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.
As a fire chief and first responder, Jan Rader has spent her career saving lives. But when the opioid epidemic hit her town, she realized they needed to take a brand-new approach to life-saving. In this powerful, hopeful talk, Rader shows what it's like on the front lines of this crisis — and how her community is taking an unusual new approach to treating substance-abuse disorder that starts with listening.
Companies are counting on their future leaders to manage with more speed, flexibility and trust than ever before. But how can middle managers climb the corporate ladder while also challenging the way things have always been done? Leadership expert Elizabeth Lyle offers a new approach to breaking the rules while you're on your way up, sharing creative ways organizations can give middle managers the space and coaching they need to start leading differently.
Want to learn a new language but feel daunted or unsure where to begin? You don't need some special talent or a "language gene," says Lýdia Machová. In an upbeat, inspiring talk, she reveals the secrets of polyglots (people who speak multiple languages) and shares four principles to help unlock your own hidden language talent — and have fun while doing it.
Paula Stone Williams knew from a young age that she was transgender. But as she became a parent and prominent evangelical pastor, she feared that coming out would mean losing everything. In this moving, deeply personal talk, Paula and her son Jonathan Williams share what Paula's transition meant for their family — and reflect on their path to redemption. As Jonathan says: "I cannot ask my father to be anything other than her true self."
What does it take to build the fast, flexible, creative teams needed to challenge entrenched work culture? For transformation expert Martin Danoesastro, it all starts with one question: "What are you willing to give up?" He shares lessons learned from companies on both sides of the innovation wave on how to structure your organization so that people at all levels are empowered to make decisions fast and respond to change.
India has the second largest population of any country in the world — yet it has only 50 decent bookstores, says publisher Chiki Sarkar. So she asked herself: How do we get more people reading books? Find out how Sarkar is tapping into India's smartphone revolution to create a new generation of readers and writers in this fun talk about a fresh kind of storytelling.
Electric cars are extremely quiet, offering some welcome silence in our cities. But they also bring new dangers, since they can easily sneak up on unsuspecting pedestrians. What kind of sounds should they make to keep people safe? Get a preview of what the future may sound like as acoustic engineer and musician Renzo Vitale shows how he's composing a voice for electric cars.
How exactly does gender work? It's not just about our chromosomes, says biologist Karissa Sanbonmatsu. In a visionary talk, she shares new discoveries from epigenetics, the emerging study of how DNA activity can permanently change based on social factors like trauma or diet. Learn how life experiences shape the way genes are expressed — and what that means for our understanding of gender.
A quantum computer isn't just a more powerful version of the computers we use today; it's something else entirely, based on emerging scientific understanding — and more than a bit of uncertainty. Enter the quantum wonderland with TED Fellow Shohini Ghose and learn how this technology holds the potential to transform medicine, create unbreakable encryption and even teleport information.
Artist Tony Luciani was testing out a new camera when his 93-year-old mother, Elia, snuck into the background of his photos. The spontaneous images that resulted sparked a years-long collaboration, with Luciani documenting his mom's life and spirit as she lived with dementia. In this touching talk, he shares the stories behind some of their favorite shots, capturing the joy and grief of caring for an aging parent.
Choosing to marry and share your life with someone is one of the most important decisions you can make in life. But with divorce rates approaching fifty percent in some parts of the world, it's clear we could use some help picking a partner. In an actionable, eye-opening talk, psychiatrist George Blair-West shares three keys to preventing divorce — and spotting potential problems while you're still dating.
Around the world, black girls are being pushed out of schools because of policies that target them for punishment, says author and social justice scholar Monique W. Morris. The result: countless girls are forced into unsafe futures with restricted opportunities. How can we put an end to this crisis? In an impassioned talk, Morris uncovers the causes of "pushout" and shows how we can work to turn all schools into spaces where black girls can heal and thrive.
