a pivotal question of our time: How can we secure our future and do right by future generations? She parses the mistakes we make when imagining the future of our lives, businesses and communities, revealing how we can reclaim our innate foresight. What emerges is a surprising case for hope -- and a path to becoming the "good ancestors" we long to be.
For the past 20 years, photographer and TED Fellow Jon Lowenstein has documented the migrant journey from Latin America to the United States, one of the largest transnational migrations in world history. Sharing photos from his decade-long project "Shadow Lives USA," Lowenstein takes us into the inner worlds of the families escaping poverty and violence in Central America -- and pieces together the complex reasons people leave their homes in search of a better life.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt has gotten more than his fair share of attention from his acting career. But as social media exploded over the past decade, he got addicted like the rest of us -- trying to gain followers and likes only to be left feeling inadequate and less creative. In a refreshingly honest talk, he explores how the attention-driven model of big tech companies impacts our creativity -- and shares a more powerful feeling than getting attention: paying attention.
Drawing on her research into early childhood development, psychologist Sara Valencia Botto investigates when (and how) children begin to change their behaviors in the presence of others -- and explores what it means for the values we communicate in daily interactions. (Watch for cute footage of sneaky toddlers.)
Victor Vescovo is leading the first-ever manned expedition to the deepest point of each of the world's five oceans. In conversation with TED science curator David Biello, Vescovo discusses the technology that's powering the explorations -- a titanium submersible designed to withstand extraordinary conditions -- and shows footage of a never-before-seen creature taken during his journey to the bottom of the Indian Ocean.
In a breathtaking, jazz-inflected spoken-word performance, TED Fellow Marc Bamuthi Joseph shares a Black father's tender and wrenching internal reflection on the pride and terror of seeing his son enter adulthood.
The more we rely on technology to make us efficient, the fewer skills we have to confront the unexpected, says writer and entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan. She shares why we need less tech and more messy human skills -- imagination, humility, bravery -- to solve problems in business, government and life in an unpredictable age. "We are brave enough to invent things we've never seen before," she says. "We can make any future we choose."
China's one-child policy ended in 2015, but we're just beginning to understand what it was like to live under the program, says TED Fellow and documentary filmmaker Nanfu Wang. With footage from her film "One Child Nation," she shares untold stories that reveal the policy's complex consequences and expose the creeping power of propaganda.
Less than 13 percent of police officers in the United States are women -- despite their proven effectiveness in diffusing violent situations and reducing the use of force. Drawing on more than two decades of experience as a police officer and chief, TED Fellow Ivonne Roman shares how a simple change to police academy physical fitness tests could help build a more balanced force that benefits communities and officers alike.
In 2018, Scotland, Iceland and New Zealand established the network of Wellbeing Economy Governments to challenge the acceptance of GDP as the ultimate measure of a country's success. In this visionary talk, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon explains the far-reaching implications of a "well-being economy" -- which places factors like equal pay, childcare, mental health and access to green space at its heart -- and shows how this new focus could help build resolve to confront global challenges.
To get out of the mess we're in, we need a new story that explains the present and guides the future, says author George Monbiot. Drawing on findings from psychology, neuroscience and evolutionary biology, he offers a new vision for society built around our fundamental capacity for altruism and cooperation. This contagiously optimistic talk will make you rethink the possibilities for our shared future.
The Hindu Kush Himalaya region is the world's third-largest repository of ice, after the North and South Poles -- and if current melting rates continue, two-thirds of its glaciers could be gone by the end of this century. What will happen if we let them melt away? Environmentalist and former Prime Minister of Bhutan Tshering Tobgay shares the latest from the "water towers of Asia," making an urgent call to create an intergovernmental agency to protect the glaciers -- and save the nearly two billion people downstream from catastrophic flooding that would destroy land and livelihoods.
Backed by mathematical analysis, network theorist Albert-László Barabási explores the hidden mechanisms that drive success -- no matter your field -- and uncovers an intriguing connection between your age and your chance of making it big.
Everyone should participate in decision-making and politics -- and it starts at home, says activist Hajer Sharief. She introduces a simple yet transformative idea: that parents can teach their children about political agency by giving them a say in how their households are run, in the form of candid family meetings where everyone can express their opinions, negotiate and compromise. "We need to teach people that political, national and global affairs are as relevant to them as personal and family affairs," she says. "Can you really afford not to be interested or not participate in politics?"
Every 12 years, a megacity springs up in India for the Kumbh Mela religious festival -- what's built in ten weeks is completely disassembled in one. What can we learn from this fully functioning, temporary settlement? In a visionary talk, urban designer Rahul Mehrotra explores the benefits of building impermanent cities that can travel, adapt or even disappear, leaving the lightest possible footprint on the planet.
When humanity first landed on the moon in 1969, the typeface Futura was right there with them. In this fascinating history of typography, designer Douglas Thomas shares Futura's role in launching the Apollo 11 spacecraft -- and how it became one of the most used fonts in the world.
Shocking, but true: the United States has the highest rate of deaths for new mothers of any developed country -- and 60 percent of them are preventable. With clarity and urgency, physician Elizabeth Howell explains the causes of maternal mortality and shares ways for hospitals and doctors to make pregnancy safer for women before, during and after childbirth.
Early education is critical to children's success -- but millions of kids in the United States still don't have access to programs that prepare them to thrive in kindergarten and beyond. Enter the UPSTART Project, a plan to bring early learning into the homes of children in underserved communities, at no cost to families. Education innovator Claudia Miner shares how UPSTART is setting four-year-olds up for success with 15 minutes of learning a day -- and how you can help. (This ambitious plan is a part of the Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)
Refugee and immigrants rights attorney Melanie Nezer shares an urgently needed historical perspective on the crisis at the southern US border, showing how citizens can hold their governments accountable for protecting the vulnerable. "A country shows strength through compassion and pragmatism, not through force and through fear," she says.
"Magic is a great analogy for how we edit reality and form a story -- and then mistake that story for the truth," says psychological illusionist Derren Brown. In a clever talk wrapped around a dazzling mind-reading performance, Brown explores the seductive appeal of finding simple answers to life's complex and subtle questions.
We're not doing frontline exploratory science in a huge portion of the world -- the places governments deem too hostile or disputed. What might we be missing because we're not looking? In this fearless, unexpectedly funny talk, paleoanthropologist Ella Al-Shamahi takes us on an expedition to the Yemeni island of Socotra -- one of the most biodiverse places on earth -- and makes the case for scientists to explore the unstable regions that could be home to incredible discoveries.
Film has the power to change the way we think about ourselves and our culture. Documentarian and TED Fellow Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy uses it to fight violence against women, turning her camera on the tradition of honor killings in Pakistan. In a stirring talk, she shares how she took her Oscar-winning film on the road in a mobile cinema, visiting small towns and villages across Pakistan -- and shifting the dynamics between women, men and society, one screening at a time.
Since its founding in 1851, the "New York Times" has published thousands of obituaries -- for heads of state, famous celebrities, even the inventor of the sock puppet. But only a small percentage of them chronicle the lives of women and people of color. In this insightful talk, "Times" editor Amy Padnani shares the story behind "Overlooked," the project she's leading to recognize people from history whose deaths were ignored -- and refocus society's lens on who is considered important.
Taking design cues from origami, robotician Jamie Paik and her team created "robogamis": folding robots made out super-thin materials that can reshape and transform themselves. In this talk and tech demo, Paik shows how robogamis could adapt to achieve a variety of tasks on earth (or in space) and demonstrates how they roll, jump, catapult like a slingshot and even pulse like a beating heart.
Could psychedelics help us heal from trauma and mental illnesses? Researcher Rick Doblin has spent the past three decades investigating this question, and the results are promising. In this fascinating dive into the science of psychedelics, he explains how drugs like LSD, psilocybin and MDMA affect your brain -- and shows how, when paired with psychotherapy, they could change the way we treat PTSD, depression, substance abuse and more.
From mourning orcas to distressed elephants, biological anthropologist Barbara J. King has witnessed grief and love across the animal kingdom. In this eye-opening talk, she explains the evidence behind her belief that many animals experience complex emotions, and suggests ways all of us can treat them more ethically -- including every time we eat. "Animals don't grieve exactly like we do, but this doesn't mean that their grief isn't real," she says. "It is real, and it's searing, and we can see it if we choose."
When venture investor Natalie Fratto is determining which start-up founder to support, she doesn't just look for intelligence or charisma; she looks for adaptability. In this insightful talk, Fratto shares three ways to measure your "adaptability quotient" -- and shows why your ability to respond to change really matters.
When Julius Maada Bio first seized political power in Sierra Leone in 1996, he did so to improve the lives of its citizens. But he soon realized that for democracy to flourish, its foundation needs to be built on the will of the people. After arranging an election, he voluntarily gave up power and left Africa. Twenty years later, after being democratically elected president of Sierra Leone, he reflects on the slow path to democracy, the importance of education for all and his focus on helping young Sierra Leoneans thrive.
"Most of what we send into outer space never comes back," says astrodynamicist and TED Fellow Moriba Jah. In this forward-thinking talk, Jah describes the space highways orbiting earth and how they're mostly populated by space junk. Learn more about his quest to develop and scale the world's first crowdsourced space traffic monitoring system -- and how it could help solve the debris problem in near-earth space.
Glenn Cantave uses technology to highlight narratives of the oppressed. In a tour of immersive visual projects, he shares his work with the team at Movers and Shakers NYC, a coalition that executes direct action and advocacy campaigns for marginalized communities using virtual reality, augmented reality and the creative arts.
"The hood is good," says Jon Gray of the Bronx, New York-based creative collective Ghetto Gastro. Working at the intersection of food, design and art, Gray and his team honor the soul and history of their community while applying their unbridled creativity and expansive imagination to unexpected, otherworldly collaborations. Learn more about how they're creating and investing in their home borough -- bringing the Bronx to the world and vice versa.
Being open and vulnerable with your loneliness, sadness and fear can help you find comfort and feel less alone, says writer and artist Jonny Sun. In an honest talk filled with his signature illustrations, Sun shares how telling stories about feeling like an outsider helped him tap into an unexpected community and find a tiny sliver of light in the darkness.
Asking for help is tough. But to get through life, you have to do it all the time. So how do you get comfortable asking? In this actionable talk, social psychologist Heidi Grant shares four simple rules for asking for help and getting it -- while making the process more rewarding for your helper, too.
Ethan Lindenberger never got vaccinated as a kid. So one day, he went on Reddit and asked a simple question: "Where do I go to get vaccinated?" The post went viral, landing Lindenberger in the middle of a heated debate about vaccination and, ultimately, in front of a US Senate committee. Less than a year later, the high school senior reports back on his unexpected time in the spotlight and a new movement he's leading to fight misinformation and advocate for scientific truth.
