TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences -- the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer -- TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Project and TED Conversations, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.
TEDTalks began as a simple attempt to share what happens at TED with the world. Under the moniker "ideas worth spreading," talks were released online. They rapidly attracted a global audience in the millions. Indeed, the reaction was so enthusiastic that the entire TED website has been reengineered around TEDTalks, with the goal of giving everyone on-demand access to the world's most inspiring voices.
Talent is universal, but opportunity isn't, says TED Fellow Christopher Ategeka. In this charming, hopeful talk, Ategeka tells his story of being orphaned at a young age -- and how being adopted gave him the chance to experience a new culture, acquire an education and live up to his full potential. "We may not be able to solve the bigotry and the racism of this world today," Ategeka says, "But certainly we can raise children to create a positive, inclusive, connected world full of empathy, love and compassion."
Can you look at someone's face and know what they're feeling? Does everyone experience happiness, sadness and anxiety the same way? What are emotions anyway? For the past 25 years, psychology professor Lisa Feldman Barrett has mapped facial expressions, scanned brains and analyzed hundreds of physiology studies to understand what emotions really are. She shares the results of her exhaustive research -- and explains how we may have more control over our emotions than we think.
According to the UN, nearly one in three people worldwide live in a country facing a water crisis, and less than five percent of the world lives in a country that has more water today than it did 20 years ago. Lana Mazahreh grew up in Jordan, a state that has experienced absolute water scarcity since 1973, where she learned how to conserve water as soon as she was old enough to learn how to write her name. In this practical talk, she shares three lessons from water-poor countries on how to save water and address what's fast becoming a global crisis.
The treatment of HIV has significantly advanced over the past three decades -- why hasn't our perception of people with the disease advanced along with it? After being diagnosed with HIV, Arik Hartmann chose to live transparently, being open about his status, in an effort to educate people. In this candid, personal talk, he shares what it's like to live with HIV -- and calls on us to dismiss our misconceptions about the disease.
As parents, it's our job to teach our kids about sex. But beyond "the talk," which covers biology and reproduction, there's so much more we can say about the human experience of being in our bodies. Introducing "The Talk 2.0," Sue Jaye Johnson shows us how we can teach our children to tune in to their sensations and provide them with the language to communicate their desires and emotions -- without shutting down or numbing out.
Stewart Brand is a futurist, counterculturist and visionary with a very wide-ranging mind. In conversation with TED Curator Chris Anderson, Brand discusses ... just about everything: human nature, bringing back the wooly mammoth, geoengineering, rewilding and science as organized skepticism -- plus the story of an acid trip on a San Francisco rooftop in the '60s that sparked a perspective-shifting idea. "The story we're told is that we're the next meteor," Brand says, but "things are capable of getting better."
Art fair curator Touria El Glaoui is on a mission to showcase vital new art from African nations and the diaspora. She shares beautiful, inspiring, thrilling contemporary art that tells powerful stories of African identity and history -- including works by Senegalese photographer Omar Victor Diop, Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj and Zimbabwean painter Kudzanai-Violet Hwami. "It is really through art that we can regain our sense of agency and empowerment," El Glaoui says. "It is through art that we can really tell our own story."
Do you have a favorite T-shirt or pair of jeans that transforms you and makes you feel confident -- makes you feel like you? That's because what you wear can affect your mood, your health and your self-esteem, says fashion designer Mindy Scheier. Inspired by her son, who was born with a degenerative disorder that makes it hard for him to dress himself or wear clothing with buttons or zippers, Scheier set out to make clothing that works for everyone, including the differently abled. Learn more about how she's made fashion history by producing the world's first mainstream adaptive clothing line.
In sub-Saharan Africa, power outages, low technology penetration, slow internet and understaffed hospitals plague health care systems. To make progress on these problems in Malawi, TED Fellow Soyapi Mumba and his team created a new system from scratch -- from the software that powers their electronic health records to the infrastructure used to support it. In this quick, hopeful talk, Mumba shares how his jack-of-all-trades mindset can help reshape health care in low-resource environments.
How can Africans find solutions to Africa's problems? Conservation biologist Kevin Njabo tells his personal story of how he nearly became part of the group of African scientists who seek an education abroad and never return -- and why he's now building a permanent base on the continent to nurture and support local talent. "I'm not coming back alone. I'm bringing with me Western scientists, entrepreneurs and students," Njabo says. "When that happens, Africa will be on the way to solving Africa's problems."
For generations, record collectors have played a vital role in the preservation of musical and cultural heritage by "digging" for obscure music created by overlooked artists. Alexis Charpentier shares his love of records -- and stories of how collectors have given forgotten music a second chance at being heard. Learn more about the culture of record digging (and, maybe, pick up a new hobby) with this fun, refreshing talk.
When trying to come up with a new idea, we all have times when we get stuck. But according to research by behavioral and learning scientist Marily Oppezzo, getting up and going for a walk might be all it takes to get your creative juices flowing. In this fun, fast talk, she explains how walking could help you get the most out of your next brainstorm.
Jacob Collier is a one-man band and force of nature. In a dynamic, colorful performance, he recreates the magical room at his home in London where he produces music, performing three songs in which he sings every part and plays every instrument -- accompanied by kaleidoscopic visuals that take cues from the music and grow in real time.
What can you do when the wheels of justice don't turn fast enough? Or when they don't turn at all? Vivek Maru is working to transform the relationship between people and law, turning law from an abstraction or threat into something that everyone can understand, use and shape. Instead of relying solely on lawyers, Maru started a global network of community paralegals, or barefoot lawyers, who serve in their own communities and break the law down into simple terms to help people find solutions. Learn more about how this innovative approach to using the law is helping socially excluded people claim their rights. "A little bit of legal empowerment can go a long way," Maru says.
In 1988, Matt Goldman co-founded Blue Man Group, an off-Broadway production that became a sensation known for its humor, blue body paint and wild stunts. The show works on the premise that certain conditions can create "aha moments" -- moments of surprise, learning and exuberance -- frequent and intentional rather than random and occasional. Now Goldman is working to apply the lessons learned from Blue Man Group to education, creating Blue School, a school that balances academic mastery, creative thinking and self and social intelligence. "We need to cultivate safe and conducive conditions for new and innovative ideas to evolve and thrive," Goldman says.
Do you know what you want when you die? Do you know how you want to be remembered? In a candid, heartfelt talk about a subject most of us would rather not discuss, Michelle Knox asks each of us to reflect on our core values around death and share them with our loved ones, so they can make informed decisions without fear of having failed to honor our legacies. "Life would be a lot easier to live if we talked about death now," Knox says. "We need to discuss these issues when we are fit and healthy so we can take the emotion out of it -- and then we can learn not just what is important, but why it's important."
Once a cared-for patient and now a caregiver himself, Scott Williams highlights the invaluable role of informal caregivers -- those friends and relatives who, out of love, go the extra mile for patients in need. From personal care to advocacy to emotional support, unpaid caregivers form the invisible backbone of health and social systems all over the world, Williams says -- and without them, these systems would crumble. "How can we make sure that their value to patients and society is recognized?" he asks.
Former Republican member of the U.S. Congress Bob Inglis shares an optimistic message about how conservatives can lead on climate change and other pressing problems -- and how free enterprise (and working together across ideologies) hold the solutions. "The United States was not built by those who waited and wished to look behind them," Inglis says. "Lead now ... Tell the American people that we still have moon shots in us."
What does it look like when someone in Sweden brushes their teeth or when someone in Rwanda makes their bed? Anna Rosling Rönnlund wants all of us to find out, so she sent photographers to 264 homes in 50 countries (and counting!) to document the stoves, bed, toilets, toys and more in households from every income bracket around the world. See how families live in Latvia or Burkina Faso or Peru as Rosling Rönnlund explains the power of data visualization to help us better understand the world.
Artist and poet Cleo Wade recites a moving poem about being an advocate for love and acceptance in a time when both seem in short supply. Woven between stories of people at the beginning and end of their lives, she shares some truths about growing up (and speaking up) and reflects on the wisdom of a life well-lived, leaving us with a simple yet enduring takeaway: be good to yourself, be good to others, be good to the earth. "The world will say to you, 'Be a better person,'" Wade says. "Do not be afraid to say, 'Yes.'"
Transcript10 languages CommentsJoin the conversation On one awful night in 1995, Ples Felix's 14-year-old grandson murdered Azim Khamisa's son in a gang initiation fueled by drugs, alcohol and a false sense of belonging. The deadly encounter sent Khamisa and Felix down paths of deep meditation, to forgive and to be forgiven -- and in an act of bravery and reconciliation, the two men met and forged a lasting bond. Together, they've used their story as an outline for a better, more merciful society, where victims of tragedy can grow and heal. Prepare to be moved by their unimaginable story. "Peace is possible," Khamisa says. "How do I know that? Because I am at peace."
We all share one planet -- we breathe the same air, drink the same water and depend on the same oceans, forests and biodiversity. Economist Naoko Ishii is on a mission to protect these shared resources, known as the global commons, that are vital for our survival. In an eye-opening talk about the wellness of the planet, Ishii outlines four economic systems we need to change to safeguard the global commons, making the case for a new kind of social contract with the earth.
"The only way we're going to make substantial progress on the challenging problems of our time is for business to drive the solutions," says social impact strategist Wendy Woods. In a data-packed talk, Woods shares a fresh way to assess the impact all parts of business can have on all parts of society, and then adjust them to not only do less harm but actually improve things. Learn more about how executives can move beyond corporate social responsibility to "total societal impact" -- for the benefit of both a company's bottom line and society at large.
Think we're winning the battle against HIV? Maybe not, as the next wave of drug-resistant viruses arrives. In an eye-opening talk, TED Fellow Edsel Salvana describes the aggressive HIV subtype AE that's currently plaguing his home of the Philippines -- and warns us about what might become a global epidemic.
George Steinmetz's spectacular photos show Africa from the air, taken from the world's slowest, lightest aircraft. Join Steinmetz to discover the surprising historical, ecological and sociopolitical patterns that emerge when you go low and slow in a flying lawn chair.
Can we solve the problem of ocean plastic pollution and end extreme poverty at the same time? That's the ambitious goal of The Plastic Bank: a worldwide chain of stores where everything from school tuition to cooking fuel and more is available for purchase in exchange for plastic garbage -- which is then sorted, shredded and sold to brands who reuse "social plastic" in their products. Join David Katz to learn more about this step towards closing the loop in the circular economy. "Preventing ocean plastic could be humanity's richest opportunity," Katz says.
We already live among robots: tools and machines like dishwashers and thermostats so integrated into our lives that we'd never think to call them that. What will a future with even more robots look like? Social scientist Leila Takayama shares some unique challenges of designing for human-robot interactions -- and how experimenting with robotic futures actually leads us to a better understanding of ourselves.