If we really want to address climate change, we need to make gender equity a reality, says writer and environmentalist Katharine Wilkinson. As part of Project Drawdown, Wilkinson has helped scour humanity's wisdom for solutions to draw down heat-trapping, climate-changing emissions: obvious things like renewable energy and sustainable diets and not so obvious ones, like the education and empowerment of women. In this informative, bold talk, she shares three key ways that equity for women and girls can help stop global warming. "Drawing down emissions depends on rising up," Wilkinson says.
The way we're taught to live has got to change, says author Casey Gerald. Too often, we hide parts of ourselves in order to fit in, win praise, be accepted. But at what cost? In this inspiring talk, Gerald shares the personal sacrifices he made to attain success in the upper echelons of American society — and shows why it's time for us to have the courage to live in the raw, strange magic of ourselves.
You probably know the common symptoms of a heart attack: chest and arm pain, shortness of breath and fatigue. But there's another kind that's just as deadly and harder to detect because the symptoms are silent. In this quick talk, 17-year-old inventor Akash Manoj shares the device he's developed to stop this silent killer: a noninvasive, inexpensive, wearable patch that alerts patients during a critical moment that could mean the difference between life and death.
Singing in Spanish, Portuguese and English, LADAMA brings a vibrant, energizing and utterly danceable musical set to the TED stage. In between performances of their songs "Night Traveler" and "Porro Maracatu," they discuss how cross-cultural musical collaboration can empower communities.
From London to Tokyo, climate change is causing cities to sink — and our modern concrete infrastructure is making us even more vulnerable to severe flooding, says landscape architect and TED Fellow Kotchakorn Voraakhom. But what if we could design cities to help fight floods? In this inspiring talk, Voraakhom shows how she developed a massive park in Bangkok that can hold a million gallons of rainwater, calling for more climate change solutions that connect cities back to nature.
The American election system is complicated, to say the least — but voting is one of the most tangible ways that each of us can shape our communities. How can we make the system more modern, inclusive and secure? Civic engagement champion Tiana Epps-Johnson shares what's needed to bring voting in the US into the 21st century — and to get every person to the polls.
What if we could harness the sticking powers of sea creatures like mussels, oysters and barnacles, which refuse to budge even on wet, stormy coastlines? Dive into the wonderful world of animals that make their own glue and cement with scientist Jonathan Wilker — and preview some of the amazing things we can learn from how they do it.
What would it take to reimagine the limits of architecture? Débora Mesa Molina offers some answers in this breathtaking, visual tour of her work, showing how structures can be made with overlooked materials and unconventional methods — or even extracted from the guts of the earth. "The world around us is an infinite source of inspiration if we are curious enough to see beneath the surface of things," she says.
Singing in French and English, Mai Lan brings her cool charisma to the TED stage in a performance of her songs "Autopilote" and "Pumper."
What can we learn from the world's most enduringly creative people? They "slow-motion multitask," actively juggling multiple projects and moving between topics as the mood strikes — without feeling hurried. Author Tim Harford shares how innovators like Einstein, Darwin, Twyla Tharp and Michael Crichton found their inspiration and productivity through cross-training their minds.
Anger is a powerful emotion — it warns us of threat, insult, indignity and harm. But across the world, girls and women are taught that their anger is better left unvoiced, says author Soraya Chemaly. Why is that, and what might we lose in this silence? In a provocative, thoughtful talk, Chemaly explores the dangerous lie that anger isn't feminine, showing how women's rage is justified, healthy and a potential catalyst for change.
The Montreal Protocol proved that the world could come together and take action on climate change. Thirty years after the world's most successful environmental treaty was signed, atmospheric scientist Sean Davis examines the world we avoided when we banned chlorofluorocarbons — and shares lessons we can carry forward to address the climate crisis in our time.
What does it take to build a national movement? In a captivating conversation with TEDWomen curator Pat Mitchell, Marian Wright Edelman reflects on her path to founding the Children's Defense Fund in 1973 — from the early influence of growing up in the segregated American South to her activism with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — and shares how growing older has only made her more radical.