Lindsay Amer is the creator of "Queer Kid Stuff," an educational video series that breaks down complex ideas around gender and sexuality through songs and metaphors. By giving kids and their families a vocabulary to express themselves, Amer is helping to create more empathetic adults -- and spreading a message of radical acceptance in a world where it's sometimes dangerous to just be yourself. "I want kids to grow up and into themselves with pride for who they are and who they can be," Amer says.
How did ancient civilizations move massive stones to build Stonehenge, the Pyramids and the Easter Island statues? In this quick, delightful talk, TED Fellow Brandon Clifford reveals some architectural secrets of the past and shows how we can use these ingenious techniques to build today. "In an era where we design buildings to last 30, maybe 60 years, I would love to learn how to create something that could entertain for an eternity," he says.
"The universe has already written the poem you were planning on writing," says Sarah Kay, quoting her friend, poet Kaveh Akbar. Performing "A Bird Made of Birds," she shares how and where she finds poetry. (Kay is also the host of TED's podcast "Sincerely, X." Listen on the Luminary podcast app at luminary.link/ted)
What would it take to settle Mars? In a talk about the future of space exploration, Lynn Rothschild reviews the immense challenges to living elsewhere in the universe and proposes some bold, creative solutions to making a home off planet Earth -- like "growing" houses out of fungi or using bacteria to help generate electricity.
"The hardest part of my cancer experience began once the cancer was gone," says author Suleika Jaouad. In this fierce, funny, wisdom-packed talk, she challenges us to think beyond the divide between "sick" and "well," asking: How do you begin again and find meaning after life is interrupted?
The world-changing promise of synthetic biology and gene editing has a dark side. In this far-seeing talk, author and entrepreneur Rob Reid reviews the risks of a world where more and more people have access to the tools and tech needed to create a doomsday bug that could wipe out humanity -- and suggests that it's time to take this danger seriously.
Proteins are remarkable molecular machines: they digest your food, fire your neurons, power your immune system and so much more. What if we could design new ones, with functions never before seen in nature? In this remarkable glimpse of the future, David Baker shares how his team at the Institute for Protein Design is creating entirely new proteins from scratch -- and shows how they could help us tackle five massive challenges facing humanity. (This ambitious plan is a part of the Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)
Michael Tubbs is the youngest mayor in American history to represent a city with more than 100,000 people -- and his policies are sparking national conversations. In this rousing talk, he shares how growing up amid poverty and violence in Stockton, California shaped his bold vision for change and his commitment to govern as a neighbor, not a politician. "When we see someone different from us, they should not reflect our fears, our anxieties, our insecurities," he says. "We should see our common humanity."
Daniel Lismore's closet is probably a bit different than yours -- his clothes are constructed out of materials ranging from beer cans and plastic crystals to diamonds, royal silks and 2,000-year-old Roman rings. In this striking talk, Lismore shares the vision behind his elaborate ensembles and explores what it's like to live life as a work of art. "Everyone is capable of creating their own masterpiece," he says. "You should try it sometime."
Anger researcher Ryan Martin draws from a career studying what makes people mad to explain some of the cognitive processes behind anger -- and why a healthy dose of it can actually be useful. "Your anger exists in you ... because it offered your ancestors, both human and nonhuman, an evolutionary advantage," he says. "[It's] a powerful and healthy force in your life."
The ground beneath your feet is home to a massive, mysterious world of microbes -- some of which have been in the earth's crust for hundreds of thousands of years. What's it like down there? Take a trip to the volcanoes and hot springs of Costa Rica as microbiologist Karen Lloyd shines a light on these subterranean organisms and shows how they could have a profound impact on life up here.
Humans have been studying the stars for thousands of years, but astrophysicist Juna Kollmeier is on a special mission: creating the most detailed 3-D maps of the universe ever made. Journey across the cosmos as she shares her team's work on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, imaging millions of stars, black holes and galaxies in unprecedented detail. If we maintain our pace, she says, we can map every large galaxy in the observable universe by 2060. "We've gone from arranging clamshells to general relativity in a few thousand years," she says. "If we hang on 40 more, we can map all the galaxies."
Reading and writing can be acts of courage that bring us closer to others and ourselves. Author Michelle Kuo shares how teaching reading skills to her students in the Mississippi Delta revealed the bridging power of the written word -- as well as the limitations of its power.
Our society is in the midst of a social crisis, says op-ed columnist and author David Brooks: we're trapped in a valley of isolation and fragmentation. How do we find our way out? Based on his travels across the United States -- and his meetings with a range of exceptional people known as "weavers" -- Brooks lays out his vision for a cultural revolution that empowers us all to lead lives of greater meaning, purpose and joy.
In life's toughest moments, how do you go on living? Kate Bowler has been exploring this question ever since she was diagnosed with stage IV cancer at age 35. In a profound, heartbreaking and unexpectedly funny talk, she offers some answers -- challenging the idea that "everything happens for a reason" and sharing hard-won wisdom about how to make sense of the world after your life is suddenly, completely changed. "I believe that in the darkness, even there, there will be beauty and there will be love," she says.
Design gives form to the future, says architect Bjarke Ingels. In this worldwide tour of his team's projects, journey to a waste-to-energy power plant (that doubles as an alpine ski slope) and the LEGO Home of the Brick in Denmark -- and catch a glimpse of cutting-edge flood resilience infrastructure in New York City as well as an ambitious plan to create floating, sustainable cities that are adapted to climate change.
Octopus, squid and cuttlefish -- collectively known as cephalopods -- have strange, massive, distributed brains. What do they do with all that neural power? Dive into the ocean with marine biologist Roger Hanlon, who shares astonishing footage of the camouflaging abilities of cephalopods, which can change their skin color and texture in a flash. Learn how their smart skin, and their ability to deploy it in sophisticated ways, could be evidence of an alternative form of intelligence -- and how it could lead to breakthroughs in AI, fabrics, cosmetics and beyond.
Millennials are now the largest, most diverse adult population in the US -- but far too often, they're reduced to the worn-out stereotype of lazy, entitled avocado toast lovers, says author Reniqua Allen. In this revealing talk, she shares overlooked stories of millennials of color, offering a broader, more nuanced view of the generation. "Millennials are not a monolith," she says.
TED Fellow and astronomer Erika Hamden leads the team building FIREBall, a telescope that hangs from a giant balloon at the very edge of space and looks for clues about how stars are created. She takes us inside the roller-coaster, decade-long journey to get the telescope from an idea into orbit -- and shows how failure is inevitable when you're pushing the limits of knowledge.
Baratunde Thurston explores the phenomenon of white Americans calling the police on black Americans who have committed the crimes of ... eating, walking or generally "living while black." In this profound, thought-provoking and often hilarious talk, he reveals the power of language to change stories of trauma into stories of healing -- while challenging us all to level up.
Humans produce 300 million tons of new plastic each year -- yet, despite our best efforts, less than 10 percent of it ends up being recycled. Is there a better way to deal with all this waste? Morgan Vague describes her research with microbiologist Jay Mellies on bacteria that have evolved the unexpected ability to eat plastic -- and how they could help us solve our growing pollution problem.
A few weeks before his release from prison, Jarrell Daniels took a class where incarcerated men learned alongside prosecutors. By simply sitting together and talking, they uncovered surprising truths about the criminal justice system and ideas for how real change happens. Now a scholar and activist, Daniels reflects on how collaborative education could transform the justice system and unlock solutions to social problems.
Hollywood needs to stop resisting what the world actually looks like, says actor, director and activist America Ferrera. Tracing the contours of her career, she calls for more authentic representation of different cultures in media -- and a shift in how we tell our stories. "Presence creates possibility," she says. "Who we see thriving in the world teaches us how to see ourselves, how to think about our own value, how to dream about our futures."
Profit, money, shareholders: these are the priorities of most companies today. But at what cost? In an appeal to corporate leaders worldwide, Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya calls for an end to the business playbook of the past -- and shares his vision for a new, "anti-CEO playbook" that prioritizes people over profits. "This is the difference between profit and true wealth," he says.
Conventional meat production causes harm to our environment and presents risks to global health, but people aren't going to eat less meat unless we give them alternatives that cost the same (or less) and that taste the same (or better). In an eye-opening talk, food innovator and TED Fellow Bruce Friedrich shows the plant- and cell-based products that could soon transform the global meat industry -- and your dinner plate.
Sloths have been on this planet for more than 40 million years. What's the secret to their success? In a hilarious talk, zoologist Lucy Cooke takes us inside the strange life of the world's slowest mammal and shows what we can learn from their ingenious adaptations.
"Confidence is the necessary spark before everything that follows," says educator and activist Brittany Packnett. In an inspiring talk, she shares three ways to crack the code of confidence -- and her dream for a world where revolutionary confidence helps turn our most ambitious dreams into reality.
In a talk about understanding and practicing the art of healthy relationships, Katie Hood reveals the five signs you might be in an unhealthy relationship -- with a romantic partner, a friend, a family member -- and shares the things you can do every day to love with respect, kindness and joy. "While love is an instinct and an emotion, the ability to love better is a skill we can all build and improve on over time," she says.
Try talking to yourself without opening your mouth, by simply saying words internally. What if you could search the internet like that -- and get an answer back? In the first live public demo of his new technology, TED Fellow Arnav Kapur introduces AlterEgo: a wearable AI device with the potential to let you silently talk to and get information from a computer system, like a voice inside your head. Learn more about how the device works and the far-reaching implications of this new kind of human-computer interaction.
E-cigarettes and vapes have exploded in popularity in the last decade, especially among youth and young adults -- from 2011 to 2015, e-cigarette use among high school students in the US increased by 900 percent. Biobehavioral scientist Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin explains what you're actually inhaling when you vape (hint: it's definitely not water vapor) and explores the disturbing marketing tactics being used to target kids. "Our health, the health of our children and our future generations is far too valuable to let it go up in smoke -- or even in aerosol," she says.
Can we make tattoos both beautiful and functional? Nanotechnologist Carson Bruns shares his work creating high-tech tattoos that react to their environment -- like color-changing ink that can tell you when you're getting a sunburn -- and shows exciting ways they can deliver real-time information about our health.
In an astonishing talk and tech demo, software researcher Doug Roble debuts "DigiDoug": a real-time, 3-D, digital rendering of his likeness that's accurate down to the scale of pores and wrinkles. Powered by an inertial motion capture suit, deep neural networks and enormous amounts of data, DigiDoug renders the real Doug's emotions (and even how his blood flows and eyelashes move) in striking detail. Learn more about how this exciting tech was built -- and its applications in movies, virtual assistants and beyond.
Sleep is your life-support system and Mother Nature's best effort yet at immortality, says sleep scientist Matt Walker. In this deep dive into the science of slumber, Walker shares the wonderfully good things that happen when you get sleep -- and the alarmingly bad things that happen when you don't, for both your brain and body. Learn more about sleep's impact on your learning, memory, immune system and even your genetic code -- as well as some helpful tips for getting some shut-eye.
You use your brain's executive function every day -- it's how you do things like pay attention, plan ahead and control impulses. Can you improve it to change for the better? With highlights from her research on child development, cognitive scientist Sabine Doebel explores the factors that affect executive function -- and how you can use it to break bad habits and achieve your goals.