There's an energy revolution happening in villages and towns across Africa -- off-grid solar energy is becoming a viable alternative to traditional electricity systems. In a bold talk about a true leapfrog moment, Amar Inamdar introduces us to proud owners of off-grid solar kits -- and explains how this technology has the opportunity to meet two extraordinary goals: energy access for all and a low-carbon future. "Every household a proud producer as well as consumer of energy," Inamdar says. "That's the democracy of energy." (Followed by a brief Q&A with TED Curator Chris Anderson)
What do we really know about mosquitoes? Fredros Okumu catches and studies these disease-carrying insects for a living -- with the hope of crashing their populations. Join Okumu for a tour of the frontlines of mosquito research, as he details some of the unconventional methods his team at the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania have developed to target what has been described as the most dangerous animal on earth.
Psychologist Susan David shares how the way we deal with our emotions shapes everything that matters: our actions, careers, relationships, health and happiness. In this deeply moving, humorous and potentially life-changing talk, she challenges a culture that prizes positivity over emotional truth and discusses the powerful strategies of emotional agility. A talk to share.
Mike Gil spies on fish: using novel multi-camera systems and computer vision technology, the TED Fellow and his colleagues explore how coral reef fish behave, socialize and affect their ecosystems. Learn more about how fish of different species communicate via social networks -- and what disrupting these networks might mean to the delicate ecology of reefs, which help feed millions of us and support the global economy.
Anjali Kumar went looking for God and ended up finding something else entirely. In an uplifting, funny talk about our shared humanity, she takes us on a spiritual pilgrimage to meet witches in New York, a shaman in Peru, an infamous "healer" in Brazil and others, sharing an important lesson: what binds us together is far stronger than what separates us, and our differences are not insurmountable.
"It is the artist's job to unearth stories that people try to bury with shovels of complacency and time," says poet and freedom fighter Mwende "FreeQuency" Katwiwa. Performing her poem "The Joys of Motherhood," Katwiwa explores the experience of Black mothers in America and discusses the impact of the Movement for Black Lives -- because, she says, it's impossible to separate the two.
Danielle Wood leads the Space Enabled research group at the MIT Media Lab, where she works to tear down the barriers that limit the benefits of space exploration to only the few, the rich or the elite. She identifies six technologies developed for space exploration that can contribute to sustainable development across the world -- from observation satellites that provide information to aid organizations to medical research on microgravity that can be used to improve health care on Earth. "Space truly is useful for sustainable development for the benefit of all peoples," Wood says.
Peter Ouko spent 18 years in Kamiti Prison in Kenya, sometimes locked up in a cell with 13 other grown men for 23 and a half hours a day. In a moving talk, he tells the story of how he was freed -- and his current mission with the African Prisons Project: to set up the first law school behind bars and empower people in prison to drive positive change.
The internet can be an ugly place, but you won't find bullies or trolls on Stuart Duncan's Minecraft server, AutCraft. Designed for children with autism and their families, AutCraft creates a safe online environment for play and self-expression for kids who sometimes behave a bit differently than their peers (and who might be singled out elsewhere). Learn more about one of the best places on the internet with this heartwarming talk.
At some point in our lives, almost every one of us will have our heart broken. Imagine how different things would be if we paid more attention to this unique emotional pain. Psychologist Guy Winch reveals how recovering from heartbreak starts with a determination to fight our instincts to idealize and search for answers that aren't there -- and offers a toolkit on how to, eventually, move on. Our hearts might sometimes be broken, but we don't have to break with them.
How deep into the Earth can we go and still find life? Marine microbiologist Karen Lloyd introduces us to deep-subsurface microbes: tiny organisms that live buried meters deep in ocean mud and have been on Earth since way before animals. Learn more about these mysterious microbes, which refuse to grow in the lab and seem to have a fundamentally different relationship with time and energy than we do.
If architect and writer John Cary has his way, women will never need to stand in pointlessly long bathroom lines again. Lines like these are representative of a more serious issue, Cary says: the lack of diversity in design that leads to thoughtless, compassionless spaces. Design has a unique ability to dignify and make people feel valued, respected, honored and seen — but the flip side is also true. Cary calls for architects and designers to expand their ranks and commit to serving the public good, not just the privileged few. "Well-designed spaces are not just a matter of taste or a questions of aesthetics," he says. "They literally shape our ideas about who we are in the world and what we deserve." And we all deserve better.
Mohamad Jebara loves mathematics — but he's concerned that too many students grow up thinking that this beautiful, rewarding subject is difficult and boring. His company is experimenting with a bold idea: paying students for completing weekly math homework. He explores the ethics of this model and how it's helping students — and why learning math is crucial in the era of fake news.
The democratic process is messy, complicated and often inefficient — but across Africa, activists are redefining democracy by putting protest at its center. In an illuminating talk, political scientist Zachariah Mampilly gives us a primer on the current wave of protests reshaping countries like Tunisia, Malawi and Zimbabwe — and explains how this form of political dissension expands our political imaginations beyond what we're told is possible.
Blues musician Tito Deler combines the sounds of his New York upbringing with the style of pre-war Mississippi Delta blues. He takes the stage, singing and strumming a stirring rendition of his song, "My Fine Reward."
What's the antidote to rising nationalism, polarization and hate? In this inspiring, poetic talk, Valarie Kaur asks us to reclaim love as a revolutionary act. As she journeys from the birthing room to tragic sites of bloodshed, Kaur shows us how the choice to love can be a force for justice.
Bhu Srinivasan researches the intersection of capitalism and technological progress. Instead of thinking about capitalism as a firm, unchanging ideology, he suggests that we should think of it as an operating system — one that needs upgrades to keep up with innovation, like the impending take-off of drone delivery services. Learn more about the past and future of the free market (and a potential coming identity crisis for the United States' version of capitalism) with this quick, forward-thinking talk.
What is it about unfairness? Whether it's not being invited to a friend's wedding or getting penalized for bad luck or an honest mistake, unfairness often makes us so upset that we can't think straight. And it's not just a personal issue — it's also bad for business, says Marco Alverà. He explains how his company works to create a culture of fairness — and how tapping into our innate sense of what's right and wrong makes for happier employees and better results.
The hymen is still the most misunderstood part of the female body. Nina Dølvik Brochmann and Ellen Støkken Dahl share their mission to empower young people through better sex education, debunking the popular (and harmful) myths we're told about female virginity and the hymen.
Dixon Chibanda is one of 12 psychiatrists in Zimbabwe — for a population of more than 16 million. Realizing that his country would never be able to scale traditional methods of treating those with mental health issues, Chibanda helped to develop a beautiful solution powered by a limitless resource: grandmothers. In this extraordinary, inspirational talk, learn more about the friendship bench program, which trains grandmothers in evidence-based talk therapy and brings care, and hope, to those in need.
"To be African is to be inspired by culture and to be filled with undying hope for the future," says designer and TED Fellow Walé Oyéjidé. With his label Ikiré Jones (you'll see their work in Marvel's "Black Panther"), he uses classic design to showcase the elegance and grace of often-marginalized groups, in beautifully cut clothing that tells a story.
What happens to the clothes we don't buy? You might think that last season's coats, trousers and turtlenecks end up being put to use, but most of it (nearly 13 million tons each year in the United States alone) ends up in landfills. Fashion has a waste problem, and Amit Kalra wants to fix it. He shares some creative ways the industry can evolve to be more conscientious about the environment — and gain a competitive advantage at the same time.
We often find ourselves stuck in narrow social circles with similar people. What habits confine us, and how can we break them? Organizational psychologist Tanya Menon considers how we can be more intentional about expanding our social universes — and how it can lead to new ideas and opportunities.
As a research scientist at Google, Margaret Mitchell helps develop computers that can communicate about what they see and understand. She tells a cautionary tale about the gaps, blind spots and biases we subconsciously encode into AI — and asks us to consider what the technology we create today will mean for tomorrow. "All that we see now is a snapshot in the evolution of artificial intelligence," Mitchell says. "If we want AI to evolve in a way that helps humans, then we need to define the goals and strategies that enable that path now."
Very few of us hold jobs that line up directly with our past experiences or what we studied in college. Take TED Resident Jason Shen; he studied biology but later became a product manager at a tech company. In this quick, insightful talk about human potential, Shen shares some new thinking on how job seekers can make themselves more attractive — and why employers should look for ability over credentials.
Every three years, more than 30 million Hindu worshippers gather for the Kumbh Mela in India, the world's largest religious gathering, in order to wash away their sins. With massive crowds descending on small cities and towns, stampedes inevitably happen, and in 2003, 39 people were killed during the festival. In 2014, then 15-year-old Nilay Kulkarni decided to put his skills as a self-taught programmer to use by building a tech solution to help prevent stampedes. Learn more about his invention — and how it helped the 2015 Nashik Kumbh Mela have zero stampedes and casualties.
From our fear of women's bodies to our sheepishness around the word "nipple," our ideas about sex need an upgrade, say sex educators (and hilarious women) Tiffany Kagure Mugo and Siphumeze Khundayi. For a radical new take on sex positivity, the duo take the TED stage to suggest we look to Africa for erotic wisdom both ancient and modern, showing us how we can shake off problematic ideas about sex we've internalized and re-define pleasure on our own terms. (This talk contains mature content.)
The prevailing image of where refugees live is of temporary camps in isolated areas — but in reality, nearly 60 percent of them worldwide end up in urban areas. TED Fellow Robert Hakiza takes us inside the lives of urban refugees — and shows us how organizations like the one that he started can provide them with the skills they need to ultimately become self-sufficient.
Driving in Johannesburg one day, Tapiwa Chiwewe noticed an enormous cloud of air pollution hanging over the city. He was curious and concerned but not an environmental expert — so he did some research and discovered that nearly 14 percent of all deaths worldwide in 2012 were caused by household and ambient air pollution. With this knowledge and an urge to do something about it, Chiwewe and his colleagues developed a platform that uncovers trends in pollution and helps city planners make better decisions. "Sometimes just one fresh perspective, one new skill set, can make the conditions right for something remarkable to happen," Chiwewe says. "But you need to be bold enough to try."
If we hope to heal the racial tensions that threaten to tear the fabric of society apart, we're going to need the skills to openly express ourselves in racially stressful situations. Through racial literacy — the ability to read, recast and resolve these situations — psychologist Howard C. Stevenson helps children and parents reduce and manage stress and trauma. In this inspiring, quietly awesome talk, learn more about how this approach to decoding racial threat can help youth build confidence and stand up for themselves in productive ways.
Do human emotions have a role to play in science and research? Material researcher Ilona Stengel suggests that instead of opposing each other, emotions and logic complement and reinforce each other. She shares a case study on how properly using emotions (like the empowering feeling of being dedicated to something meaningful) can boost teamwork and personal development — and catalyze scientific breakthroughs and innovation.