In this passionate call to action, 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg explains why, in August 2018, she walked out of school and organized a strike to raise awareness of global warming, protesting outside the Swedish parliament and grabbing the world's attention. "The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions," Thunberg says. "All we have to do is to wake up and change."
Did you know that almost 150 million people worldwide are born intersex — with biology that doesn't fit the standard definition of male or female? (That's as many as the population of Russia.) At age 10, Emily Quinn found out she was intersex, and in this wise, funny talk, she shares eye-opening lessons from a life spent navigating society's thoughtless expectations, doctors who demanded she get unnecessary surgery — and advocating for herself and the incredible variety that humans come in. (Contains mature content)
What job is best for a young man who's been a tennis ace, a cross-country traveler, a chemistry nerd and an NFL draftee? How about ... astronaut? Leland Melvin tells the story of the challenges he's accepted and the opportunities he's seized — and how they led him to the International Space Station and a whole new perspective of life on earth. (Contains mature content)
"Where does it hurt?" It's a question that activist and educator Ruby Sales has traveled the US asking, looking deeply at the country's legacy of racism and searching for sources of healing. In this moving talk, she shares what she's learned, reflecting on her time as a freedom fighter in the civil rights movement and offering new thinking on pathways to racial justice.
The path to skill around the globe has been the same for thousands of years: train under an expert and take on small, easy tasks before progressing to riskier, harder ones. But right now, we're handling AI in a way that blocks that path — and sacrificing learning in our quest for productivity, says organizational ethnographer Matt Beane. What can be done? Beane shares a vision that flips the current story into one of distributed, machine-enhanced mentorship that takes full advantage of AI's amazing capabilities while enhancing our skills at the same time.
Is women's sexuality more complicated than men's? Well, not really, no, says author Sarah Barmak. In this frank, eye-opening talk, she shows how a flawed understanding of the female body has shaped this discussion for centuries. She debunks some age-old myths (you're welcome) and offers a richer definition of pleasure that gets closer to the simple truth about women's sexuality.
There are three billion working people on this planet, and only 40 percent of them report being happy at work. Michael C. Bush shares his insights into what makes workers unhappy — and how companies can benefit their bottom lines by fostering satisfaction.
We all want to save more money — but overall, people today are doing less and less of it. Behavioral scientist Wendy De La Rosa studies how everyday people make decisions to improve their financial well-being. What she's found can help you painlessly make the commitment to save more and spend less.
As the popularity of remote working continues to spread, workers today can collaborate across cities, countries and even multiple time zones. How does this change office dynamics? And how can we make sure that all employees, both at headquarters and at home, feel connected? Matt Mullenweg, cofounder of Wordpress and CEO of Automattic (which has a 100 percent distributed workforce), shares his secrets.
Finding a job used to start with submitting your résumé to a million listings and never hearing back from most of them. But more and more companies are using tech-forward methods to identify candidates. If AI is the future of hiring, what does that mean for you? Technologist Priyanka Jain gives a look at this new hiring landscape.
Past generations found a company to work for and then stayed there for decades. But today, we rarely stay in the same job (let alone on the same career path) and we don't rely on a single income stream. The tools and resources are out there for us to do our own thing, and more of us are going with the entrepreneurial spirit — even if it's on the side of a traditional job. Podcaster and marketer Nicaila Matthews Okome helps survey the scene.
Most companies operate on a set of policies: mandated vacation days, travel guidelines, standard work hours, annual goals. But what happens when a company looks less to control and more to trust? Patty McCord, the iconic former chief talent officer at Netflix, shares the key insights that led her to toss the handbook out the window.
Should you date your coworker? Should workplace couples keep their relationships secret? And why are coworkers so often attracted to each other? Organizational psychologist Amy Nicole Baker shares the real answers to commonly asked questions about romance at the office.