The global fertility rate, or the number of children per woman, has halved over the last 50 years. What will having fewer babies mean for the future of humanity? In this funny, eye-opening talk, journalist (and self-described exhausted dad) Wajahat Ali examines how the current trend could lead to unexpected problems -- and shares why he believes we need to make it easier for people to have babies. "For those who can and choose to, may you pass on this beautiful thing called life with kindness, generosity, decency and love," he says.
What should modern leadership look like? Entrepreneur and former Icelandic presidential candidate Halla Tómasdóttir thinks global leaders need to change their ways -- or risk becoming irrelevant. In a conversation with curator Bryn Freedman, she shows how anybody can step up and make a difference, even if you don't yet have power. "There's a leader inside every single one of us," she says, "and our most important work in life is to release that leader."
Civic evangelist Eric Liu shares a powerful way to rekindle the spirit of citizenship and the belief that democracy still works. Join him for a trip to "Civic Saturday" and learn more about how making civic engagement a weekly habit can help build communities based on shared values and a path to belonging.
Designer Ivan Poupyrev wants to integrate technology into everyday objects to make them more useful and fun -- like a jacket you can use to answer phone calls or a houseplant you can play like a keyboard. In a talk and tech demo, he lays out his vision for a physical world that's more deeply connected to the internet and shows how, with a little collaboration, we can get there. Unveiled in this talk: Poupyrev announces that his newest device, Jacquard, is now publicly available for all designers to use.
It starts with a sketch. Then it evolves into a larger-than-life visual masterpiece, a celebration of human connection. Follow along as legendary artist and designer Es Devlin takes us on a visual tour of her work -- including iconic stage sculptures she's created for Beyoncé, Adele, Kanye West, U2 and more -- and previews her design for the upcoming World Expo 2020 in Dubai.
Plants are amazing machines -- for millions of years, they've taken carbon dioxide out of the air and stored it underground, keeping a crucial check on the global climate. Plant geneticist Joanne Chory is working to amplify this special ability: with her colleagues at the Salk Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory, she's creating plants that can store more carbon, deeper underground, for hundreds of years. Learn more about how these supercharged plants could help slow climate change. (This ambitious plan is a part of the Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)
Why do we often neglect big problems, like the financial crisis and climate change, until it's too late? Policy strategist Michele Wucker urges us to replace the myth of the "black swan" -- that rare, unforeseeable, unavoidable catastrophe -- with the reality of the "gray rhino," the preventable danger that we choose to ignore. She shows why predictable crises catch us by surprise -- and lays out some signs that there may be a charging rhino in your life right now.
When you're feeling burned out as an activist, what's the best way to bounce back? TED Senior Fellow Yana Buhrer Tavanier explores the power of "playtivism" -- the incorporation of play and creativity into movements for social change. See how this versatile approach can spark new ideas, propel action and melt fear.
Research shows that helping others makes us happier. But in her groundbreaking work on generosity and joy, social psychologist Elizabeth Dunn found that there's a catch: it matters how we help. Learn how we can make a greater impact -- and boost our own happiness along the way -- if we make one key shift in how we help others. "Let's stop thinking about giving as just this moral obligation and start thinking of it as a source of pleasure," Dunn says.
Here's a shocking statistic: 50 to 80 percent of people in the criminal justice system in the US have had a traumatic brain injury. In the general public, that number is less than five percent. Neuropsychologist Kim Gorgens shares her research into the connection between brain trauma and the behaviors that keep people in the revolving door of criminal justice -- and some ways to make the system more effective and safer for everyone.
The Silent Generation, baby boomers, Generation X, millennials, Gen Z -- we're all in the workforce together. How are our assumptions about each other holding us back from working and communicating better? Social psychologist Leah Georges shows how we're more similar than different and offers helpful tactics for navigating the multigenerational workplace.
In a story of scientific discovery, chemical biologist David R. Liu shares a breakthrough: his lab's development of base editors that can rewrite DNA. This crucial step in genome editing takes the promise of CRISPR to the next level: if CRISPR proteins are molecular scissors, programmed to cut specific DNA sequences, then base editors are pencils, capable of directly rewriting one DNA letter into another. Learn more about how these molecular machines work -- and their potential to treat or even cure genetic diseases.
How often do you think about the air you're breathing? Probably not enough, says entrepreneur and TED Fellow Romain Lacombe. He introduces Flow: a personal air-quality tracker that fits in your hand and monitors pollution levels in real time. See how this device could help you track and understand pollution street by street, hour by hour -- and empower you to take action to improve your health.
In the early 1990s, a scandal rocked evolutionary biology: scientists discovered that songbirds -- once thought to be strictly monogamous -- engaged in what's politely called "extra-pair copulation." In this unforgettable biology lesson on animal infidelity, TED Fellow Danielle N. Lee shows how she uses hip-hop to teach science, leading the crowd in an updated version of Naughty by Nature's hit "O.P.P."
At the center of a galaxy more than 55 million light-years away, there's a supermassive black hole with the mass of several billion suns. And now, for the first time ever, we can see it. Astrophysicist Sheperd Doeleman, head of the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration, speaks with TED's Chris Anderson about the iconic, first-ever image of a black hole -- and the epic, worldwide effort involved in capturing it.
Can Twitter be saved? In a wide-ranging conversation with TED's Chris Anderson and Whitney Pennington Rodgers, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey discusses the future of the platform -- acknowledging problems with harassment and moderation and proposing some fundamental changes that he hopes will encourage healthy, respectful conversations. "Are we actually delivering something that people value every single day?" Dorsey asks.
In an unmissable talk, journalist Carole Cadwalladr digs into one of the most perplexing events in recent times: the UK's super-close 2016 vote to leave the European Union. Tracking the result to a barrage of misleading Facebook ads targeted at vulnerable Brexit swing voters -- and linking the same players and tactics to the 2016 US presidential election -- Cadwalladr calls out the "gods of Silicon Valley" for being on the wrong side of history and asks: Are free and fair elections a thing of the past?
Robot brains are getting smarter and smarter, but their bodies are often still clunky and unwieldy. Mechanical engineer Christoph Keplinger is designing a new generation of soft, agile robot inspired by a masterpiece of evolution: biological muscle. See these "artificial muscles" expand and contract like the real thing and reach superhuman speeds -- and learn how they could power prosthetics that are stronger and more efficient than human limbs.
Kakenya Ntaiya turned her dream of getting an education into a movement to empower vulnerable girls and bring an end to harmful traditional practices in Kenya. Meet two students at the Kakenya Center for Excellence, a school where girls can live and study safely -- and uplift their community along the way. "When you empower a girl, you transform a community," Ntaiya says.
At 16, Rana Abdelhamid started teaching self-defense to women and girls in her neighborhood. Almost 10 years later, these community classes have grown into Malikah: a global grassroots network creating safety, power and solidarity for all women. How did she do it? Abdelhamid shares three ingredients for building a movement from the ground up.
Why do teenagers sometimes make outrageous, risky choices? Do they suddenly become reckless, or are they just going through a natural phase? To find out, Kashfia Rahman -- winner of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (and a Harvard freshman) -- designed and conducted an experiment to test how high school students respond to and get used to risk, and how it changes their still-developing brains. What she discovered about risk and decision-making could change how we think about why teens do what they do.
Keith Kirkland is developing wearable tech that communicates information using only the sense of touch. He's trying to figure out: What gestures and vibration patterns could intuitively communicate ideas like "stop" or "go"? Check out his team's first product, a navigation device for the blind and visually impaired, and learn more about the entirely new "haptic language" he's creating to power it.
In a talk that's by turns heartbreaking and hilarious, writer and podcaster Nora McInerny shares her hard-earned wisdom about life and death. Her candid approach to something that will, let's face it, affect us all, is as liberating as it is gut-wrenching. Most powerfully, she encourages us to shift how we approach grief. "A grieving person is going to laugh again and smile again," she says. "They're going to move forward. But that doesn't mean that they've moved on."
In a world deeply divided, how do we have hard conversations with nuance, curiosity, respect? Veteran reporter Eve Pearlman introduces "dialogue journalism": a project where journalists go to the heart of social and political divides to support discussions between people who disagree. See what happened when a group that would have never otherwise met -- 25 liberals from California and 25 conservatives from Alabama -- gathered to talk about contentious issues. "Real connection across difference: this is a salve that our democracy sorely needs," Pearlman says.
Every year worldwide, more than 50,000 otherwise healthy people with epilepsy suddenly die -- a condition known as SUDEP. These deaths may be largely preventable, says AI researcher Rosalind Picard. Learn how Picard helped develop a cutting-edge smartwatch that can detect epileptic seizures as they occur and alert nearby loved ones in time to help.
Every minute, 20 people are newly displaced by climate change, economic crisis and political instability, according to the UNHCR. How can we help them overcome the barriers to starting new lives? TED Resident Muhammed Idris is leading a team of technologists, researchers and refugees to develop Atar, the first-ever AI-powered virtual advocate that guides displaced people through resettlement, helping restore their rights and dignity. "Getting access to the right resources and information can be the difference between life and death," Idris says.
Visual artist Helen Marriage stages astonishing, large-scale public art events that expand the boundaries of what's possible. In this visual tour of her work, she tells the story of three cities she transformed into playgrounds of the imagination -- picture London with a giant mechanical elephant marching through it -- and shows what happens when people stop to marvel and experience a moment together.
Neuroscientist and pediatrician Kimberly Noble is leading the Baby's First Years study: the first-ever randomized study of how family income changes children's cognitive, emotional and brain development. She and a team of economists and policy experts are working together to find out: Can we help kids in poverty simply by giving families more money? "The brain is not destiny," Noble says. "And if a child's brain can be changed, then anything is possible."
Long before we had rocket scientists, the idea of spaceflight traveled from mind to mind across generations. With great visuals, TED Fellow and NASA economist Alexander MacDonald shows how 300 years of sci-fi tales -- from Edgar Allan Poe to Jules Verne to H.G. Wells and beyond -- sparked a culture of space exploration. A fascinating look at how stories become reality, featuring a goose machine sent to the Moon.
The heart is one of the least regenerative organs in the human body -- a big factor in making heart failure the number one killer worldwide. What if we could help heart muscle regenerate after injury? Physician and scientist Chuck Murry shares his groundbreaking research into using stem cells to grow new heart cells -- an exciting step towards realizing the awesome promise of stem cells as medicine.
In a mesmerizing set, musician Nora Brown breathes new life into two old-time banjo tunes: "East Virginia" and "John Brown's Dream." An evocative performance paired with a quick history of the banjo's evolution.
Transgender activist and TED Resident Samy Nour Younes shares the remarkable, centuries-old history of the trans community, filled with courageous stories, inspiring triumphs -- and a fight for civil rights that's been raging for a long time. "Imagine how the conversation would shift if we acknowledge just how long trans people have been demanding equality," he says.