How do we find fulfillment in a world that's constantly changing? Raymond Tang struggled with this question until he came across the ancient Chinese philosophy of the Tao Te Ching. In it, he found a passage comparing goodness to water, an idea he's now applying to his everyday life. In this charming talk, he shares three lessons he's learned so far from the "philosophy of water." "What would water do?" Tang asks. "This simple and powerful question ... has changed my life for the better."
Technology should work for us, but what happens when it doesn't? Comedian Chuck Nice explores the unintended consequences of technological advancement and human interaction — with hilarious results.
What's the most transformative thing that you can do for your brain today? Exercise! says neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki. Get inspired to go to the gym as Suzuki discusses the science of how working out boosts your mood and memory — and protects your brain against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.
Antarctica is a vast and dynamic place, but radar technologies — from World War II-era film to state-of-the-art miniaturized sensors — are enabling scientists to observe and understand changes beneath the continent's ice in unprecedented detail. Join radio glaciologist Dustin Schroeder on a flight high above Antarctica and see how ice-penetrating radar is helping us learn about future sea level rise — and what the melting ice will mean for us all.
Shameem Akhtar posed as a boy during her early childhood in Pakistan so she could enjoy the privileges Pakistani girls are rarely afforded: to play outside and attend school. In an eye-opening, personal talk, Akhtar recounts how the opportunity to get an education altered the course of her life — and ultimately changed the culture of her village, where today every young girl goes to school.
Poets Felice Belle and Jennifer Murphy perform excerpts from their play "Other Women," which is created and directed by Monica L. Williams. In a captivating journey, they weave together stories full of laughter, loyalty, tragedy and heartbreak, recalling the moments that made them sisters.
Want to connect with a depressed friend but not sure how to relate to them? Comedian and storyteller Bill Bernat has a few suggestions. Learn some dos and don'ts for talking to people living with depression — and handle your next conversation with grace and maybe a bit of humor.
A 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and then a full-length marathon on hot, dry ground — with no breaks in between: the legendary Ironman triathlon in Kona, Hawaii, is a bucket list goal for champion athletes. But when Minda Dentler decided to take it on, she had bigger aspirations than just another medal around her neck. She tells the story of how she conquered this epic race, and what it inspired her to do next.
"Soccer is the only thing on this planet that we can all agree to do together," says theater maker and TED Fellow Marc Bamuthi Joseph. Through his performances and an engagement initiative called "Moving and Passing," Joseph combines music, dance and soccer to reveal accessible, joyful connections between the arts and sports. Learn more about how he's using the beautiful game to foster community and highlight issues facing immigrants.
Experimental psychologist Petter Johansson researches choice blindness — a phenomenon where we convince ourselves that we're getting what we want, even when we're not. In an eye-opening talk, he shares experiments (designed in collaboration with magicians!) that aim to answer the question: Why do we do what we do? The findings have big implications for the nature of self-knowledge and how we react in the face of manipulation. You may not know yourself as well as you think you do.
No one thinks twice about a woman wearing blue jeans in New York City — but when Nobel laureate Malala wears them, it's a political act. Around the globe, individuality can be a crime, and clothing can be a form of protest. In a talk about the power of what we wear, Kaustav Dey examines how fashion gives us a nonverbal language of dissent and encourages us to embrace our authentic selves.
Things are pretty shocking out there right now — record-breaking storms, deadly terror attacks, thousands of migrants disappearing beneath the waves and openly supremacist movements rising. Are we responding with the urgency that these overlapping crises demand from us? Journalist and activist Naomi Klein studies how governments use large-scale shocks to push societies backward. She shares a few propositions from "The Leap" — a manifesto she wrote alongside indigenous elders, climate change activists, union leaders and others from different backgrounds — which envisions a world after we've already made the transition to a clean economy and a much fairer society. "The shocking events that fill us with dread today can transform us, and they can transform the world for the better," Klein says. "But first we need to picture the world that we're fighting for. And we have to dream it up together."
"Hold your breath," says inventor Tom Zimmerman. "This is the world without plankton." These tiny organisms produce two-thirds of our planet's oxygen — without them, life as we know it wouldn't exist. In this talk and tech demo, Zimmerman and cell engineer Simone Bianco hook up a 3D microscope to a drop of water and take you scuba diving with plankton. Learn more about these mesmerizing creatures and get inspired to protect them against ongoing threats from climate change.
As CEO of the Global Fund for Women, Musimbi Kanyoro works to support women and their ideas so they can expand and grow. She introduces us to the Maragoli concept of "isirika" — a pragmatic way of life that embraces the mutual responsibility to care for one another — something she sees women practicing all over the world. And she calls for those who have more to give more to people working to improve their communities. "Imagine what it would look like if you embraced isirika and made it your default," Kanyoro says. "What could we achieve for each other? For humanity?" Let's find out — together.
A 24-hour helpline in the UK known as Samaritans helped Sophie Andrews become a survivor of abuse rather than a victim. Now she's paying the favor back as the founder of The Silver Line, a helpline that supports lonely and isolated older people. In a powerful, personal talk, she shares why the simple act of listening (instead of giving advice) is often the best way to help someone in need.
Throughout his colorful career and bodies of work, Iké Udé has found creative ways to reject the negative portrayal of Africans rampant in Western media. In this tour of his work, he shares evocative portraits that blend clothing, props and poses from many cultures at once into sharp takes on the varied, complex beauty of Africa.
Deanna Van Buren designs restorative justice centers that, instead of taking the punitive approach used by a system focused on mass incarceration, treat crime as a breach of relationships and justice as a process where all stakeholders come together to repair that breach. With help and ideas from incarcerated men and women, Van Buren is creating dynamic spaces that provide safe venues for dialogue and reconciliation; employment and job training; and social services to help keep people from entering the justice system in the first place. "Imagine a world without prisons," Van Buren says. "And join me in creating all the things that we could build instead."
According to the US Department of Education, more than 85 percent of black fourth-grade boys aren't proficient in reading. What kind of reading experiences should we be creating to ensure that all children read well? In a talk that will make you rethink how we teach, educator and author Alvin Irby explains the reading challenges that many black children face — and tells us what culturally competent educators do to help all children identify as readers.
"Will machines replace humans?" This question is on the mind of anyone with a job to lose. Daniel Susskind confronts this question and three misconceptions we have about our automated future, suggesting we ask something else: How will we distribute wealth in a world when there will be less — or even no — work?
Why are pencils shaped like hexagons, and how did they get their iconic yellow color? Pencil shop owner Caroline Weaver takes us inside the fascinating history of the pencil.
The progress bar makes waiting more exciting... and mitigates our fear of death. Journalist Daniel Engber explores how it came into existence.
The hoodie is a lot more than just a comfy sweatshirt. Design curator Paola Antonelli takes us through its history.
"Down down, baby, down down the roller coaster..." Hip-hop owes a lot of the queens of double dutch. Ethnomusicologist Kyra Gaunt takes us on a tour of the fascinating history of the jump rope.
How the simple button changed the world, according to fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi.
Stairs don't just get you from point A to point B. Architect David Rockwell explains how they shape your movement — and your feelings.
The hyperlink is the LEGO block of the internet. Here's the bizarre history of how it came to be, as told by user experience master Margaret Gould Stewart.
Design legend Michael Bierut tells the story of the accidental success of one of the most famous maps in the world — the London Tube Map.
Sometimes, a single decision can change the course of history. Join journalist and author Isabel Wilkerson as she tells the story of the Great Migration, the outpouring of six million African Americans from the Jim Crow South to cities in the North and West between World War I and the 1970s. This was the first time in American history that the lowest caste people signaled they had options and were willing to take them — and the first time they had a chance to choose for themselves what they would do with their innate talents, Wilkerson explains. "These people, by their actions, were able to do what the powers that be, North and South, could not or would not do," she says. "They freed themselves."
The arts bring meaning to our lives and spirit to our culture — so why do we expect artists to struggle to make a living? Hadi Eldebek is working to create a society where artists are valued through an online platform that matches artists with grants and funding opportunities — so they can focus on their craft instead of their side hustle.
Singer-songwriter Rei brings her mix of indie rock and blues to the TED stage in a performance of two songs, "my mama" and "BLACK BANANA."
We're all against hate, right? We agree it's a problem — their problem, not our problem, that is. But as Sally Kohn discovered, we all hate — some of us in subtle ways, others in obvious ones. As she confronts a hard story from her own life, she shares ideas on how we can recognize, challenge and heal from hatred in our institutions and in ourselves.
Something strange and deadly is happening inside the brains of top athletes — a degenerative condition, possibly linked to concussions, that causes dementia, psychosis and far-too-early death. It's called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, and it's the medical mystery that Chris Nowinski wants to solve by analyzing brains after death. It's also why, when Nowinski meets a pro athlete, his first question is: "Can I have your brain?" Hear more from this ground-breaking effort to protect athletes' brains — and yours, too.
Director and playwright Adong Judith creates provocative art that sparks dialogue on issues from LGBTQ rights to war crimes. In this quick but powerful talk, the TED Fellow details her work — including the play "Silent Voices," which brought victims of the Northern Ugandan war against Joseph Kony's rebel group together with political, religious and cultural leaders for transformative talks. "Listening to one another will not magically solve all problems," Judith says. "But it will give a chance to create avenues to start to work together to solve many of humanity's problems."
Liz Ogbu is an architect who works on spatial justice: the idea that justice has a geography and that the equitable distribution of resources and services is a human right. In San Francisco, she's questioning the all too familiar story of gentrification: that poor people will be pushed out by development and progress. "Why is it that we treat culture erasure and economic displacement as inevitable?" she asks, calling on developers, architects and policymakers to instead "make a commitment to build people's capacity to stay in their homes, to stay in their communities, to stay where they feel whole."
We use rituals to mark the early stages of our lives, like birthdays and graduations — but what about our later years? In this meditative talk about looking both backward and forward, Bob Stein proposes a new tradition of giving away your things (and sharing the stories behind them) as you get older, to reflect on your life so far and open the door to whatever comes next.
In 2014, as a newly trained physician, Soka Moses took on one of the toughest jobs in the world: treating highly contagious patients at the height of Liberia's Ebola outbreak. In this intense, emotional talk, he details what he saw on the frontlines of the crisis — and reveals the challenges and stigma that thousands of survivors still face.
"Where do great ideas come from?" Starting with this question in mind, Vittorio Loreto takes us on a journey to explore a possible mathematical scheme that explains the birth of the new. Learn more about the "adjacent possible" — the crossroads of what's actual and what's possible — and how studying the math that drives it could explain how we create new ideas.