You know the "forgotten middle": they're the students, coworkers and regular people who are often overlooked because they're seen as neither exceptional nor problematic. How can we empower them to reach their full potential? Sharing her work helping young people get to and through college, social activist Danielle R. Moss challenges us to think deeper about who deserves help and attention — and shows us how to encourage those in the middle to dream big.
There's no better way to stop a disease than to catch and treat it early, before symptoms occur. That's the whole point of medical screening techniques like radiography, MRIs and blood tests. But there's one medium with overlooked potential for medical analysis: your breath. Technologist Julian Burschka shares the latest in the science of breath analysis — the screening of the volatile organic compounds in your exhaled breath — and how it could be used as a powerful tool to detect, predict and ultimately prevent disease.
What if we could capture pollution in the air around us and turn it into something useful? Inventor Anirudh Sharma shares how he created AIR-INK, a deep black ink that's made from PM 2.5 pollution. See how he hacked together a clever way to capture these tiny particles — and make the world just a little bit cleaner in the process.
Activist Shad Begum has spent her life empowering women to live up to their full potential. In a personal talk, she shares her determined struggle to improve the lives of women in her deeply religious and conservative community in northwest Pakistan — and calls for women around the world to find their political voice. "We must stand up for our own rights — and not wait for someone else to come and help us," Begum says.
Silence is a rare commodity these days. There's traffic, construction, air-conditioning, your neighbor's lawnmower ... and all this unwanted sound can have a surprising impact on your health, says noise researcher Mathias Basner. Discover the science behind how noise affects your health and sleep — and how you can get more of the benefits of the sound of silence.
Modern American health care is defined by its high costs, high overhead and inaccessibility — especially for low-income patients. What if we could redesign the system to serve the poor and still have doctors make money? In an eye-opening (and surprisingly funny) talk, physician P.J. Parmar shares the story of the clinic he founded in Colorado, where he serves only resettled refugees who mostly use Medicaid, and makes the business case for a fresh take on medical service.
What does it mean to be civil? Journalist Steven Petrow looks for answers in the original meaning of the word, showing why civility shouldn't be dismissed as conversation-stifling political correctness or censorship. Learn three ways we can each work to be more civil — and start talking about our differences with respect.
In a lyrical talk full of radical imagination, poet Aja Monet and community organizer phillip agnew share the story of how they fell in love and what they've learned about the powerful connection between great social movements and meaningful art. Journey to Smoke Signals Studio in Miami, their home and community art space where they're creating a refuge for neighbors and creators — and imagining a new answer to distraction, anger and anxiety.
Gene-editing tools like CRISPR enable us to program life at its most fundamental level. But this raises some pressing questions: If we can generate new species from scratch, what should we build? Should we redesign humanity as we know it? Juan Enriquez forecasts the possible futures of genetic editing, exploring the immense uncertainty and opportunity of this next frontier.
Roy Bahat was worried. His company invests in new technology like AI to make businesses more efficient — but, he wondered, what was AI doing to the people whose jobs might change, go away or become less fulfilling? The question sent him on a two-year research odyssey to discover what motivates people, and why we work. In this conversation with curator Bryn Freedman, he shares what he learned, including some surprising insights that will shape the conversation about the future of our jobs.
In the US, the very same blood test can cost $19 at one clinic and $522 at another clinic just blocks away — and nobody knows the difference until they get a bill weeks later. Journalist Jeanne Pinder says it doesn't have to be this way. She's built a platform that crowdsources the true costs of medical procedures and makes the data public, revealing the secrets of health care pricing. Learn how knowing what stuff costs in advance could make us healthier, save us money — and help fix a broken system.
When one of Liz Kleinrock's fourth-grade students said the unthinkable at the start of a class on race, she knew it was far too important a teachable moment to miss. But where to start? Learn how Kleinrock teaches kids to discuss taboo topics without fear — because the best way to start solving social problems is to talk about them.