Bacteria "talk" to each other, sending chemical information to coordinate attacks. What if we could listen to what they were saying? Nanophysicist Fatima AlZahra'a Alatraktchi invented a tool to spy on bacterial chatter and translate their secret communication into human language. Her work could pave the way for early diagnosis of disease -- before we even get sick.
Current treatments for depression and PTSD only suppress symptoms, if they work at all. What if we could prevent these diseases from developing altogether? Neuroscientist and TED Fellow Rebecca Brachman shares the story of her team's accidental discovery of a new class of drug that, for the first time ever, could prevent the negative effects of stress -- and boost a person's ability to recover and grow. Learn how these resilience-enhancing drugs could change the way we treat mental illness.
Esha Alwani began writing songs when she was six years old, shortly after being diagnosed with Tourette syndrome. And she noticed something amazing: whenever she played music, her involuntary tics suddenly went away. Listen along as Alwani explores the power of music and delights the audience with an ethereal performance of her piano ballad "I'm Not Loving You (My Mask)."
The Sun delivers more energy to Earth in one hour than all of humanity uses in an entire year. How can we make this power more accessible to everyone, everywhere? Solar designer Marjan van Aubel shows how she's turning everyday objects like tabletops and stained glass windows into elegant solar cells -- and shares her vision to make every surface a power station.
To get young kids to thrive in school, we need to do more than teach them how to read and write -- we need to teach them how to manage their emotions, says educator Olympia Della Flora. In this practical talk, she shares creative tactics she used to help struggling, sometimes disruptive students -- things like stopping for brain breaks, singing songs and even doing yoga poses -- all with her existing budget and resources. "Small changes make huge differences, and it's possible to start right now ... You simply need smarter ways to think about using what you have, where you have it," she says.
Bees are dying off in record numbers, but ecologist Noah Wilson-Rich is interested in something else: Where are bees healthy and thriving? To find out, he recruited citizen scientists across the US to set up beehives in their backyards, gardens and rooftops. Learn how these little data factories are changing what we know about the habitats bees need to thrive -- and keep our future food systems stable.
Amanda Williams shares her lifelong fascination with the complexity of color: from her experiences with race and redlining to her discovery of color theory to her work as a visual artist. Journey with Williams to Chicago's South Side and explore "Color(ed) Theory," a two-year art project in which she painted soon-to-be-demolished houses bold, monochromatic colors infused with local meaning -- catalyzing conversations and making the hidden visible.
Phil Plait was on a Hubble Space Telescope team of astronomers who thought they may have captured the first direct photo of an exoplanet ever taken. But did the evidence actually support that? Follow along as Plait shows how science progresses -- through a robust amount of making and correcting errors. "The price of doing science is admitting when you're wrong, but the payoff is the best there is: knowledge and understanding," he says.
AI algorithms make important decisions about you all the time -- like how much you should pay for car insurance or whether or not you get that job interview. But what happens when these machines are built with human bias coded into their systems? Technologist Kriti Sharma explores how the lack of diversity in tech is creeping into our AI, offering three ways we can start making more ethical algorithms.
Social psychologist Thomas Curran explores how the pressure to be perfect -- in our social media feeds, in school, at work -- is driving a rise in mental illness, especially among young people. Learn more about the causes of this phenomenon and how we can create a culture that celebrates the joys of imperfection.
The Earth and Moon are like identical twins, made up of the exact same materials -- which is really strange, since no other celestial bodies we know of share this kind of chemical relationship. What's responsible for this special connection? Looking for an answer, planetary scientist and MacArthur "Genius" Sarah T. Stewart discovered a new kind of astronomical object -- a synestia -- and a new way to solve the mystery of the Moon's origin.
Viral beatboxer Tom Thum has an orchestra in his mouth, but how does he make all those sounds? Get an up-close-and-personal look as laryngeal surgeon Matthew Broadhurst sticks a camera down Thum's throat while he creates a mind-boggling array of noises. This hilarious, somewhat stomach-churning talk and performance is not for the squeamish! (Contains graphic medical imagery)
How would you prefer to spend the last years of your life: in a sterile, hospital-like institution or in a village with a supermarket, pub, theater and park within easy walking distance? The answer seems obvious now, but when Yvonne van Amerongen helped develop the groundbreaking Hogeweyk dementia care center in Amsterdam 25 years ago, it was seen as a risky break from tradition. Journey with van Amerongen to Hogeweyk and get a glimpse at what a reimagined nursing home based on freedom, meaning and social life could look like.
How do we make sense of a world that doesn't? By looking in unexpected places, says mathematician Eugenia Cheng. She explains how applying concepts from abstract mathematics to daily life can lead us to a deeper understanding of things like the root of anger and the function of privilege. Learn more about how this surprising tool can help us to empathize with each other.
Everyone's heard of Martin Luther King Jr. But do you know the woman Dr. King called "the architect of the civil rights movement," Septima Clark? The teacher of some of the generation's most legendary activists -- like Rosa Parks, Diane Nash, Fannie Lou Hamer and thousands more -- Clark laid out a blueprint for change-making that has stood the test of time. Now T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison, the cofounders of GirlTrek, are taking a page from Clark's playbook to launch a health revolution in the US -- and get one million women walking for justice. (This ambitious idea is part of the Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)
From floppy disks to thumb drives, every method of storing data eventually becomes obsolete. What if we could find a way to store all the world's data forever? Bioinformatician Dina Zielinski shares the science behind a solution that's been around for a few billion years: DNA.
César Hidalgo has a radical suggestion for fixing our broken political system: automate it! In this provocative talk, he outlines a bold idea to bypass politicians by empowering citizens to create personalized AI representatives that participate directly in democratic decisions. Explore a new way to make collective decisions and expand your understanding of democracy.
Majd Mashharawi was walking through her war-torn neighborhood in Gaza when an idea flashed in her mind: What if she could take the rubble and transform it into building materials? See how she designed a brick made out of ashes that's helping people rebuild their homes -- and learn about her new project: bringing solar-powered energy to families living in darkness.
In 2013, a treasure trove of unusual fossils were uncovered in a cave in South Africa, and researchers soon realized: these were the remains of a new species of ancient humans. Paleoanthropologist Juliet Brophy takes us inside the discovery of Homo naledi, explaining how this mysterious ancestor is forcing us to rethink where we come from -- and what it means to be human.
Farida Nabourema has dedicated her life to fighting the military regime in Togo, Africa's oldest autocracy. She's learned two truths along the way: no country is destined to be oppressed -- and no country is immune to dictatorship. But how can you tell if you're at risk before it happens? In a stirring talk, Nabourema shares the four key signs of a dictatorship, along with the secret to defiance for those living within an oppressive system.
The transistors that power the phone in your pocket are unimaginably small: you can fit more than 3,000 of them across the width of a human hair. But to keep up with innovations in fields like facial recognition and augmented reality, we need to pack even more computing power into our computer chips -- and we're running out of space. In this forward-thinking talk, technology developer Karl Skjonnemand introduces a radically new way to create chips. "This could be the dawn of a new era of molecular manufacturing," Skjonnemand says.
Lindy Lou Isonhood grew up in a town where the death penalty was a fact of life, part of the unspoken culture. But after she served as a juror in a capital murder trial -- and voted "yes" to sentencing a guilty man to death -- something inside her changed. In this engaging and personal talk, Isonhood reflects on the question she's been asking herself in the 25 years since the trial: Am I a murderer?
What is a border? It's a line on a map, a place where cultures mix and merge in beautiful, sometimes violent and occasionally ridiculous ways. And a border wall? An overly simplistic response to that complexity, says architect Ronald Rael. In a moving, visual talk, Rael reimagines the physical barrier that divides the United States and Mexico -- sharing satirical, serious works of art inspired by the borderlands and showing us the border we don't see in the news. "There are not two sides defined by a wall. This is one landscape, divided," Rael says.
"Sí, se puede!" -- "Yes, we can!" It's the rallying cry Dolores Huerta came up with as a young activist in the 1970s, and she's lived by it in her tireless pursuit of civil rights ever since. With her signature wit and humor, Huerta reflects on her life's work, offering inspiration for anybody trying to overcome apathy, get involved and find their own power.
There's no greater freedom than finding your purpose, says education advocate Ashweetha Shetty. Born to a poor family in rural India, Shetty didn't let the social norms of her community stifle her dreams and silence her voice. In this personal talk, she shares how she found self-worth through education -- and how she's working to empower other rural youth to explore their potential. "All of us are born into a reality that we blindly accept -- until something awakens us and a new world opens up," Shetty says.
When one of Liz Kleinrock's fourth-grade students said the unthinkable at the start of a class on race, she knew it was far too important a teachable moment to miss. But where to start? Learn how Kleinrock teaches kids to discuss taboo topics without fear -- because the best way to start solving social problems is to talk about them.
In the US, the very same blood test can cost $19 at one clinic and $522 at another clinic just blocks away -- and nobody knows the difference until they get a bill weeks later. Journalist Jeanne Pinder says it doesn't have to be this way. She's built a platform that crowdsources the true costs of medical procedures and makes the data public, revealing the secrets of health care pricing. Learn how knowing what stuff costs in advance could make us healthier, save us money -- and help fix a broken system.
Roy Bahat was worried. His company invests in new technology like AI to make businesses more efficient -- but, he wondered, what was AI doing to the people whose jobs might change, go away or become less fulfilling? The question sent him on a two-year research odyssey to discover what motivates people, and why we work. In this conversation with curator Bryn Freedman, he shares what he learned, including some surprising insights that will shape the conversation about the future of our jobs.
Gene-editing tools like CRISPR enable us to program life at its most fundamental level. But this raises some pressing questions: If we can generate new species from scratch, what should we build? Should we redesign humanity as we know it? Juan Enriquez forecasts the possible futures of genetic editing, exploring the immense uncertainty and opportunity of this next frontier.
In a lyrical talk full of radical imagination, poet Aja Monet and community organizer phillip agnew share the story of how they fell in love and what they've learned about the powerful connection between great social movements and meaningful art. Journey to Smoke Signals Studio in Miami, their home and community art space where they're creating a refuge for neighbors and creators -- and imagining a new answer to distraction, anger and anxiety.
What does it mean to be civil? Journalist Steven Petrow looks for answers in the original meaning of the word, showing why civility shouldn't be dismissed as conversation-stifling political correctness or censorship. Learn three ways we can each work to be more civil -- and start talking about our differences with respect.
Modern American health care is defined by its high costs, high overhead and inaccessibility -- especially for low-income patients. What if we could redesign the system to serve the poor and still have doctors make money? In an eye-opening (and surprisingly funny) talk, physician P.J. Parmar shares the story of the clinic he founded in Colorado, where he serves only resettled refugees who mostly use Medicaid, and makes the business case for a fresh take on medical service.