The United States locks up more people than any other country in the world, says documentarian Eve Abrams, and somewhere between one and four percent of those in prison are likely innocent. That's 87,000 brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers — predominantly African American — unnecessarily separated from their families, their lives and dreams put on hold. Using audio from her interviews with incarcerated people and their families, Abrams shares touching stories of those impacted by mass incarceration and calls on us all to take a stand and ensure that the justice system works for everyone.
From Beyoncé to Drake and beyond, the world is rocking to the rhythm of Afrobeat. Feel the music as Kenyan afro-pop superstars Sauti Sol take the TED stage to perform three songs: "Live and Die in Afrika," "Sura Yako" and "Kuliko Jana."
Amishi Jha studies how we pay attention: the process by which our brain decides what's important out of the constant stream of information it receives. Both external distractions (like stress) and internal ones (like mind-wandering) diminish our attention's power, Jha says — but some simple techniques can boost it. "Pay attention to your attention," Jha says.
What if we incentivized doctors to keep us healthy instead of paying them only when we're already sick? Matthias Müllenbeck explains how this radical shift from a sick care system to a true health care system could save us from unnecessary costs and risky procedures — and keep us healthier for longer.
As quantum computing matures, it's going to bring unimaginable increases in computational power along with it — and the systems we use to protect our data (and our democratic processes) will become even more vulnerable. But there's still time to plan against the impending data apocalypse, says encryption expert Vikram Sharma. Learn more about how he's fighting quantum with quantum: designing security devices and programs that use the power of quantum physics to defend against the most sophisticated attacks.
Each year, the world loses enough food to feed half a billion people to fungi, the most destructive pathogens of plants. Mycologist and TED Fellow Mennat El Ghalid explains how a breakthrough in our understanding of the molecular signals fungi use to attack plants could disrupt this interaction — and save our crops.
In the US, your taxes fund academic research at public universities. Why then do you need to pay expensive, for-profit journals for the results of that research? Erica Stone advocates for a new, open-access relationship between the public and scholars, making the case that academics should publish in more accessible media. "A functioning democracy requires that the public be well-educated and well-informed," Stone says. "Instead of research happening behind paywalls and bureaucracy, wouldn't it be better if it was unfolding right in front of us?"
Ndidi Nwuneli has advice for Africans who believe in God — and Africans who don't. To the religious, she advises against using God to outsource responsibility for what happens in their lives. To the non-religious, she asks that they keep an open mind and work with faith-based organizations, especially on issues like health care and education. "There's so much potential that can be realized when we walk across the divide of faith and, hand in hand, try to solve many of our problems," Nwuneli says.
As a humanist, Leo Igwe doesn't believe in divine intervention — but he does believe in the power of human beings to alleviate suffering, cure disease, preserve the planet and turn situations of poverty into prosperity. In this bold talk, Igwe shares how humanism can free Africans from damaging superstitions and give them the power to rebuild the continent.
Four decades ago, Judith Heumann helped to lead a groundbreaking protest called the Section 504 sit-in — in which disabled-rights activists occupied a federal building for almost a month, demanding greater accessibility for all. In this personal, inspiring talk, Heumann tells the stories behind the protest — and reminds us that, 40 years on, there's still work left to do.
At 14, Christian Picciolini went from naïve teenager to white supremacist — and soon, the leader of the first neo-Nazi skinhead gang in the United States. How was he radicalized, and how did he ultimately get out of the movement? In this courageous talk, Picciolini shares the surprising and counterintuitive solution to hate in all forms.
How can we make AI that people actually want to interact with? Raphael Arar suggests we start by making art. He shares interactive projects that help AI explore complex ideas like nostalgia, intuition and conversation — all working towards the goal of making our future technology just as much human as it is artificial.
Irina Kareva translates biology into mathematics and vice versa. She writes mathematical models that describe the dynamics of cancer, with the goal of developing new drugs that target tumors. "The power and beauty of mathematical modeling lies in the fact that it makes you formalize, in a very rigorous way, what we think we know," Kareva says. "It can help guide us to where we should keep looking, and where there may be a dead end." It all comes down to asking the right question and translating it to the right equation, and back.
In 2009, journalist and screenwriter Drew Philp bought a ruined house in Detroit for $500. In the years that followed, as he gutted the interior and removed the heaps of garbage crowding the rooms, he didn't just learn how to repair a house — he learned how to build a community. In a tribute to the city he loves, Philp tells us about "radical neighborliness" and makes the case that we have "the power to create the world anew together and to do it ourselves when our governments refuse."
There's no such thing as throwing something away, says Andrew Dent — when you toss a used food container, broken toy or old pair of socks into the trash, those things inevitably end up in ever-growing landfills. But we can get smarter about the way we make, and remake, our products. Dent shares exciting examples of thrift — the idea of using and reusing what you need so you don't have to purchase anything new — as well as advances in material science, like electronics made of nanocellulose and enzymes that can help make plastic infinitely recyclable.
In this perspective-shifting talk, Danny Hillis prompts us to approach global issues like climate change with creative scientific solutions. Taking a stand for solar geoengineering, he looks at controversial solutions with open-minded curiosity.
In this talk-performance hybrid, drummer, percussionist and TED Fellow Kasiva Mutua shares how she's breaking the taboo against female drummers in Kenya — and her mission to teach the significance and importance of the drum to young boys, women and girls. "Women can be custodians of culture, too," Mutua says.
Still invisible and often an afterthought, indigenous peoples are uniting to protect the world's water, lands and history — while trying to heal from genocide and ongoing inequality. Tribal attorney and Couchiching First Nation citizen Tara Houska chronicles the history of attempts by government and industry to eradicate the legitimacy of indigenous peoples' land and culture, including the months-long standoff at Standing Rock which rallied thousands around the world. "It's incredible what you can do when you stand together," Houska says. "Stand with us — empathize, learn, grow, change the conversation."
After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017, chef José Andrés traveled to the devastated island with a simple idea: to feed the hungry. Millions of meals served later, Andrés shares the remarkable story of creating the world's biggest restaurant — and the awesome power of letting people in need know that somebody cares about them.
There are about 7,000 languages spoken around the world — and they all have different sounds, vocabularies and structures. But do they shape the way we think? Cognitive scientist Lera Boroditsky shares examples of language — from an Aboriginal community in Australia that uses cardinal directions instead of left and right to the multiple words for blue in Russian — that suggest the answer is a resounding yes. "The beauty of linguistic diversity is that it reveals to us just how ingenious and how flexible the human mind is," Boroditsky says. "Human minds have invented not one cognitive universe, but 7,000."
Malika Whitley is the founder of ChopArt, an organization for homeless teens focused on mentorship, dignity and opportunity through the arts. In this moving, personal talk, she shares her story of homelessness and finding her voice through arts — and her mission to provide a creative outlet for others who have been pushed to the margins of society.
In the early days of digital culture, Jaron Lanier helped craft a vision for the internet as public commons where humanity could share its knowledge — but even then, this vision was haunted by the dark side of how it could turn out: with personal devices that control our lives, monitor our data and feed us stimuli. (Sound familiar?) In this visionary talk, Lanier reflects on a "globally tragic, astoundingly ridiculous mistake" companies like Google and Facebook made at the foundation of digital culture — and how we can undo it. "We cannot have a society in which, if two people wish to communicate, the only way that can happen is if it's financed by a third person who wishes to manipulate them," he says.
On any given night, more than 450,000 people in the United States are locked up in jail simply because they don't have enough money to pay bail. The sums in question are often around $500: easy for some to pay, impossible for others. This has real human consequences — people lose jobs, homes and lives, and it drives racial disparities in the legal system. Robin Steinberg has a bold idea to change this. In this powerful talk, she outlines the plan for The Bail Project — an unprecedented national revolving bail fund to fight mass incarceration. (This ambitious plan is one of the first ideas of The Audacious Project, TED's new initiative to inspire global change.)
What will we find in the twilight zone: the vast, mysterious, virtually unexplored realm hundreds of meters below the ocean's surface? Heidi M. Sosik of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution wants to find out. In this wonder-filled talk, she shares her plan to investigate these uncharted waters, which may hold a million new species and 90 percent of the world's fish biomass, using submersible technology. What we discover there won't just astound us, Sosik says — it will help us be better stewards of the world's oceans. (This ambitious plan is one of the first ideas of The Audacious Project, TED's new initiative to inspire global change.)
Thousands of years ago, ancient Nubians drew pictures on tomb walls of a terrible disease that turns the eyelids inside out and causes blindness. This disease, trachoma, is still a scourge in many parts of the world today — but it's also completely preventable, says Caroline Harper. Armed with data from a global mapping project, Harper's organization Sightsavers has a plan: to focus on countries where funding gaps stand in the way of eliminating the disease and ramp up efforts where the need is most severe. Learn more about their goal of consigning trachoma to the history books — and how you can help. (This ambitious plan is one of the first ideas of The Audacious Project, TED's new initiative to inspire global change.)
When we talk about greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide gets the most attention — but methane, which often escapes unseen from pipes and wells, has a far greater immediate impact on global warming. Environmentalist Fred Krupp has an idea to fix the problem: launch a satellite that tracks global methane emissions, and openly share the data it collects with the public. Learn more about how simple fixes to cut down on this invisible pollutant can help us put the brakes on climate change. (This ambitious plan is one of the first ideas of The Audacious Project, TED's new initiative to inspire global change.)
In the ongoing debate over refugees, we hear from everyone — from politicians who pledge border controls to citizens who fear they'll lose their jobs — everyone, that is, except migrants themselves. Why are they coming? Journalist and TED Fellow Yasin Kakande explains what compelled him and many others to flee their homelands, urging a more open discussion and a new perspective. Because humanity's story, he reminds us, is a story of migration: "There are no restrictions that could ever be so rigorous to stop the wave of migration that has determined our human history," he says.
Unlike the solar cells you're used to seeing, organic photovoltaics are made of compounds that are dissolved in ink and can be printed and molded using simple techniques. The result is a low-weight, flexible, semi-transparent film that turns the energy of the sun into electricity. Hannah Bürckstümmer shows us how they're made — and how they could change the way we power the world.
Why do we still think that drug use is a law-enforcement issue? Making drugs illegal does nothing to stop people from using them, says public health expert Mark Tyndall. So, what might work? Tyndall shares community-based research that shows how harm-reduction strategies, like safe-injection sites, are working to address the drug overdose crisis.
Ocean expert Nancy Rabalais tracks the ominously named "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico — where there isn't enough oxygen in the water to support life. The Gulf has the second largest dead zone in the world; on top of killing fish and crustaceans, it's also killing fisheries in these waters. Rabalais tells us about what's causing it — and how we can reverse its harmful effects and restore one of America's natural treasures.