There's no greater freedom than finding your purpose, says education advocate Ashweetha Shetty. Born to a poor family in rural India, Shetty didn't let the social norms of her community stifle her dreams and silence her voice. In this personal talk, she shares how she found self-worth through education — and how she's working to empower other rural youth to explore their potential. "All of us are born into a reality that we blindly accept — until something awakens us and a new world opens up," Shetty says.
"Sí, se puede!" — "Yes, we can!" It's the rallying cry Dolores Huerta came up with as a young activist in the 1970s, and she's lived by it in her tireless pursuit of civil rights ever since. With her signature wit and humor, Huerta reflects on her life's work, offering inspiration for anybody trying to overcome apathy, get involved and find their own power.
What is a border? It's a line on a map, a place where cultures mix and merge in beautiful, sometimes violent and occasionally ridiculous ways. And a border wall? An overly simplistic response to that complexity, says architect Ronald Rael. In a moving, visual talk, Rael reimagines the physical barrier that divides the United States and Mexico — sharing satirical, serious works of art inspired by the borderlands and showing us the border we don't see in the news. "There are not two sides defined by a wall. This is one landscape, divided," Rael says.
Lindy Lou Isonhood grew up in a town where the death penalty was a fact of life, part of the unspoken culture. But after she served as a juror in a capital murder trial — and voted "yes" to sentencing a guilty man to death — something inside her changed. In this engaging and personal talk, Isonhood reflects on the question she's been asking herself in the 25 years since the trial: Am I a murderer?
The transistors that power the phone in your pocket are unimaginably small: you can fit more than 3,000 of them across the width of a human hair. But to keep up with innovations in fields like facial recognition and augmented reality, we need to pack even more computing power into our computer chips — and we're running out of space. In this forward-thinking talk, technology developer Karl Skjonnemand introduces a radically new kind of way to create chips. "This could be the dawn of a new era of molecular manufacturing," Skjonnemand says.
Farida Nabourema has dedicated her life to fighting the military regime in Togo, Africa's oldest autocracy. She's learned two truths along the way: no country is destined to be oppressed — and no country is immune to dictatorship. But how can you tell if you're at risk before it happens? In a stirring talk, Nabourema shares the four key signs of a dictatorship, along with the secret to defiance for those living within an oppressive system.
In 2013, a treasure trove of unusual fossils were uncovered in a cave in South Africa, and researchers soon realized: these were the remains of a new species of ancient humans. Paleoanthropologist Juliet Brophy takes us inside the discovery of Homo naledi, explaining how this mysterious ancestor is forcing us to rethink where we come from — and what it means to be human.
Majd Mashharawi was walking through her war-torn neighborhood in Gaza when an idea flashed in her mind: What if she could take the rubble and transform it into building materials? See how she designed a brick made out of ashes that's helping people rebuild their homes — and learn about her new project: bringing solar-powered energy to families living in darkness.
César Hidalgo has a radical suggestion for fixing our broken political system: automate it! In this provocative talk, he outlines a bold idea to bypass politicians by empowering citizens to create personalized AI representatives that participate directly in democratic decisions. Explore a new way to make collective decisions and expand your understanding of democracy.
From floppy disks to thumb drives, every method of storing data eventually becomes obsolete. What if we could find a way to store all the world's data forever? Bioinformatician Dina Zielinski shares the science behind a solution that's been around for a few billion years: DNA.
Everyone's heard of Martin Luther King Jr. But do you know the woman Dr. King called "the architect of the civil rights movement," Septima Clark? The teacher of some of the generation's most legendary activists — like Rosa Parks, Diane Nash, Fannie Lou Hamer and thousands more — Clark laid out a blueprint for change-making that has stood the test of time. Now T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison, the cofounders of GirlTrek, are taking a page from Clark's playbook to launch a health revolution in the US — and get one million women walking for justice. (This ambitious idea is part of The Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)
How do we make sense of a world that doesn't? By looking in unexpected places, says mathematician Eugenia Cheng. She explains how applying concepts from abstract mathematics to daily life can lead us to a deeper understanding of things like the root of anger and the function of privilege. Learn more about how this surprising tool can help us to empathize with each other.