Silence is a rare commodity these days. There's traffic, construction, air-conditioning, your neighbor's lawnmower ... and all this unwanted sound can have a surprising impact on your health, says noise researcher Mathias Basner. Discover the science behind how noise affects your health and sleep -- and how you can get more of the benefits of the sound of silence.
Activist Shad Begum has spent her life empowering women to live up to their full potential. In a personal talk, she shares her determined struggle to improve the lives of women in her deeply religious and conservative community in northwest Pakistan -- and calls for women around the world to find their political voice. "We must stand up for our own rights -- and not wait for someone else to come and help us," Begum says.
What if we could capture pollution in the air around us and turn it into something useful? Inventor Anirudh Sharma shares how he created AIR-INK, a deep black ink that's made from PM 2.5 pollution. See how he hacked together a clever way to capture these tiny particles -- and make the world just a little bit cleaner in the process.
There's no better way to stop a disease than to catch and treat it early, before symptoms occur. That's the whole point of medical screening techniques like radiography, MRIs and blood tests. But there's one medium with overlooked potential for medical analysis: your breath. Technologist Julian Burschka shares the latest in the science of breath analysis -- the screening of the volatile organic compounds in your exhaled breath -- and how it could be used as a powerful tool to detect, predict and ultimately prevent disease.
You know the "forgotten middle": they're the students, coworkers and regular people who are often overlooked because they're seen as neither exceptional nor problematic. How can we empower them to reach their full potential? Sharing her work helping young people get to and through college, social activist Danielle R. Moss challenges us to think deeper about who deserves help and attention -- and shows us how to encourage those in the middle to dream big.
Should you date your coworker? Should workplace couples keep their relationships secret? And why are coworkers so often attracted to each other? Organizational psychologist Amy Nicole Baker shares the real answers to commonly asked questions about romance at the office.
Most companies operate on a set of policies: mandated vacation days, travel guidelines, standard work hours, annual goals. But what happens when a company looks less to control and more to trust? Patty McCord, the iconic former chief talent officer at Netflix, shares the key insights that led her to toss the handbook out the window.
Past generations found a company to work for and then stayed there for decades. But today, we rarely stay in the same job (let alone on the same career path) and we don't rely on a single income stream. The tools and resources are out there for us to do our own thing, and more of us are going with the entrepreneurial spirit -- even if it's on the side of a traditional job. Podcaster and marketer Nicaila Matthews Okome helps survey the scene.
Finding a job used to start with submitting your résumé to a million listings and never hearing back from most of them. But more and more companies are using tech-forward methods to identify candidates. If AI is the future of hiring, what does that mean for you? Technologist Priyanka Jain gives a look at this new hiring landscape.
As the popularity of remote working continues to spread, workers today can collaborate across cities, countries and even multiple time zones. How does this change office dynamics? And how can we make sure that all employees, both at headquarters and at home, feel connected? Matt Mullenweg, cofounder of Wordpress and CEO of Automattic (which has a 100 percent distributed workforce), shares his secrets.
We all want to save more money -- but overall, people today are doing less and less of it. Behavioral scientist Wendy De La Rosa studies how everyday people make decisions to improve their financial well-being. What she's found can help you painlessly make the commitment to save more and spend less.
There are three billion working people on this planet, and only 40 percent of them report being happy at work. Michael C. Bush shares his insights into what makes workers unhappy -- and how companies can benefit their bottom lines by fostering satisfaction.
Is women's sexuality more complicated than men's? Well, not really, no, says author Sarah Barmak. In this frank, eye-opening talk, she shows how a flawed understanding of the female body has shaped this discussion for centuries. She debunks some age-old myths (you're welcome) and offers a richer definition of pleasure that gets closer to the simple truth about women's sexuality.
The path to skill around the globe has been the same for thousands of years: train under an expert and take on small, easy tasks before progressing to riskier, harder ones. But right now, we're handling AI in a way that blocks that path -- and sacrificing learning in our quest for productivity, says organizational ethnographer Matt Beane. What can be done? Beane shares a vision that flips the current story into one of distributed, machine-enhanced mentorship that takes full advantage of AI's amazing capabilities while enhancing our skills at the same time.
"Where does it hurt?" It's a question that activist and educator Ruby Sales has traveled the US asking, looking deeply at the country's legacy of racism and searching for sources of healing. In this moving talk, she shares what she's learned, reflecting on her time as a freedom fighter in the civil rights movement and offering new thinking on pathways to racial justice.
What job is best for a young man who's been a tennis ace, a cross-country traveler, a chemistry nerd and an NFL draftee? How about ... astronaut? Leland Melvin tells the story of the challenges he's accepted and the opportunities he's seized -- and how they led him to the International Space Station and a whole new perspective of life on earth. (Contains mature content)
Did you know that almost 150 million people worldwide are born intersex -- with biology that doesn't fit the standard definition of male or female? (That's as many as the population of Russia.) At age 10, Emily Quinn found out she was intersex, and in this wise, funny talk, she shares eye-opening lessons from a life spent navigating society's thoughtless expectations, doctors who demanded she get unnecessary surgery -- and advocating for herself and the incredible variety that humans come in. (Contains mature content)
In this passionate call to action, 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg explains why, in August 2018, she walked out of school and organized a strike to raise awareness of global warming, protesting outside the Swedish parliament and grabbing the world's attention. "The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions," Thunberg says. "All we have to do is to wake up and change."
What does it take to build a national movement? In a captivating conversation with TEDWomen curator Pat Mitchell, Marian Wright Edelman reflects on her path to founding the Children's Defense Fund in 1973 -- from the early influence of growing up in the segregated American South to her activism with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. -- and shares how growing older has only made her more radical.
The Montreal Protocol proved that the world could come together and take action on climate change. Thirty years after the world's most successful environmental treaty was signed, atmospheric scientist Sean Davis examines the world we avoided when we banned chlorofluorocarbons -- and shares lessons we can carry forward to address the climate crisis in our time.
Anger is a powerful emotion -- it warns us of threat, insult, indignity and harm. But across the world, girls and women are taught that their anger is better left unvoiced, says author Soraya Chemaly. Why is that, and what might we lose in this silence? In a provocative, thoughtful talk, Chemaly explores the dangerous lie that anger isn't feminine, showing how women's rage is justified, healthy and a potential catalyst for change.
What can we learn from the world's most enduringly creative people? They "slow-motion multitask," actively juggling multiple projects and moving between topics as the mood strikes -- without feeling hurried. Author Tim Harford shares how innovators like Einstein, Darwin, Twyla Tharp and Michael Crichton found their inspiration and productivity through cross-training their minds.
What would it take to reimagine the limits of architecture? Débora Mesa Molina offers some answers in this breathtaking, visual tour of her work, showing how structures can be made with overlooked materials and unconventional methods -- or even extracted from the guts of the earth. "The world around us is an infinite source of inspiration if we are curious enough to see beneath the surface of things," she says.
What if we could harness the sticking powers of sea creatures like mussels, oysters and barnacles, which refuse to budge even on wet, stormy coastlines? Dive into the wonderful world of animals that make their own glue and cement with scientist Jonathan Wilker -- and preview some of the amazing things we can learn from how they do it.
The American election system is complicated, to say the least -- but voting is one of the most tangible ways that each of us can shape our communities. How can we make the system more modern, inclusive and secure? Civic engagement champion Tiana Epps-Johnson shares what's needed to bring voting in the US into the 21st century -- and to get every person to the polls.
From London to Tokyo, climate change is causing cities to sink -- and our modern concrete infrastructure is making us even more vulnerable to severe flooding, says landscape architect and TED Fellow Kotchakorn Voraakhom. But what if we could design cities to help fight floods? In this inspiring talk, Voraakhom shows how she developed a massive park in Bangkok that can hold a million gallons of rainwater, calling for more climate change solutions that connect cities back to nature.
Women have made enormous progress over the last century -- challenging the status quo, busting old taboos and changing business from the inside out. But when it comes to political representation, there's still a long way to go, says activist Cecile Richards. In this visionary talk, Richards calls for a global political revolution for women's equality and offers her ideas for how we can build it.
Singing in Spanish, Portuguese and English, LADAMA brings a vibrant, energizing and utterly danceable musical set to the TED stage. In between performances of their songs "Night Traveler" and "Porro Maracatu," they discuss how cross-cultural musical collaboration can empower communities.
You probably know the common symptoms of a heart attack: chest and arm pain, shortness of breath and fatigue. But there's another kind that's just as deadly and harder to detect because the symptoms are silent. In this quick talk, 17-year-old inventor Akash Manoj shares the device he's developed to stop this silent killer: a noninvasive, inexpensive, wearable patch that alerts patients during a critical moment that could mean the difference between life and death.
The way we're taught to live has got to change, says author Casey Gerald. Too often, we hide parts of ourselves in order to fit in, win praise, be accepted. But at what cost? In this inspiring talk, Gerald shares the personal sacrifices he made to attain success in the upper echelons of American society -- and shows why it's time for us to have the courage to live in the raw, strange magic of ourselves.
If we really want to address climate change, we need to make gender equity a reality, says writer and environmentalist Katharine Wilkinson. As part of Project Drawdown, Wilkinson has helped scour humanity's wisdom for solutions to draw down heat-trapping, climate-changing emissions: obvious things like renewable energy and sustainable diets and not so obvious ones, like the education and empowerment of women. In this informative, bold talk, she shares three key ways that equity for women and girls can help stop global warming. "Drawing down emissions depends on rising up," Wilkinson says.
Around the world, black girls are being pushed out of schools because of policies that target them for punishment, says author and social justice scholar Monique W. Morris. The result: countless girls are forced into unsafe futures with restricted opportunities. How can we put an end to this crisis? In an impassioned talk, Morris uncovers the causes of "pushout" and shows how we can work to turn all schools into spaces where black girls can heal and thrive.
Choosing to marry and share your life with someone is one of the most important decisions you can make in life. But with divorce rates approaching fifty percent in some parts of the world, it's clear we could use some help picking a partner. In an actionable, eye-opening talk, psychiatrist George Blair-West shares three keys to preventing divorce -- and spotting potential problems while you're still dating.
Artist Tony Luciani was testing out a new camera when his 91-year-old mother, Elia, snuck into the background of his photos. The spontaneous images that resulted sparked a years-long collaboration, with Luciani documenting his mom's life and spirit as she lived with dementia. In this touching talk, he shares the stories behind some of their favorite shots, capturing the joy and grief of caring for an aging parent.
A quantum computer isn't just a more powerful version of the computers we use today; it's something else entirely, based on emerging scientific understanding -- and more than a bit of uncertainty. Enter the quantum wonderland with TED Fellow Shohini Ghose and learn how this technology holds the potential to transform medicine, create unbreakable encryption and even teleport information.
How exactly does gender work? It's not just about our chromosomes, says biologist Karissa Sanbonmatsu. In a visionary talk, she shares new discoveries from epigenetics, the emerging study of how DNA activity can permanently change based on social factors like trauma or diet. Learn how life experiences shape the way genes are expressed -- and what that means for our understanding of gender.