We get stronger, not weaker, by engaging with ideas and people we disagree with, says Zachary R. Wood. In an important talk about finding common ground, Wood makes the case that we can build empathy and gain understanding by engaging tactfully and thoughtfully with controversial ideas and unfamiliar perspectives. "Tuning out opposing viewpoints doesn't make them go away," Wood says. "To achieve progress in the face of adversity, we need a genuine commitment to gaining a deeper understanding of humanity."
Diane Wolk-Rogers teaches history at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, site of a horrific school shooting on Valentine's Day 2018. How can we end this senseless violence? In a stirring talk, Wolk-Rogers offers three ways Americans can move forward to create more safety and responsibility around guns — and invites people to come up with their own answers, too. Above all, she asks us to take a cue from the student activists at her school, survivors whose work for change has moved millions to action. "They shouldn't have to do this on their own," Wolk-Rogers says. "They're asking you to get involved."
What's up at SpaceX? Engineer Gwynne Shotwell was employee number seven at Elon Musk's pioneering aerospace company and is now its president. In conversation with TED curator Chris Anderson, she discusses SpaceX's race to put people into orbit and the organization's next big project, the BFR (ask her what it stands for). The new giant rocket is designed to take humanity to Mars — but it has another potential use: space travel for earthlings.
Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when the Rwandan Civil War forced her and her sister to flee their home in Kigali, leaving their parents and everything they knew behind. In this deeply personal talk, she tells the story of how she became a refugee, living in camps in seven countries over the next six years — and how she's tried to make sense of what came after.
By expanding boundaries, exploring possibilities and conveying truth, films have helped change Africa's reality (even before "Black Panther"). Dayo Ogunyemi invites us to imagine Africa's future through the lens of inspiring filmmakers from across the continent, showing us how they can inspire Africa to make a hundred-year leap.
The global collection of women's experiences can no longer be ignored, says actress and activist Tracee Ellis Ross. In a candid, fearless talk, she delivers invitations to a better future to both men and women.
When lawyer Sarah Donnelly was diagnosed with breast cancer, she turned to her friends and family for support — but she also found meaning, focus and stability in her work. In a personal talk about why and how she stayed on the job, she shares her insights on how workplaces can accommodate people going through major illnesses — because the benefits go both ways.
Qudus Onikeku and The QTribe summon a downpour with a poetic, powerful dance performance. Set to a composition of singing, drums and strings, the dancers radiate energy — moving in circles, in shapes and in unison as they consume the TED stage.
Digital creator Dylan Marron has racked up millions of views for projects like "Every Single Word" and "Sitting in Bathrooms With Trans People" — but he's found that the flip side of success online is internet hate. Over time, he's developed an unexpected coping mechanism: calling the people who leave him insensitive comments and asking a simple question: "Why did you write that?" In a thoughtful talk about how we interact online, Marron explains how sometimes the most subversive thing you can do is actually speak with people you disagree with, not simply at them.
Was 2017 really the "worst year ever," as some would have us believe? In his analysis of recent data on homicide, war, poverty, pollution and more, psychologist Steven Pinker finds that we're doing better now in every one of them when compared with 30 years ago. But progress isn't inevitable, and it doesn't mean everything gets better for everyone all the time, Pinker says. Instead, progress is problem-solving, and we should look at things like climate change and nuclear war as problems to be solved, not apocalypses in waiting. "We will never have a perfect world, and it would be dangerous to seek one," he says. "But there's no limit to the betterments we can attain if we continue to apply knowledge to enhance human flourishing."
If you want to build a team of innovative problem-solvers, you should value the humanities just as much as the sciences, says entrepreneur Eric Berridge. He shares why tech companies should look beyond STEM graduates for new hires — and how people with backgrounds in the arts and humanities can bring creativity and insight to technical workplaces.
Andrologist John Amory is developing innovative male contraception that gives men a new option for taking responsibility to prevent unintended pregnancy. He details the science in development — and why the world needs a male pill.
To make accountability the norm after gender violence in the United States, we need to change tactics, says victims' rights attorney and TED Fellow Laura L. Dunn. Instead of going institution by institution, fighting for reform, we need to go to the Constitution and finally pass the Equal Rights Amendment, which would require states to address gender inequality and violence. By ushering in sweeping change, Dunn says, "our legal system can become a system of justice, and #MeToo can finally become 'no more.'"
What good is a sophisticated piece of medical equipment to people in Africa if it can't handle the climate there? Biomedical engineer Tania Douglas shares stories of how we're often blinded to real needs in our pursuit of technology — and how a deeper understanding of the context where it's used can lead us to better solutions.
Blending traditional Yoruba culture with sharp modern songwriting, electro-soul duo (and twin sisters) Ibeyi play a transportive set of two songs: "Valé" and "River."
Trust is the foundation for everything we do. But what do we do when it's broken? In an eye-opening talk, Harvard Business School professor Frances Frei gives a crash course in trust: how to build it, maintain it and rebuild it — something she worked on during a recent stint at Uber. "If we can learn to trust one another more, we can have unprecedented human progress," Frei says.
Over the last year, Priya Vulchi and Winona Guo traveled to all 50 US states, collecting personal stories about race and intersectionality. Now they're on a mission to equip every American with the tools to understand, navigate and improve a world structured by racial division. In a dynamic talk, Vulchi and Guo pair the personal stories they've collected with research and statistics to reveal two fundamental gaps in our racial literacy — and how we can overcome them.
Frustrated by her lack of self-determination in the housing market, Sarah Murray created a computer game that allows home buyers to design a house and have it delivered to them in modular components that can be assembled on-site. Learn how her effort is putting would-be homeowners in control of the largest purchase of their lives — as well as cutting costs, protecting the environment and helping provide homes for those in need.
In this joyful, heartfelt talk featuring demos of her wonderfully wacky creations, Simone Giertz shares her craft: making useless robots. Her inventions — designed to chop vegetables, cut hair, apply lipstick and more — rarely (if ever) succeed, and that's the point. "The true beauty of making useless things [is] this acknowledgment that you don't always know what the best answer is," Giertz says. "It turns off that voice in your head that tells you that you know exactly how the world works. Maybe a toothbrush helmet isn't the answer, but at least you're asking the question."
LB Hannahs candidly shares the experience of parenting as a genderqueer individual — and what it can teach us about authenticity and advocacy. "Authenticity doesn't mean 'comfortable.' It means managing and negotiating the discomfort of everyday life," Hannahs says.
Self-styled wild woman and rebel singer Thandiswa Mazwai rocks the TED stage with an electrifying performance of two songs: "Iyeza" and "Zabalaza."
Sex educator Emily Nagoski breaks down one of the most dangerous myths about sex and introduces us to the science behind arousal nonconcordance: when there's a disconnect between physical response and the experience of pleasure and desire. Talking about such intimate, private moments can feel awkward or difficult, yet in this straightforward talk Nagoski urges all of us to share this crucial information with someone — judges, lawyers, partners, kids. "With every brave conversation we have, we make the world that little bit better," says Nagoski. (This talk contains mature content.)
What would a sustainable, universally beneficial economy look like? "Like a doughnut," says Oxford economist Kate Raworth. In a stellar, eye-opening talk, she explains how we can move countries out of the hole — where people are falling short on life's essentials — and create regenerative, distributive economies that work within the planet's ecological limits.
Local humanitarians are beacons of light in the darkness of war, says humanitarian aid entrepreneur and TED Fellow Rola Hallam. She's working to help responders on the ground in devastated communities like Syria, where the destruction of health care is being used as a weapon of war. One of her campaigns achieved a global first: a crowdfunded hospital. Since it opened in 2017, the aptly named Hope Hospital has treated thousands of children. "Local humanitarians have the courage to persist, to dust themselves off from the wreckage and to start again, risking their lives to save others," Hallam says. "We can match their courage by not looking away or turning our backs."
"You do not mess with something so fundamental, so precious, as science," says Kirsty Duncan, Canada's first Minister of Science. In a heartfelt, inspiring talk about pushing boundaries, she makes the case that researchers must be free to present uncomfortable truths and challenge the thinking of the day — and that we all have a duty to speak up when we see science being stifled or suppressed.
From rides to homes and beyond, we're sharing everything these days, with the help of digital tools. But as modern and high-tech as the sharing economy seems, it's been alive in Africa for centuries, according to author Robert Neuwirth. He shares fascinating examples — like apprenticeships that work like locally generated venture capital and systems for allocating scarce water — and says that if we can propagate and scale these models, they could help communities thrive from the bottom up.
TED Fellow Nighat Dad studies online harassment, especially as it relates to patriarchal cultures like the one in her small village in Pakistan. She tells the story of how she set up Pakistan's first cyber harassment helpline, offering support to women who face serious threats online. "Safe access to the internet is access to knowledge, and knowledge is freedom," she says. "When I fight for a woman's digital rights, I am fighting for equality."
Cellist and singer Helen Gillet mixes her classical training, New Orleans-based jazz roots and free improvisational skills to perform her own eclectic music. In a powerful, melodious performance, she plays her song "You Found Me."
In a profound talk about technology and power, author and historian Yuval Noah Harari explains the important difference between fascism and nationalism — and what the consolidation of our data means for the future of democracy. Appearing as a hologram live from Tel Aviv, Harari warns that the greatest danger that now faces liberal democracy is that the revolution in information technology will make dictatorships more efficient and capable of control. "The enemies of liberal democracy hack our feelings of fear and hate and vanity, and then use these feelings to polarize and destroy," Harari says. "It is the responsibility of all of us to get to know our weaknesses and make sure they don't become weapons." (Followed by a brief conversation with TED curator Chris Anderson)
Cherry blossoms and rainbows, bubbles and googly eyes: Why do some things seem to create such universal joy? In this captivating talk, Ingrid Fetell Lee reveals the surprisingly tangible roots of joy and shows how we all can find — and create — more of it in the world around us.
Michael Rain is on a mission to tell the stories of first-generation immigrants, who have strong ties both to the countries they grew up in and their countries of origin. In a personal talk, he breaks down the mischaracterizations and limited narratives of immigrants and shares the stories of the worlds they belong to. "We're walking melting pots of culture," Rain says. "If something in that pot smells new or different to you, don't turn up your nose. Ask us to share."
Research investigator Michael Hendryx studies mountaintop removal, an explosive type of surface coal mining used in Appalachia that comes with unexpected health hazards. In this data-packed talk, Hendryx presents his research and tells the story of the pushback he's received from the coal industry, advocating for the ethical obligation scientists have to speak the truth.
With her signature wit and wisdom, Emily Levine meets her ultimate challenge as a comedian/philosopher: she makes dying funny. In this personal talk, she takes us on her journey to make friends with reality — and peace with death. Life is an enormous gift, Levine says: "You enrich it as best you can, and then you give it back."