How would you prefer to spend the last years of your life: in a sterile, hospital-like institution or in a village with a supermarket, pub, theater and park within easy walking distance? The answer seems obvious now, but when Yvonne van Amerongen helped develop the groundbreaking Hogeweyk dementia care center in Amsterdam 25 years ago, it was seen as a risky break from tradition. Journey with van Amerongen to Hogeweyk and get a glimpse at what a reimagined nursing home based on freedom, meaning and social life could look like.
Viral beatboxer Tom Thum has an orchestra in his mouth, but how does he make all those sounds? Get an up-close-and-personal look as laryngeal surgeon Matthew Broadhurst sticks a camera down Thum's throat while he creates a mind-boggling array of noises. This hilarious, somewhat stomach-churning talk and performance is not for the squeamish! (Contains graphic medical imagery)
The Earth and Moon are like identical twins, made up of the exact same materials — which is really strange, since no other celestial bodies we know of share this kind of chemical relationship. What's responsible for this special connection? Looking for an answer, planetary scientist and MacArthur "Genius" Sarah T. Stewart discovered a new kind of astronomical object — a synestia — and a new way to solve the mystery of the Moon's origin.
Social psychologist Thomas Curran explores how the pressure to be perfect — in our social media feeds, in school, at work — is driving a rise in mental illness, especially among young people. Learn more about the causes of this phenomenon and how we can create a culture that celebrates the joys of imperfection.
Indie pop duo Crush Club and singer Nicki B bring their blend of funk, house and Latin styles to the TED stage, performing three songs: "My Man," "Bohanna" and "We Dance."
AI algorithms make important decisions about you all the time — like how much you should pay for car insurance or whether or not you get that job interview. But what happens when these machines are built with human bias coded into their systems? Technologist Kriti Sharma explores how the lack of diversity in tech is creeping into our AI, offering three ways we can start making more ethical algorithms.
Phil Plait was on a Hubble Space Telescope team of astronomers who thought they may have captured the first direct photo of an exoplanet ever taken. But did the evidence actually support that? Follow along as Plait shows how science progresses — through a robust amount of making and correcting errors. "The price of doing science is admitting when you're wrong, but the payoff is the best there is: knowledge and understanding," he says.
Amanda Williams shares her lifelong fascination with the complexity of color: from her experiences with race and redlining to her discovery of color theory to her work as a visual artist. Journey with Williams to Chicago's South Side and explore "Color(ed) Theory," a two-year art project in which she painted soon-to-be-demolished houses bold, monochromatic colors infused with local meaning — catalyzing conversations and making the hidden visible.
Bees are dying off in record numbers, but ecologist Noah Wilson-Rich is interested in something else: Where are bees healthy and thriving? To find out, he recruited citizen scientists across the US to set up beehives in their backyards, gardens and rooftops. Learn how these little data factories are changing what we know about the habitats bees need to thrive -- and keep our future food systems stable.
To get young kids to thrive in school, we need to do more than teach them how to read and write — we need to teach them how to manage their emotions, says educator Olympia Della Flora. In this practical talk, she shares creative tactics she used to help struggling, sometimes disruptive students — things like stopping for brain breaks, singing songs and even doing yoga poses — all with her existing budget and resources. "Small changes make huge differences, and it's possible to start right now ... You simply need smarter ways to think about using what you have, where you have it," she says.
The Sun delivers more energy to Earth in one hour than all of humanity uses in an entire year. How can we make this power more accessible to everyone, everywhere? Solar designer Marjan van Aubel shows how she's turning everyday objects like tabletops and stained glass windows into elegant solar cells — and shares her vision to make every surface a power station.
Esha Alwani began writing songs when she was six years old, shortly after being diagnosed with Tourette syndrome. And she noticed something amazing: whenever she played music, her involuntary tics suddenly went away. Listen along as Alwani explores the power of music and delights the audience with an ethereal performance of her piano ballad "I'm Not Loving You (My Mask)."