Electric cars are extremely quiet, offering some welcome silence in our cities. But they also bring new dangers, since they can easily sneak up on unsuspecting pedestrians. What kind of sounds should they make to keep people safe? Get a preview of what the future may sound like as acoustic engineer and musician Renzo Vitale shows how he's composing a voice for electric cars.
India has the second largest population of any country in the world -- yet it has only 50 decent bookstores, says publisher Chiki Sarkar. So she asked herself: How do we get more people reading books? Find out how Sarkar is tapping into India's smartphone revolution to create a new generation of readers and writers in this fun talk about a fresh kind of storytelling.
What does it take to build the fast, flexible, creative teams needed to challenge entrenched work culture? For transformation expert Martin Danoesastro, it all starts with one question: "What are you willing to give up?" He shares lessons learned from companies on both sides of the innovation wave on how to structure your organization so that people at all levels are empowered to make decisions fast and respond to change.
Paula Stone Williams knew from a young age that she was transgender. But as she became a parent and prominent evangelical pastor, she feared that coming out would mean losing everything. In this moving, deeply personal talk, Paula and her son Jonathan Williams share what Paula's transition meant for their family -- and reflect on their path to redemption. As Jonathan says: "I cannot ask my father to be anything other than her true self."
Want to learn a new language but feel daunted or unsure where to begin? You don't need some special talent or a "language gene," says Lýdia Machová. In an upbeat, inspiring talk, she reveals the secrets of polyglots (people who speak multiple languages) and shares four principles to help unlock your own hidden language talent -- and have fun while doing it.
Companies are counting on their future leaders to manage with more speed, flexibility and trust than ever before. But how can middle managers climb the corporate ladder while also challenging the way things have always been done? Leadership expert Elizabeth Lyle offers a new approach to breaking the rules while you're on your way up, sharing creative ways organizations can give middle managers the space and coaching they need to start leading differently.
As a fire chief and first responder, Jan Rader has spent her career saving lives. But when the opioid epidemic hit her town, she realized they needed to take a brand-new approach to life-saving. In this powerful, hopeful talk, Rader shows what it's like on the front lines of this crisis -- and how her community is taking an unusual new approach to treating substance-abuse disorder that starts with listening.
Who deserves to be in a museum? For too long, the answer has been "the extraordinary" -- those aspirational historymakers who inspire us with their successes. But those stories are limiting, says museum curator Ariana Curtis. In a visionary talk, she imagines how museums can more accurately represent history by honoring the lives of people both extraordinary and everyday, prominent and hidden -- and amplify diverse perspectives that should have always been included.
Women own 39 percent of all businesses in the US, but female entrepreneurs get only two percent of venture funding. What's causing this gap? Dana Kanze shares research suggesting that it might be the types of questions start-up founders get asked when they're invited to pitch. Whether you're starting a new business or just having a conversation, learn how to spot the kinds of questions you're being asked -- and how to respond more effectively.
Welcome to the strange, deviously difficult and incredibly joyful world of puzzle hunts. Follow along as Alex Rosenthal lifts the veil on one of the world's most complex puzzle hunts, the MIT Mystery Hunt -- and reveals how puzzles can be found in the most unexpected places. (Hint: see if you can spot the puzzle hidden in this TED Talk.)
Hard work, resilience and grit lead to success, right? This narrative pervades the way we think, says economist Darrick Hamilton, but the truth is that our chances at economic security have less to do with what we do and more to do with the wealth position we're born into. Enter "baby bonds": trust accounts of up to $60,000 for every newborn, calibrated to the wealth of their family. Learn how this bold proposal could help us reduce inequality -- and give every child personal seed money for important things like going to college, buying a home or starting a business. "Without capital, inequality is locked in," Hamilton says. "When it comes to economic security, wealth is both the beginning and the end."
In a powerful talk, educator Eldra Jackson III shares how he unlearned dangerous lessons about masculinity through Inside Circle, an organization that leads group therapy for incarcerated men. Now he's helping others heal by creating a new image of what it means to be a whole, healthy man. "The challenge is to eradicate this cycle of emotional illiteracy and groupthink," he says.
In this whimsical talk and live demo, scientist Li Wei Tan shares the secrets of bubbles -- from their relentless pursuit of geometric perfection to their applications in medicine and shipping, where designers are creating more efficient vessels by mimicking the bubbles created by swimming penguins. Learn more about these mathematical marvels and tap into the magic hidden in the everyday world.
How do you talk to someone who doesn't believe in climate change? Not by rehashing the same data and facts we've been discussing for years, says climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe. In this inspiring, pragmatic talk, Hayhoe shows how the key to having a real discussion is to connect over shared values like family, community and religion -- and to prompt people to realize that they already care about a changing climate. "We can't give in to despair," she says. "We have to go out and look for the hope we need to inspire us to act -- and that hope begins with a conversation, today."
"Music is so much more than sound simply traveling through the ear," says sign language interpreter Amber Galloway-Gallego. In a spirited performance, musician and activist Madame Gandhi plays two songs -- "Top Knot Turn Up" and "Bad Habits" -- while Galloway-Gallego provides an animated sign language interpretation.
Humans are no longer valued for our creativity, says media theorist Douglas Rushkoff -- in a world dominated by digital technology, we're now just valued for our data. In a passionate talk, Rushkoff urges us to stop using technology to optimize people for the market and start using it to build a future centered on our pre-digital values of connection, creativity and respect. "Join 'Team Human.' Find the others," he says. "Together let's make the future that we always wanted."
The workplace is often presented as a meritocracy, where you can succeed by putting your head down and working hard. Wall Street veteran Carla Harris learned early in her career that this a myth. The key to actually getting ahead? Get a sponsor: a person who will speak on your behalf in the top-level, closed-door meetings you're not invited to (yet). Learn how to identify and develop a productive sponsor relationship in this candid, powerful talk.
Imagine your company hires a new employee and then everyone just ignores them, day in and day out, while they sit alone at their desk getting paid to do nothing. This situation actually happens all the time -- when companies invest millions of dollars in new tech tools only to have frustrated employees disregard them, says Nadjia Yousif. In this fun and practical talk, she offers advice on how to better collaborate with the technologies in your workplace -- by treating them like colleagues.
What shapes our perceptions (and misperceptions) about science? In an eye-opening talk, meteorologist J. Marshall Shepherd explains how confirmation bias, the Dunning-Kruger effect and cognitive dissonance impact what we think we know -- and shares ideas for how we can replace them with something much more powerful: knowledge.
When a parent is sent to prison, the unintended victims of their crimes are their own children -- without stability and support, kids are at higher risk for mental health and development issues. In a heartfelt talk, Alan Crickmore explains how the charity Storybook Dads is keeping families connected through the simple act of storytelling.
Domestic workers are entrusted with the most precious aspects of people's lives -- they're the nannies, the elder-care workers and the house cleaners who do the work that makes all other work possible. Too often, they're invisible, taken for granted or dismissed as "help," yet they continue to do their wholehearted best for the families and homes in their charge. In this sensational talk, activist Ai-Jen Poo shares her efforts to secure equal rights and fair wages for domestic workers and explains how we can all be inspired by them. "Think like a domestic worker who shows up and cares no matter what," she says.
Are you looking closely? Visual educator Amy Herman explains how to use art to enhance your powers of perception and find connections where they may not be apparent. Learn the techniques Herman uses to train Navy SEALs, doctors and crime scene investigators to convert observable details into actionable knowledge with this insightful talk.
How can we get people to do more good: to go to the polls, give to charity, conserve resources or just generally act better towards others? MIT research scientist Erez Yoeli shares a simple checklist for harnessing the power of reputations -- or our collective desire to be seen as generous and kind instead of selfish -- to motivate people to act in the interest of others. Learn more about how small changes to your approach to getting people to do good could yield surprising results.
How you respond after setbacks is what defines your character. Stacey Abrams was the first black woman in the history of the United States to be nominated by a major party for governor -- she lost that hotly contested race, but as she says: the only choice is to move forward. In an electrifying talk, she shares the lessons she learned from her campaign for governor of Georgia, some advice on how to change the world -- and a few hints at her next steps. "Be aggressive about your ambition," Abrams says.
Think about the most tired you've ever been at work. It probably wasn't when you stayed late or came home from a road trip -- chances are it was when you had someone looking over your shoulder, watching your each and every move. "If we know that micromanagement isn't really effective, why do we do it?" asks entrepreneur Chieh Huang. In a funny talk packed with wisdom and humility, Huang shares the cure for micromanagement madness -- and how to foster innovation and happiness at work.
In 2006, Tarana Burke was consumed by a desire to do something about the sexual violence she saw in her community. She took out a piece of paper, wrote "Me Too" across the top and laid out an action plan for a movement centered on the power of empathy between survivors. More than a decade later, she reflects on what has since become a global movement -- and makes a powerful call to dismantle the power and privilege that are building blocks of sexual violence. "We owe future generations nothing less than a world free of sexual violence," she says. "I believe we can build that world."
With Marvel's "America Chavez," Gabby Rivera wrote a new kind of superhero -- one who can punch portals into other dimensions while also embracing her gentle, goofy, soft side. In a funny, personal talk, Rivera shares how her own childhood as a queer Puerto Rican in the Bronx informed this new narrative -- and shows images from the comic book that reveal what happens when a superhero embraces her humanity. As she says: "That myth of having to go it alone and be tough is not serving us."
What if we took out more greenhouse gases than we put into the atmosphere? This hypothetical scenario, known as "drawdown," is our only hope of averting climate disaster, says strategist Chad Frischmann. In a forward-thinking talk, he shares solutions to climate change that exist today -- conventional tactics like the use of renewable energy and better land management as well as some lesser-known approaches, like changes to food production, better family planning and the education of girls. Learn more about how we can reverse global warming and create a world where regeneration, not destruction, is the rule.
Tech that can decode your brain activity and reveal what you're thinking and feeling is on the horizon, says legal scholar and ethicist Nita Farahany. What will it mean for our already violated sense of privacy? In a cautionary talk, Farahany warns of a society where people are arrested for merely thinking about committing a crime (like in "Minority Report") and private interests sell our brain data -- and makes the case for a right to cognitive liberty that protects our freedom of thought and self-determination.
Every cell that's ever lived has been the result of the four-letter genetic alphabet: A, T, C and G -- the basic units of DNA. But now that's changed. In a visionary talk, synthetic biologist Floyd E. Romesberg introduces us to the first living organisms created with six-letter DNA -- the four natural letters plus two new man-made ones, X and Y -- and explores how this breakthrough could challenge our basic understanding of nature's design.
Do you ever order clothes online in different sizes and colors, just to try them on and then send back what doesn't work? Aparna Mehta used to do this all time, until she one day asked herself: Where do all these returned clothes go? In an eye-opening talk, she reveals the unseen world of "free" online returns -- which, instead of ending up back on the shelf, are sent to landfills by the billions of pounds each year -- and shares a plan to help put an end to this growing environmental catastrophe.