Business school professor Amy Edmondson studies "teaming," where people come together quickly (and often temporarily) to solve new, urgent or unusual problems. Recalling stories of teamwork on the fly, such as the incredible rescue of 33 miners trapped half a mile underground in Chile in 2010, Edmondson shares the elements needed to turn a group of strangers into a quick-thinking team that can nimbly respond to challenges.
Is there someone in your life dealing with anxiety, depression or thoughts of suicide — but is too ashamed to talk about it? Jeremy Forbes saw this happening around him, and now he's on a mission to teach people how to start a conversation about it. In this deeply personal talk, Forbes shares his approach to helping a group of traditionally silent men in his community open up about their struggles. "We can all be life preservers," he says.
Comic books and graphic novels belong in every teacher's toolkit, says cartoonist and educator Gene Luen Yang. Set against the backdrop of his own witty, colorful drawings, Yang explores the history of comics in American education — and reveals some unexpected insights about their potential for helping kids learn.
Children who live in rural areas can have a hard time getting to the doctor — much less to an audiologist's clinic for expensive, complex tests to check their hearing. The result for too many kids is hearing loss caused by ear infections and other curable or preventable problems. That's why ear surgeon and TED Fellow Susan Emmett is working with 15 communities in rural Alaska to create a simple, low-cost test that only requires a cell phone. Learn more about her work and how it could change the lives of children who don't have access to hearing care.
Working out of her garage, Anushka Naiknaware designed a sensor that tracks wound healing, becoming the youngest winner (at age 13) of the Google Science Fair. Her clever invention addresses the global challenge of chronic wounds, which don't heal properly due to preexisting conditions like diabetes and account for billions in medical costs worldwide. Join Naiknaware as she explains how her "smart bandage" works — and how she's sharing her story to inspire others to make a difference.
Humans will soon have new bodies that forever blur the line between the natural and synthetic worlds, says bionics designer Hugh Herr. In an unforgettable talk, he details "NeuroEmbodied Design," a methodology for creating cyborg function that he's developing at the MIT Media Lab, and shows us a future where we've augmented our bodies in a way that will redefine human potential — and, maybe, turn us into superheroes. "During the twilight years of this century, I believe humans will be unrecognizable in morphology and dynamics from what we are today," Herr says. "Humanity will take flight and soar."
Gardens are mirrors of our lives, says environmental artist tobacco brown, and we must cultivate them with care to harvest their full beauty. Drawing on her experience bringing natural public art installations to cities around the world, brown reveals what gardening can teach us about creating lives of compassion, connection and grace.
Can a bird that symbolizes death help the living catch criminals? In this informative and accessible talk, forensic anthropologist Lauren Pharr shows us how vultures impact crime scenes — and the assistance they can provide to detectives investigating murders. (This talk contains graphic images.)
What if we could use the cold darkness of outer space to cool buildings on earth? In this mind-blowing talk, physicist Aaswath Raman details the technology he's developing to harness "night-sky cooling" — a natural phenomenon where infrared light escapes earth and heads to space, carrying heat along with it — which could dramatically reduce the energy used by our cooling systems (and the pollution they cause). Learn more about how this approach could lead us towards a future where we intelligently tap into the energy of the universe.
Truth comes from the collision of different ideas, and theater plays an essential role in showing us that truth, says legendary artistic director Oskar Eustis. In this powerful talk, Eustis outlines his plan to reach (and listen to) people in places across the US where the theater, like many other institutions, has turned its back — like the deindustrialized Rust Belt. "Our job is to try to hold up a vision to America that shows not only who all of us are individually, but that welds us back into the commonality that we need to be," Eustis says. "That's what the theater is supposed to do."
Public libraries have always been about more than just books — and their mission of community support has taken on new urgency during the current opioid epidemic. After witnessing overdoses at her library in Philadelphia, Chera Kowalski learned how to administer naloxone, a drug that reverses the effects of narcotics, and she's put it to use to save patrons' lives. In this personal talk, she shares the day-to-day reality of life on the frontline of the opioid crisis and advocates for each of us to find new ways to keep our communities safe and healthy.
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.
If you think democracy is broken, here's an idea: let's replace politicians with randomly selected people. Author and activist Brett Hennig presents a compelling case for sortition democracy, or random selection of government officials — a system with roots in ancient Athens that taps into the wisdom of the crowd and entrusts ordinary people with making balanced decisions for the greater good of everyone. Sound crazy? Learn more about how it could work to create a world free of partisan politics.
Can technology make people safer from threats like violent extremism, censorship and persecution? In this illuminating talk, technologist Yasmin Green details programs pioneered at Jigsaw (a unit within Alphabet Inc., the collection of companies that also includes Google) to counter radicalization and online harassment — including a project that could give commenters real-time feedback about how their words might land, which has already increased spaces for dialogue. "If we ever thought that we could build an internet insulated from the dark side of humanity, we were wrong," Green says. "We have to throw our entire selves into building solutions that are as human as the problems they aim to solve."
What if we could save the fishing industry and protect the ocean at the same time? Marine ecologist Enric Sala shares his bold plan to safeguard the high seas — some of the last wild places on earth, which fall outside the jurisdiction of any single country — by creating a giant marine reserve that covers two-thirds of the world's ocean. By protecting the high seas, Sala believes we will restore the ecological, economic and social benefits of the ocean. "When we can align economic needs with conservation, miracles can happen," Sala says.
When facts are false, decisions are wrong, says editor and TED Fellow Olga Yurkova. To stop the spread of fake news, she and a group of journalists launched StopFake.org, which exposes biased or inaccurate reporting in order to rebuild the trust we've lost in our journalists, leaders and institutions. Learn more about the fight against misinformation as well as two critical ways we can ensure we're not reading (or sharing) fake news.
Our leaders and institutions are failing us, but it's not always because they're bad or unethical, says venture capitalist John Doerr — often, it's simply because they're leading us toward the wrong objectives. In this practical talk, Doerr shows us how we can get back on track with "Objectives and Key Results," or OKRs — a goal-setting system that's been employed by the likes of Google, Intel and Bono to set and execute on audacious goals. Learn more about how setting the right goals can mean the difference between success and failure — and how we can use OKRs to hold our leaders and ourselves accountable.
Dragonflies can catch prey with near perfect accuracy, the best among all predators. But how does something with so few neurons achieve such prowess? Our intrepid neuroscientists explore how a dragonfly unerringly locks onto its preys and captures it within milliseconds using just sensors and a fake fly.
Can you cram for a test while you sleep? Our intrepid neuroscientists attempt to enhance memory by running experiments on subjects while they sleep. You'll be surprised by the results.
Can the mind be manipulated to love a food we loathe? The evidence from fruit flies is compelling, and perhaps surprising. Our tag team of neuroscientists attempts to change a fly's preference for fruit over vegetables simply by shining a light on their brain.
Modern technology lets neuroscientists peer into the human brain, but can it also read minds? Armed with the device known as an electroencephalogram, or EEG, and some computing wizardry, our intrepid neuroscientists attempt to peer into a subject's thoughts.
What does the love song of a mosquito sound like? Find out as our intrepid neuroscientists explore the meaning of all that annoying buzzing in your ear.
Them's fighting words if you're an octopus, in that more than one octopus in a space often means a rumble. Our intrepid neuroscientists analyze aggression by observing the fighting behavior of two-spotted octopuses or, if you prefer, octopodes.
In her brutally honest, ironically funny and widely read meditation on death, "You May Want to Marry My Husband," the late author and filmmaker Amy Krouse Rosenthal gave her husband Jason very public permission to move on and find happiness. A year after her death, Jason offers candid insights on the often excruciating process of moving through and with loss — as well as some quiet wisdom for anyone else experiencing life-changing grief.
Many artificial intelligence researchers expect AI to outsmart humans at all tasks and jobs within decades, enabling a future where we're restricted only by the laws of physics, not the limits of our intelligence. MIT physicist and AI researcher Max Tegmark separates the real opportunities and threats from the myths, describing the concrete steps we should take today to ensure that AI ends up being the best — rather than worst — thing to ever happen to humanity.
Robots are designed for speed and precision — but their rigidity has often limited how they're used. In this illuminating talk, biomedical engineer Giada Gerboni shares the latest developments in "soft robotics," an emerging field that aims to create nimble machines that imitate nature, like a robotic octopus. Learn more about how these flexible structures could play a critical role in surgery, medicine and our daily lives.
In a poetic, personal talk, TED Fellow Katlego Kolanyane-Kesupile examines the connection between her modern queer lifestyle and her childhood upbringing in a rural village in Botswana. "In a time where being brown, queer, African and seen as worthy of space means being everything but rural, I fear that we're erasing the very struggles that got us to where we are now," she says. "Indigenizing my queerness means bridging the many exceptional parts of myself."
Did humans evolve from monkeys or from fish? In this enlightening talk, ichthyologist and TED Fellow Prosanta Chakrabarty dispels some hardwired myths about evolution, encouraging us to remember that we're a small part of a complex, four-billion-year process — and not the end of the line. "We're not the goal of evolution," Chakrabarty says. "Think of us all as young leaves on this ancient and gigantic tree of life — connected by invisible branches not just to each other, but to our extinct relatives and our evolutionary ancestors."
When Gastón Acurio started his now world-famous restaurant Astrid & Gastón in the 1990s, no one suspected that he would elevate the Peruvian home-cooking he grew up with to haute cuisine. Nearly thirty years and a storied career later, the chef wants the rest of us to embrace our culinary roots and transform the world with the meals we prepare each day. (In Spanish with English subtitles)
In this fascinating look at the "alpha male," primatologist Frans de Waal explores the privileges and costs of power while drawing surprising parallels between how humans and primates choose their leaders. His research reveals some of the unexpected capacities of alpha males — generosity, empathy, even peacekeeping — and sheds light on the power struggles of human politicians. "Someone who is big and strong and intimidates and insults everyone is not necessarily an alpha male," de Waal says.
What happens when technology knows more about us than we do? Poppy Crum studies how we express emotions — and she suggests the end of the poker face is near, as new tech makes it easy to see the signals that give away how we're feeling. In a talk and demo, she shows how "empathetic technology" can read physical signals like body temperature and the chemical composition of our breath to inform on our emotional state. For better or for worse. "If we recognize the power of becoming technological empaths, we get this opportunity where technology can help us bridge the emotional and cognitive divide," Crum says.
The global refugee crisis is a mental health catastrophe, leaving millions in need of psychological support to overcome the traumas of dislocation and conflict. To undo the damage, child psychiatrist and TED Fellow Essam Daod has been working in camps, rescue boats and the shorelines of Greece and the Mediterranean Sea to help refugees (a quarter of which are children) reframe their experiences through short, powerful psychological interventions. "We can all do something to prevent this mental health catastrophe," Daod says. "We need to acknowledge that first aid is not just needed for the body, but it has also to include the mind, the soul."
Netflix changed the world of entertainment — first with DVD-by-mail, then with streaming media and then again with sensational original shows like "Orange Is the New Black" and "Stranger Things" — but not without taking its fair share of risks. In conversation with TED curator Chris Anderson, Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings discusses the company's bold internal culture, the powerful algorithm that fuels their recommendations, the $8 billion worth of content they're investing in this year and his philanthropic pursuits supporting innovative education, among much more.
What can we learn from the slimy, smelly side of life? In this playful talk, science journalist Anna Rothschild shows us the hidden wisdom of "gross stuff" and explains why avoiding the creepy underbelly of nature, medicine and technology closes us off to important sources of knowledge about our health and the world. "When we explore the gross side of life, we find insights that we never would have thought we'd find, and we even often reveal beauty that we didn't think was there," Rothschild says.
Writer and artist James Bridle uncovers a dark, strange corner of the internet, where unknown people or groups on YouTube hack the brains of young children in return for advertising revenue. From "surprise egg" reveals and the "Finger Family Song" to algorithmically created mashups of familiar cartoon characters in violent situations, these videos exploit and terrify young minds — and they tell us something about where our increasingly data-driven world is headed. "We need to stop thinking about technology as a solution to all of our problems, but think of it as a guide to what those problems actually are, so we can start thinking about them properly and start to address them," Bridle says.
There's a creeping sameness in many of our newest urban buildings and streetscapes, says architect Vishaan Chakrabarti. And this physical homogeneity — the result of regulations, mass production, safety issues and cost considerations, among other factors — has blanketed our planet in a social and psychological homogeneity, too. In this visionary talk, Chakrabarti calls for a return to designing magnetic, lyrical cities that embody their local cultures and adapt to the needs of our changing world and climate.
Multidisciplinary artist and TED Fellow Paul Rucker is unstitching the legacy of systemic racism in the United States. A collector of artifacts connected to the history of slavery — from branding irons and shackles to postcards depicting lynchings — Rucker couldn't find an undamaged Ku Klux Klan robe for his collection, so he began making his own. The result: striking garments in non-traditional fabrics like kente cloth, camouflage and silk that confront the normalization of systemic racism in the US. "If we as a people collectively look at these objects and realize that they are part of our history, we can find a way to where they have no more power over us," Rucker says. (This talk contains graphic images.)
Bridges need to be functional, safe and durable, but they should also be elegant and beautiful, says structural engineer Ian Firth. In this mesmerizing tour of bridges old and new, Firth explores the potential for innovation and variety in this essential structure — and how spectacular ones reveal our connectivity, unleash our creativity and hint at our identity.
In October 2017, astrobiologist Karen J. Meech got the call every astronomer waits for: NASA had spotted the very first visitor from another star system. The interstellar comet — a half-mile-long object eventually named `Oumuamua, from the Hawaiian for "scout" or "messenger" — raised intriguing questions: Was it a chunk of rocky debris from a new star system, shredded material from a supernova explosion, evidence of alien technology or something else altogether? In this riveting talk, Meech tells the story of how her team raced against the clock to find answers about this unexpected gift from afar.
The United States accounts for five percent of the world's population but consumes almost 70 percent of the total global opioid supply, creating an epidemic that has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths each year. How did we get here, and what can we do about it? In this personal talk, Travis Rieder recounts the painful, often-hidden struggle of opioid withdrawal and reveals how doctors who are quick to prescribe (and overprescribe) opioids aren't equipped with the tools to eventually get people off the meds.
Flight is about to get a lot more personal, says aviation entrepreneur Rodin Lyasoff. In this visionary talk, he imagines a new golden age of air travel in which small, autonomous air taxis allow us to bypass traffic jams and fundamentally transform how we get around our cities and towns. "In the past century, flight connected our planet," Lyasoff says. "In the next, it will reconnect our local communities."
Oceanographer Penny Chisholm introduces us to an amazing little being: Prochlorococcus, the most abundant photosynthetic species on the planet. A marine microbe that has existed for millions of years, Prochlorococcus wasn't discovered until the mid-1980s — but its ancient genetic code may hold clues to how we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
Why do juveniles falsely confess to crimes? What makes them more vulnerable than adults to this shocking, counterintuitive phenomenon? Through the lens of Brendan Dassey's interrogation and confession (as featured in Netflix's "Making a Murderer" documentary), developmental psychology professor and researcher Lindsay Malloy breaks down the science underlying false confessions and calls for change in the way kids are treated by a legal system designed for adults.
Navigating territorial hippos and active minefields, TED Fellow Steve Boyes and a team of scientists have been traveling through the Okavango Delta, Africa's largest remaining wetland wilderness, to explore and protect this near-pristine habitat against the rising threat of development. In this awe-inspiring talk packed with images, he shares his work doing detailed scientific surveys in the hopes of protecting this enormous, fragile wilderness.
Why do juveniles falsely confess to crimes? What makes them more vulnerable than adults to this shocking, counterintuitive phenomenon? Through the lens of Brendan Dassey's interrogation and confession (as featured in Netflix's "Making a Murderer" documentary), developmental psychology professor and researcher Lindsay Malloy breaks down the science underlying false confessions and calls for change in the way kids are treated by a legal system designed for adults.
Navigating territorial hippos and active minefields, TED Fellow Steve Boyes and a team of scientists have been traveling through the Okavango Delta, Africa's largest remaining wetland wilderness, to explore and protect this near-pristine habitat against the rising threat of development. In this awe-inspiring talk packed with images, he shares his work doing detailed scientific surveys in the hopes of protecting this enormous, fragile wilderness.
Our planet has a carbon problem — if we don't start removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, we'll grow hotter, faster. Chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox previews some amazing technology to scrub carbon from the air, using chemical reactions that capture and reuse CO2 in much the same way trees do ... but at a vast scale. This detailed talk reviews both the promise and the pitfalls.
Jakob Magolan is here to change your perception of organic chemistry. In an accessible talk packed with striking graphics, he teaches us the basics while breaking the stereotype that organic chemistry is something to be afraid of.
The Chinese internet has grown at a staggering pace — it now has more users than the combined populations of the US, UK, Russia, Germany, France and Canada. Even with its imperfections, the lives of once-forgotten populations have been irrevocably elevated because of it, says South China Morning Post CEO Gary Liu. In a fascinating talk, Liu details how the tech industry in China has developed — from the innovative, like AI-optimized train travel, to the dystopian, like a social credit rating that both rewards and restricts citizens.
Africa's youth is coming of age rapidly, but job growth on the continent isn't keeping up. The result: financial insecurity and, in some cases, a turn towards insurgent groups. In a passionate talk, agricultural entrepreneur Kola Masha details his plan to bring leadership and investment to small farmers in Africa — and employ a rising generation.
There are about a hundred trillion microbes living inside your gut — protecting you from infection, aiding digestion and regulating your immune system. As our bodies have adapted to life in modern society, we've started to lose some of our normal microbes; at the same time, diseases linked to a loss of diversity in microbiome are skyrocketing in developed nations. Computational microbiologist Dan Knights shares some intriguing discoveries about the differences in the microbiomes of people in developing countries compared to the US, and how they might affect our health. Learn more about the world of microbes living inside you — and the work being done to create tools to restore and replenish them.
Biologist Dan Gibson edits and programs DNA, just like coders program a computer. But his "code" creates life, giving scientists the power to convert digital information into biological material like proteins and vaccines. Now he's on to a new project: "biological transportation," which holds the promise of beaming new medicines across the globe over the internet. Learn more about how this technology could change the way we respond to disease outbreaks and enable us to download personalized prescriptions in our homes.
At MIT, Dina Katabi and her team are working on a bold new way to monitor patients' vital signs in a hospital (or even at home), without wearables or bulky, beeping devices. Bonus: it can see through walls. In a mind-blowing talk and demo, Katabi previews a system that captures the reflections of signals like Wi-Fi as they bounce off people, creating a reliable record of vitals for healthcare workers and patients. And in a brief Q&A with TED curator Helen Walters, Katabi discusses safeguards being put in place to prevent people from using this tech to monitor somebody without their consent.
Millions of baby boomers are moving into their senior years with empty pockets and declining choices to earn a living. And right behind them is a younger generation facing the same challenges. In this deeply personal talk, author Elizabeth White opens up an honest conversation about financial trouble and offers practical advice for how to live a richly textured life on a limited income.
In a stirring, emotional performance, violinist Lili Haydn plays a selection from her musical "The Last Serenade."
Legendary architect Renzo Piano — the mind behind such indelible buildings as The Shard in London, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the new Whitney Museum of Art in New York City — takes us on a stunning tour through his life's work. With the aid of gorgeous imagery, Piano makes an eloquent case for architecture as the answer to our dreams, aspirations and desire for beauty. "Universal beauty is one of the few things that can change the world," he says. "This beauty will save the world. One person at a time, but it will do it."
What if you could search the surface of the Earth the same way you search the internet? Will Marshall and his team at Planet use the world's largest fleet of satellites to image the entire Earth every day. Now they're moving on to a new project: using AI to index all the objects on the planet over time — which could make ships, trees, houses and everything else on Earth searchable, the same way you search Google. He shares a vision for how this database can become a living record of the immense physical changes happening across the globe. "You can't fix what you can't see," Marshall says. "We want to give people the tools to see change and take action."
Rebeca Hwang has spent a lifetime juggling identities — Korean heritage, Argentinian upbringing, education in the United States — and for a long time she had difficulty finding a place in the world to call home. Yet along with these challenges came a pivotal realization: that a diverse background is a distinct advantage in today's globalized world. In this personal talk, Hwang reveals the endless benefits of embracing our complex identities — and shares her hopes for creating a world where identities aren't used to alienate but to bring people together instead.
Once your smart devices can talk to you, who else are they talking to? Kashmir Hill and Surya Mattu wanted to find out — so they outfitted Hill's apartment with 18 different internet-connected devices and built a special router to track how often they contacted their servers and see what they were reporting back. The results were surprising — and more than a little bit creepy. Learn more about what the data from your smart devices reveals about your sleep schedule, TV binges and even your tooth-brushing habits — and how tech companies could use it to target and profile you. (This talk contains mature language.)
After fleeing war-torn South Sudan as a child, Mary Maker found security and hope in the school at Kenya's Kakuma Refugee Camp. Now a teacher of young refugees herself, she sees education as an essential tool for rebuilding lives — and empowering a generation of girls who are too often denied entrance into the classroom. "For the child of war, an education can turn their tears of loss into a passion for peace," Maker says.