Multidisciplinary artist and TED Fellow Paul Rucker has developed his own style of cello; he puts chopsticks between his strings, uses the instrument as a drum and experiments with electronics like loop pedals. Moving between reflective storytelling and performance, Rucker shares his inspiration -- and definitely doesn't play the same old Bach.
Have you ever watched a film or read a novel, wishing that you could change the narrative to save your favorite character? Game designer David Cage allows you do just that in his video games, where players make decisions that shape an ever-changing plot. In a talk and live demo, Cage presents a scene from his new project, letting the audience control a character's decisions. "Interactive storytelling can be what cinema was in the 20th century: an art that deeply changes its time," Cage says.
Our oceans are unexplored and undersampled -- today, we still know more about other planets than our own. How can we get to a better understanding of this vast, important ecosystem? Explorer Sebastien de Halleux shares how a new fleet of wind- and solar-powered drones is collecting data at sea in unprecedented detail, revealing insights into things like global weather and the health of fish stocks. Learn more about what a better grasp of the ocean could mean for us back on land.
Some days, it feels like the only thing we can agree on is that we can't agree -- on anything. Drawing on her background as a world debate champion, Julia Dhar offers three techniques to reshape the way we talk to each other so we can start disagreeing productively and finding common ground -- over family dinners, during work meetings and in our national conversations.
Viruses have a bad reputation -- but some of them could one day save your life, says biotech entrepreneur Alexander Belcredi. In this fascinating talk, he introduces us to phages, naturally-occurring viruses that hunt and kill harmful bacteria with deadly precision, and shows how these once-forgotten organisms could provide new hope against the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
Libraries have the power to create a better world; they connect communities, promote literacy and spark lifelong learners. But there's one thing that keeps people away: the fear of overdue book fines. In this thought-provoking talk, librarian Dawn Wacek makes the case that fines don't actually do what we think they do. What if your library just ... stopped asking for them altogether?
What exactly is civility, and what does it require? In a talk packed with historical insights, political theorist Teresa Bejan explains how civility has been used as both the foundation of tolerant societies and as a way for political partisans to silence and dismiss opposing views. Bejan suggests that we should instead try for "mere civility": the virtue of being able to disagree fundamentally with others without destroying the possibility of a common life tomorrow. (This talk contains mature language.)
Author AJ Jacobs embarked on a quest with a deceptively simple idea at its heart: to personally thank every person who helped make his morning cup of coffee. More than one thousand "thank yous" later, Jacobs reflects on the globe-trotting journey that ensued -- and shares the life-altering wisdom he picked up along the way. "I discovered that my coffee would not be possible without hundreds of people I take for granted," Jacobs says.
Only if you are truly open to the possibility of being wrong can you ever learn, says researcher Alex Edmans. In an insightful talk, he explores how confirmation bias -- the tendency to only accept information that supports your personal beliefs -- can lead you astray on social media, in politics and beyond, and offers three practical tools for finding evidence you can actually trust. (Hint: appoint someone to be the devil's advocate in your life.)
Who controls the internet? Increasingly, the answer is large corporations and governments -- a trend that's threatening digital privacy and access to information online, says web developer Tamas Kocsis. In this informative talk, Kocsis breaks down the different threats to internet freedom and shares his plan to build an alternative, decentralized network that returns power to everyday users.
"We are living in a world that is tantalizingly close to ensuring that no one need die of hunger or malaria or diarrhea," says economist Michael Green. To help spur progress, back in 2015 the United Nations drew up a set of 17 goals around important factors like health, education and equality. In this data-packed talk, Green shares his analysis on the steps each country has (or hasn't) made toward these Sustainable Development Goals -- and offers new ideas on what needs to change so we can achieve them.
Adults tend to think of kids as "future citizens" -- their ideas and opinions will matter someday, just not today. But kids make up a quarter of the population, so shouldn't they have a say in what the world they'll inherit will look like? Urban planner Mara Mintzer shares what happened when she and her team asked kids to help design a park in Boulder, Colorado -- and how it revealed an important blind spot in how we construct the built environment. "If we aren't including children in our planning, who else aren't we including?" Mintzer asks.
How does Hollywood choose what stories get told on-screen? Too often, it's groupthink informed by a narrow set of ideas about what sells at the box office. As a producer, Franklin Leonard saw too many great screenplays never get made because they didn't fit the mold. So he started the Black List, an anonymous email that shared his favorite screenplays and asked: Why aren't we making these movies? Learn the origin story of some of your favorite films with this fascinating insider view of the movie business.
Özlem Cekic's email inbox has been full of hate mail since 2007, when she won a seat in the Danish Parliament -- becoming the first female Muslim to do so. At first she just deleted the emails, dismissing them as the work of fanatics, until one day a friend made an unexpected suggestion: to reach out to the hate mail writers and invite them to meet for coffee. Hundreds of "dialogue coffee" meetings later, Cekic shares how face-to-face conversation can be one of the most powerful forces to disarm hate -- and challenges us all to engage with people we disagree with.
Seemingly pointless scientific research can lead to extraordinary discoveries, says physicist Suzie Sheehy. In a talk and tech demo, she shows how many of our modern technologies are tied to centuries-old, curiosity-driven experiments -- and makes the case for investing in more to arrive at a deeper understanding of the world.
How do you turn a memory, especially one of a traumatic event, into hard evidence of a crime? Julia Shaw is working on this challenge, combining tools from memory science and artificial intelligence to change how we report workplace harassment and bias. She shares three lessons to apply if you've been harassed or discriminated against -- and introduces Spot: a free, anonymous, online reporting tool that helps empower victims.
What if your attachment to being a "good" person is holding you back from actually becoming a better person? In this accessible talk, social psychologist Dolly Chugh explains the puzzling psychology of ethical behavior -- like why it's hard to spot your biases and acknowledge mistakes -- and shows how the path to becoming better starts with owning your mistakes. "In every other part of our lives, we give ourselves room to grow -- except in this one, where it matters most," Chugh says.
Have you ever actually read the terms and conditions for the apps you use? Finn Lützow-Holm Myrstad and his team at the Norwegian Consumer Council have, and it took them nearly a day and a half to read the terms of all the apps on an average phone. In a talk about the alarming ways tech companies deceive their users, Myrstad shares insights about the personal information you've agreed to let companies collect -- and how they use your data at a scale you could never imagine.
Taking lessons from a historical pattern called "Thucydides's Trap," political scientist Graham Allison shows why a rising China and a dominant United States could be headed towards a violent collision no one wants -- and how we can summon the common sense and courage to avoid it.
Technology architect Fadi Chehadé helped set up the infrastructure that makes the internet work -- essential things like the domain name system and IP address standards. Today he's focused on finding ways for society to benefit from technology. In a crisp conversation with Bryn Freedman, curator of the TED Institute, Chehadé discusses the ongoing war between the West and China over artificial intelligence, how tech companies can become stewards of the power they have to shape lives and economies and what everyday citizens can do to claim power on the internet.
What do Tourette syndrome, heroin addiction and social media obsession all have in common? They converge in an area of the brain called the striatum, says neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman -- and this critical discovery could reshape our understanding of the opioid crisis. Sharing insights from her research, Wurzman shows how social isolation contributes to relapse and overdose rates and reveals how meaningful human connection could offer a potentially powerful source of recovery.
By 2050, an estimated 10 billion people will live on earth. How are we going to provide everybody with basic needs while also avoiding the worst impacts of climate change? In a talk packed with wit and wisdom, science journalist Charles C. Mann breaks down the proposed solutions and finds that the answers fall into two camps -- wizards and prophets -- while offering his own take on the best path to survival.
A Tribe Called Red creates music that acts as a gateway into urban, contemporary indigenous culture, celebrating all of its layers and complexity. In a set that blends traditional powwow drums and vocals with hip-hop and electronic music, the DJ collective tells stories of the First Nations in beats and images -- expanding on the concept of the "Halluci Nation," inspired by the poet, musician and activist John Trudell.
Over the course of her fearless career, extreme action specialist Elizabeth Streb has pushed the limits of the human body. She's jumped through broken glass, toppled from great heights and built gizmos to provide a boost along the way. Backed by footage of her work, Streb reflects on her lifelong quest to defy gravity and fly the only way a human can -- by mastering the landing.
What can you do if you're the victim of revenge porn or cyberbullying? Shockingly little, says journalist and activist Darieth Chisolm, who found herself living the nightmare scenario of having explicit photos taken without her knowledge or consent posted online. She describes how she's working to help victims and outlines the current state of legislation aimed at punishing perpetrators.
A massive generation of young people is about to inherit the world, and it's the duty of everyone to give them a fighting chance for their futures, says UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore. In this forward-looking talk, she explores the crises facing them and details an ambitious new global initiative, Generation Unlimited, which aims to ensure every young person is in school, training or employed by 2030.
Why do we have to choose between nationalism and globalism, between loving our countries and caring for the world? In a talk with lessons for avowed nationalists and globalists alike, Wanis Kabbaj explains how we can challenge this polarizing, binary thinking -- and simultaneously be proud citizens of both our countries and the world.
In a talk that's equal parts funny and urgent, consultant Vinay Shandal shares stories of the world's top activist investors, showing how individuals and institutions can take a page from their playbook and put pressure on companies to drive positive change. "It's your right to have your money managed in line with your values," Shandal says. "Use your voice, and trust that it matters."
Is outer space really the silent and lifeless place it's often depicted to be? Perhaps not. Astrophysicist and musician Matt Russo takes us on a journey through the cosmos, revealing the hidden rhythms and harmonies of planetary orbits. The universe is full of music, he says -- we just need to learn how to hear it.
We need to change how we prescribe drugs, says physician Daniel Kraft: too often, medications are dosed incorrectly, cause toxic side effects or just don't work. In a talk and concept demo, Kraft shares his vision for a future of personalized medication, unveiling a prototype 3D printer that could design pills that adapt to our individual needs.
In a talk about how we can build a robust future without wrecking the planet, sustainability expert Johan Rockström debuts the Earth3 model -- a new methodology that combines the UN Sustainable Development Goals with the nine planetary boundaries, beyond which earth's vital systems could become unstable. Learn more about five transformational policies that could help us achieve inclusive and prosperous world development while keeping the earth stable and resilient.
The malaria vaccine was invented more than a century ago -- yet each year, hundreds of thousands of people still die from the disease. How can we improve this vital vaccine? In this informative talk, immunologist and TED Fellow Faith Osier shows how she's combining cutting-edge technology with century-old insights in the hopes of creating a new vaccine that eradicates malaria once and for all.
We're far from developing robots that feel emotions, but we already have feelings towards them, says robot ethicist Kate Darling, and an instinct like that can have consequences. Learn more about how we're biologically hardwired to project intent and life onto machines -- and how it might help us better understand ourselves.