Halima Aden made history when she became the first hijab-wearing model on the cover of Vogue magazine. Now she returns to Kenya's Kakuma Refugee Camp — where she was born and lived until the age of seven — to share an inspiring message about what she's learned on the path from child refugee to international model.
History is written by the victors, as the saying goes — but what would it look like if it was written by everyone? Journalist and TED Fellow Mikhail Zygar is on a mission to show us with Project1917, a "social network for dead people" that posts the real diaries and letters of more than 3,000 people who lived during the Russian Revolution. By showing the daily thoughts of the likes of Lenin, Trotsky and many less celebrated figures, the project sheds new light on history as it once was — and as it could have been. Learn more about this digital retelling of the past as well as Zygar's latest project about the transformative year of 1968.
The universe is incredibly old, astoundingly vast and populated by trillions of planets — so where are all the aliens? Astronomer Stephen Webb has an explanation: we're alone in the universe. In a mind-expanding talk, he spells out the remarkable barriers a planet would need to clear in order to host an extraterrestrial civilization — and makes a case for the beauty of our potential cosmic loneliness. "The silence of the universe is shouting, 'We're the creatures who got lucky,'" Webb says.
Acoustic duo Anielle Reid and Matthew Brookshire (playing together as Boy Girl Banjo) take the TED stage to perform their original song "Dead Romance," weaving together the sounds of Americana folk music and modern pop.
It's time to invest in face-to-face training that empowers employees to have difficult conversations, says Tamekia MizLadi Smith. In a witty, provocative talk, Smith shares a workplace training program called "I'm G.R.A.C.E.D." that will inspire bosses and employees alike to communicate with compassion and respect. Bottom line: always let people know why their work matters.
More than 90 percent of children in the US see a doctor at least once a year, which means countless hours spent in waiting rooms for parents. What if those hours could be used for something productive — like saving money? Through her organization StreetCred, pediatrician and TED Fellow Lucy Marcil is offering free tax prep to parents right in the waiting room, reimagining what a doctor's visit can look like and helping to lift families out of poverty. Learn more about how free tax prep and guidance could be the best poverty prescription we have in the US.
Today's AI algorithms require tens of thousands of expensive medical images to detect a patient's disease. What if we could drastically reduce the amount of data needed to train an AI, making diagnoses low-cost and more effective? TED Fellow Pratik Shah is working on a clever system to do just that. Using an unorthodox AI approach, Shah has developed a technology that requires as few as 50 images to develop a working algorithm — and can even use photos taken on doctors' cell phones to provide a diagnosis. Learn more about how this new way to analyze medical information could lead to earlier detection of life-threatening illnesses and bring AI-assisted diagnosis to more health care settings worldwide.
Let's face it, online dating can suck. So many potential people, so much time wasted — is it even worth it? Podcaster and entrepreneur Christina Wallace thinks so, if you do it right. In a funny, practical talk, Wallace shares how she used her MBA skill set to invent a "zero date" approach and get off swipe-based apps — and how you can, too.
Do you think you're good at spotting fake videos, where famous people say things they've never said in real life? See how they're made in this astonishing talk and tech demo. Computer scientist Supasorn Suwajanakorn shows how, as a grad student, he used AI and 3D modeling to create photorealistic fake videos of people synced to audio. Learn more about both the ethical implications and the creative possibilities of this tech — and the steps being taken to fight against its misuse.
Tobacco causes more than seven million deaths every year — and many of us are far more complicit in the problem than we realize. In a bold talk, oncologist Dr. Bronwyn King tells the story of how she uncovered the deep ties between the tobacco industry and the entire global finance sector, which invests our money in cigarette companies through big banks, insurers and pension funds. Learn how Dr. King has ignited a worldwide movement to create tobacco-free investments and how each of us can play a role in ending this epidemic.
Without realizing it, we're fluent in the language of pictures, says illustrator Christoph Niemann. In a charming talk packed with witty, whimsical drawings, Niemann takes us on a hilarious visual tour that shows how artists tap into our emotions and minds — all without words.
AI is massively transforming our world, but there's one thing it cannot do: love. In a visionary talk, computer scientist Kai-Fu Lee details how the US and China are driving a deep learning revolution — and shares a blueprint for how humans can thrive in the age of AI by harnessing compassion and creativity. "AI is serendipity," Lee says. "It is here to liberate us from routine jobs, and it is here to remind us what it is that makes us human."
Luck is rarely a lightning strike, isolated and dramatic — it's much more like the wind, blowing constantly. Catching more of it is easy but not obvious. In this insightful talk, Stanford engineering school professor Tina Seelig shares three unexpected ways to increase your luck — and your ability to see and seize opportunities.
In Agbogbloshie, a community in Accra, Ghana, people descend on a scrapyard to mine electronic waste for recyclable materials. Without formal training, these urban miners often teach themselves the workings of electronics by taking them apart and putting them together again. Designer and TED Fellow DK Osseo-Asare wondered: What would happen if we connected these self-taught techies with students and young professionals in STEAM fields? The result: a growing maker community where people engage in peer-to-peer, hands-on education, motivated by what they want to create. Learn more about how this African makerspace is pioneering a grassroots circular economy.
When cancer cells are closely packed together in a tumor, they're able to communicate with each other and coordinate their movement throughout the body. What if we could interrupt this process? In this accessible talk about cutting-edge science, Hasini Jayatilaka shares her work on an innovative method to stop cancer cells from communicating — and halt their fatal ability to spread.
Can public spaces both reclaim the past and embrace the future? Landscape architect Walter Hood has explored this question over the course of an iconic career, with projects ranging from Lafayette Square Park in San Francisco to the upcoming International African American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina. In this inspiring talk packed with images of his work, Hood shares the five simple concepts that guide his approach to creating spaces that illuminate shared memories and force us to look at one another in a different way.
Yelle and GrandMarnier bring their danceable electropop hits to the TED stage in an energizing performance of two songs, "Interpassion" and "Ba$$in."
When bankers refused to serve her neighbors in rural India, Chetna Gala Sinha did the next best thing: she opened a bank of her own, the first ever for and by women in the country. In this inspiring talk, she shares stories of the women who encouraged her and continue to push her to come up with solutions for those denied traditional financial backing.
What do communities on the social, economic and environmental margins have in common? For one thing, they tend to be on the east sides of cities. In this short talk about a surprising insight, anthropologist and venture capitalist Stephen DeBerry explains how both environmental and man-made factors have led to disparity by design in cities from East Palo Alto, California to East Jerusalem and beyond — and suggests some elegant solutions to fix it.
In this eye-opening talk about the impact of race and neighborhood on foster-care decisions, social worker Jessica Pryce shares a promising solution to help child welfare agencies make bias-free assessments about when to remove children from their families. "Let's work together to build a system that wants to make families stronger instead of pulling them apart," Pryce says.
Imagine a workplace where people of all colors and races are able to climb every rung of the corporate ladder — and where the lessons we learn about diversity at work actually transform the things we do, think and say outside the office. How do we get there? In this candid talk, inclusion advocate Janet Stovall shares a three-part action plan for creating workplaces where people feel safe and expected to be their unassimilated, authentic selves.
We celebrate bold entrepreneurs whose ingenuity led them to success, but what happens to those who fail? Far too often, they bury their stories out of shame or humiliation — and miss out on a valuable opportunity for growth, says author and entrepreneur Leticia Gasca. In this thoughtful talk, Gasca calls for business owners to open up about their failures and makes the case for replacing the idea of "failing fast" with a new mantra: fail mindfully.
In a series of mind-bending demos, inventor Mary Lou Jepsen shows how we can use red light to see and potentially stimulate what's inside our bodies and brains. Taking us to the edge of optical physics, Jepsen unveils new technologies that utilize light and sound to track tumors, measure neural activity and could possibly replace the MRI machine with a cheaper, more efficient and wearable system.
In this quick talk, visual artist Dread Scott tells the story of one of his most transgressive art installations, which drew national attention for its controversial use of the American flag and led to a landmark First Amendment case in the US Supreme Court.
Craft curator Nora Atkinson takes us on a trip to Nevada's Black Rock Desert to see the beautifully designed and participatory art of Burning Man, revealing how she discovered there what's often missing from museums: curiosity and engagement. "What is art for in our contemporary world if not this?" she asks.
What's it like to discover a galaxy — and have it named after you? Astrophysicist and TED Fellow Burçin Mutlu-Pakdil lets us know in this quick talk about her team's surprising discovery of a mysterious new galaxy type.
China is the world's biggest polluter — and now one of its largest producers of clean energy. Which way will China go in the future, and how will it affect the global environment? Data scientist Angel Hsu describes how the most populous country on earth is creating a future based on alternative energy — and facing up to the environmental catastrophe it created as it rapidly industrialized.
When a baby is born, so is a mother — but the natural (and sometimes unsteady) process of transition to motherhood is often silenced by shame or misdiagnosed as postpartum depression. In this quick, informative talk, reproductive psychiatrist Alexandra Sacks breaks down the emotional tug-of-war of becoming a new mother — and shares a term that could help describe it: matrescence.
With lightning on her tongue, Sunni Patterson performs her powerful poem, "Wild Women," accompanied by the entrancing moves of dancer Chanice Holmes.
Struggling to budget and manage finances is common — but talking honestly and openly about it isn't. Why do we hide our problems around money? In this thoughtful, personal talk, author Tammy Lally encourages us to break free of "money shame" and shows us how to stop equating our bank accounts with our self-worth.
Geneticist Steve McCarroll wants to make an atlas of all the cells in the human body so that we can understand in precise detail how specific genes work, especially in the brain. In this fascinating talk, he shares his team's progress — including their invention of "Drop-seq," a technology that allows scientists to analyze individual cells at a scale that was never before possible — and describes how this research could lead to new ways of treating mental illnesses like schizophrenia.
Here's a fact: Not a single American working full-time for minimum wage can afford to buy a one-bedroom home. For many, mobile homes offer a way to break into homeownership. But owning a mobile home is risky, because these communities are virtually invisible and have few rights. Sociologist Esther Sullivan lists the reasons why mobile homeownership is so insecure, and discusses ways to preserve one of America's best options for affordable housing.
Sex buying doesn't just happen late at night on street corners in the shady part of town — it also happens online, in the middle of the workday, using company equipment and resources. With this problem comes an opportunity, says attorney Nikki Clifton, because it means that the business community is in a unique position to educate and mobilize their employees to fight sex trafficking. In an honest talk, Clifton outlines how businesses can help, from setting clear policies to hiring survivors.
When faced with life's toughest circumstances, how should we respond: as an optimist, a realist or something else? In an unforgettable talk, explorer Mark Pollock and human rights lawyer Simone George explore the tension between acceptance and hope in times of grief — and share the groundbreaking work they're undertaking to cure paralysis.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.