You don't have to be a scientist to help protect the world's oceans, says underwater drone expert and TED Fellow David Lang -- in fact, ordinary citizens have pulled together to save the planet's natural treasures many times in history. Lang asks us to take a lesson from the story of the US National Parks Service, offering a three-point plan for conserving underwater wonders.
Fraud researcher and documentary filmmaker Kelly Richmond Pope shares lessons from some of the most high-profile whistle-blowers of the past, explaining how they've shared information that has shaped society -- and why they need our trust and protection.
For the first time ever, we have five generations in the workplace at the same time, says entrepreneur Chip Conley. What would happen if we got intentional about how we all work together? In this accessible talk, Conley shows how age diversity makes companies stronger and calls for different generations to mentor each other at work, with wisdom flowing from old to young and young to old alike.
We may not be as deeply divided as we think -- at least when it comes to health, says Rebecca Onie. In a talk that cuts through the noise, Onie shares research that shows how, even across economic, political and racial divides, Americans agree on what they need to live good lives -- and asks both health care providers and patients to focus on what makes us healthy, not what makes us angry.
You don't have to work on Broadway to design a set, says creative director David Korins -- you can be the set designer of any space in your life. Sharing insights from his work on hits like "Hamilton" and "Dear Evan Hansen," Korins offers a three-step process to start creating the world you want to live in.
We're living in a golden era of innovation, says entrepreneur Ashwini Anburajan -- but venture capital hasn't evolved to keep up, and start-ups aren't getting the funding they need to grow. In this quick talk, she shares the story of how her company became part of an entirely new way to raise capital, using the powers of cooperation and cryptocurrency.
Imagine being by yourself in the dead center of a 3,000-foot vertical cliff -- without a rope to catch you if you fall. For professional rock climber Alex Honnold, this dizzying scene marked the culmination of a decade-long dream. In a hair-raising talk, he tells the story of how he summited Yosemite's El Capitan, completing one of the most dangerous free solo climbs ever.
Spider venom can stop your heart within minutes, cause unimaginable pain -- and potentially save your life, says zoologist Michel Dugon. With a live tarantula on his arm, Dugon explains the medical properties of their potent toxin and how it might be used to produce the next generation of antibiotics.
Inspired by the events of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, TED Fellow Camille A. Brown choreographed "New Second Line," a celebration of the culture of New Orleans and the perseverance of Black people in the midst of devastation. The performance borrows its name from the energetic, spirited people who follow the traditional brass band parades for weddings, social events and, most notably, funerals in New Orleans. "It honors our ability to rise and keep rising," Brown says. (Music includes "New Second Line" by Los Hombres Calientes featuring Kermit Ruffins)
Many African countries are poor for a simple reason, says entrepreneur Magatte Wade: governments have created far too many obstacles to starting and running a business. In this passionate talk, Wade breaks down the challenges of doing business on the continent and offers some solutions of her own -- while calling on leaders to do their part, too.
We're taught to believe that hard work and dedication will lead to success, but that's not always the case. Gender, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation are among the many factors that affect our chances, says writer and advocate Melinda Epler, and it's up to each of us to be allies for those who face discrimination. In this actionable talk, Epler shares three ways to support people who are underrepresented in the workplace. "There's no magic wand for correcting diversity and inclusion," she says. "Change happens one person at a time, one act at a time, one word at a time."
Looking to get ahead in your career? Start by being respectful to your coworkers, says leadership researcher Christine Porath. In this science-backed talk, she shares surprising insights about the costs of rudeness and shows how little acts of respect can boost your professional success -- and your company's bottom line.
Kristie Overstreet is on a mission to ensure that the transgender community gets their health care needs met. In this informative, myth-busting talk, she provides a primer for understanding gender identity and invites us to shift how we view transgender health care -- so that everyone gets the respect and dignity they deserve when they go to a doctor.
Every month, millions of Americans face an impossible choice: pay for energy to power their homes, or pay for basic needs like food and medicine. TED Fellow DeAndrea Salvador is working to reduce energy costs so that no one has to make this kind of decision. In this quick talk, she shares her plan to help low-income families reduce their bills while also building a cleaner, more sustainable and more affordable energy future for us all.
Is it better to be lucky or good? Should we trust our gut feelings or rely on probabilities and careful analysis when making important decisions? In this quick talk, professional poker player Liv Boeree shares three strategies she's learned from the game and how we can apply them to real life.
Photographer and TED Fellow Isadora Kosofsky is a chronicler of love, loss and loneliness. In this searching talk, she shares photos from her four years documenting the lives of a senior citizen love triangle -- and reveals what they can teach us about the universal search for identity and belonging.
How does a city become known as a "music city"? Publicist Elizabeth Cawein explains how thriving music scenes make cities healthier and happier and shares ideas for bolstering your local music scene -- and showing off your city's talent to the world.
In 2009, 11,341 untested rape kits -- some dating back to the 1980s -- were found in an abandoned warehouse once used by the Detroit police to store evidence. When this scandal was uncovered, prosecutor Kym Worthy set a plan into action to get justice for the thousands of victims affected. In this powerful, eye-opening talk, Worthy explains how her office helped develop an innovative program to track and test these kits -- and calls for a national effort to help solve the problem of stockpiled rape kits.
We all want to be safe, and our safety is intertwined, says Tracie Keesee, cofounder of the Center for Policing Equity. Sharing lessons she's learned from 25 years as a police officer, Keesee reflects on the public safety challenges faced by both the police and local neighborhoods, especially in the African American community, as well as the opportunities we all have preserving dignity and guaranteeing justice. "We must move forward together. There's no more us versus them," Keesee says.
In a talk that's part history lesson, part love letter to graphics, information designer Tommy McCall traces the centuries-long evolution of charts and diagrams -- and shows how complex data can be sculpted into beautiful shapes. "Graphics that help us think faster, or see a book's worth of information on a single page, are the key to unlocking new discoveries," McCall says.
As a young scientist, Catherine Mohr was on her dream scuba trip -- when she put her hand right down on a spiny sea urchin. While a school of sharks circled above. What happened next? More than you can possibly imagine. Settle in for this fabulous story with a dash of science.
Luke Sital-Singh sings songs of love, longing and grief in this stirring performance of "Afterneath" and "Killing Me." "These are the songs I just never tire of hearing and I never tire of writing, because they make me feel less alone," Sital-Singh says.
Archaeologist and curator Chip Colwell collects artifacts for his museum, but he also returns them to where they came from. In a thought-provoking talk, he shares how some museums are confronting their legacies of stealing spiritual objects and pillaging ancient graves -- and how they're bridging divides with communities who are demanding the return of their cultural treasures.
What if we could help our bodies heal faster and without scars, like Wolverine in X-Men? TED Fellow Kaitlyn Sadtler is working to make this dream a reality by developing new biomaterials that could change how our immune system responds to injuries. In this quick talk, she shows the different ways these products could help the body regenerate.
Nobody likes going to the hospital, whether it's because of the logistical challenges of getting there, the astronomical costs of procedures or the alarming risks of complications like antibiotic-resistant bacteria. But what if we could get the lifesaving care provided by hospitals in our own homes? Health care futurist Niels van Namen shows how advances in technology are making home care a cheaper, safer and more accessible alternative to hospital stays.
After a horrific accident put her in the tabloid headlines, Kate Stone found a way to take control of her narrative -- and help prevent others from losing their privacy, too. Learn how she reclaimed her story in this personal talk infused with humor and courage.
When the pressure is on, why do we sometimes fail to live up to our potential? Cognitive scientist and Barnard College president Sian Leah Beilock reveals what happens in your brain and body when you choke in stressful situations, sharing psychological tools that can help you perform at your best when it matters most.
Our fingerprints are what make us unique -- but they're also home to a world of information hidden in molecules that reveal our actions, lifestyles and routines. In this riveting talk, chemist Simona Francese shows how she studies these microscopic traces using mass spectrometry, a technology that analyzes fingerprints in previously impossible detail, and demonstrates how this cutting-edge forensic science can help police catch criminals. (Note: This talk contains descriptions of sexual violence.)
Live and direct from New Orleans, The Soul Rebels rock the TED stage with a tight, energetic performance blending elements of hip-hop, jazz and funk. The eight-piece brass band plays three songs -- "Rebelosis," "Rebel Rock" and "Rebel on That Level" -- turning the red circle into a joyful French Quarter street corner.
If you ever struggle to make decisions, here's a talk for you. Cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths shows how we can apply the logic of computers to untangle tricky human problems, sharing three practical strategies for making better decisions -- on everything from finding a home to choosing which restaurant to go to tonight.
For nearly half a century, scientists have been trying to create a process for transplanting animal organs into humans, a theoretical dream that could help the hundreds of thousands of people in need of a lifesaving transplant. But the risks, specifically of transmitting the PERV virus from pigs to humans, have always been too great, stalling research -- until now. In a mind-blowing talk, geneticist Luhan Yang explains a breakthrough: using CRISPR, a technique for editing genes, she and her colleagues have created pigs that don't carry the virus, opening up the possibility of safely growing human-transplantable organs in pigs. Learn more about this cutting-edge science and how it could help solve the organ shortage crisis.
After a visit to a European library in search of Arabic and Middle Eastern texts turned up only titles about fear, terrorism and destruction, Ghada Wali resolved to represent her culture in a fun, accessible way. The result: a colorful, engaging project that uses LEGO to teach Arabic script, harnessing the power of graphic design to create connection and positive change. "Effective communication and education is the road to more tolerant communities," Wali says.
Of all the problems facing humanity, which should we focus on solving first? In a compelling talk about how to make the world better, moral philosopher Will MacAskill provides a framework for answering this question based on the philosophy of "effective altruism" -- and shares ideas for taking on three pressing global issues.
Singer-songwriter Elise LeGrow pays homage to early soul and rock innovators with intimate, stripped-down interpretations of their hits. Listen as she and her band perform two of these soulful renditions: Chuck Berry's "You Never Can Tell" and "Over the Mountain, Across the Sea," first popularized by Johnnie and Joe.
If we want sustainable, long-term security to be the norm in the world, it's time to radically rethink how we can achieve it, says TED Fellow and conflict researcher Benedetta Berti. In an eye-opening talk, Berti explains how building a safer world has a lot less to do with crushing enemies on the battlefield and a lot more to do with protecting civilians -- no matter where they're from or where they live.
In 2011, eye surgeon and TED Fellow Andrew Bastawrous developed a smartphone app that brings quality eye care to remote communities, helping people avoid losing their sight to curable or preventable conditions. Along the way, he noticed a problem: strict funding regulations meant that he could only operate on people with specific diseases, leaving many others without resources for treatment. In this passionate talk, Bastawrous calls for a new health care funding model that's flexible and ambitious -- to deliver better health to everyone, whatever their needs are.
Meet AIVA, an artificial intelligence that has been trained in the art of music composition by reading more than 30,000 of history's greatest scores. In a mesmerizing talk and demo, Pierre Barreau plays compositions created by AIVA and shares his dream: to create original live soundtracks based on our moods and personalities.