Current treatments for depression and PTSD only suppress symptoms, if they work at all. What if we could prevent these diseases from developing altogether? Neuroscientist and TED Fellow Rebecca Brachman shares the story of her team's accidental discovery of a new class of drug that, for the first time ever, could prevent the negative effects of stress — and boost a person's ability to recover and grow. Learn how these resilience-enhancing drugs could change the way we treat mental illness.
Bacteria "talk" to each other, sending chemical information to coordinate attacks. What if we could listen to what they were saying? Nanophysicist Fatima AlZahra'a Alatraktchi invented a tool to spy on bacterial chatter and translate their secret communication into human language. Her work could pave the way for early diagnosis of disease — before we even get sick.
Transgender activist and TED Resident Samy Nour Younes shares the remarkable, centuries-old history of the trans community, filled with courageous stories, inspiring triumphs — and a fight for civil rights that's been raging for a long time. "Imagine how the conversation would shift if we acknowledge just how long trans people have been demanding equality," he says.
In a mesmerizing set, musician Nora Brown breathes new life into two old-time banjo tunes: "East Virginia" and "John Brown's Dream." An evocative performance paired with a quick history of the banjo's evolution.
The heart is one of the least regenerative organs in the human body — a big factor in making heart failure the number one killer worldwide. What if we could help heart muscle regenerate after injury? Physician and scientist Chuck Murry shares his groundbreaking research into using stem cells to grow new heart cells — an exciting step towards realizing the awesome promise of stem cells as medicine.
Long before we had rocket scientists, the idea of spaceflight traveled from mind to mind across generations. With great visuals, TED Fellow and NASA economist Alexander MacDonald shows how 300 years of sci-fi tales — from Edgar Allan Poe to Jules Verne to H.G. Wells and beyond — sparked a culture of space exploration. A fascinating look at how stories become reality, featuring a goose machine sent to the Moon.
Neuroscientist and pediatrician Kimberly Noble is leading the Baby's First Years study: the first-ever randomized study of how family income changes children's cognitive, emotional and brain development. She and a team of economists and policy experts are working together to find out: Can we help kids in poverty simply by giving families more money? "The brain is not destiny," Noble says. "And if a child's brain can be changed, then anything is possible."
Visual artist Helen Marriage stages astonishing, large-scale public art events that expand the boundaries of what's possible. In this visual tour of her work, she tells the story of three cities she transformed into playgrounds of the imagination — picture London with a giant mechanical elephant marching through it — and shows what happens when people stop to marvel and experience a moment together.
Every minute, 20 people are newly displaced by climate change, economic crisis and political instability, according to the UNHCR. How can we help them overcome the barriers to starting new lives? TED Resident Muhammed Idris is leading a team of technologists, researchers and refugees to develop Atar, the first-ever AI-powered virtual advocate that guides displaced people through resettlement, helping restore their rights and dignity. "Getting access to the right resources and information can be the difference between life and death," Idris says.
Every year worldwide, more than 50,000 otherwise healthy people with epilepsy suddenly die — a condition known as SUDEP. These deaths may be largely preventable, says AI researcher Rosalind Picard. Learn how Picard helped develop a cutting-edge smartwatch that can detect epileptic seizures before they occur and alert nearby loved ones in time to help.
In a world deeply divided, how do we have hard conversations with nuance, curiosity, respect? Veteran reporter Eve Pearlman introduces "dialogue journalism": a project where journalists go to the heart of social and political divides to support discussions between people who disagree. See what happened when a group that would have never otherwise met — 25 liberals from California and 25 conservatives from Alabama — gathered to talk about contentious issues. "Real connection across difference: this is a salve that our democracy sorely needs," Pearlman says.
In a talk that's by turns heartbreaking and hilarious, writer and podcaster Nora McInerny shares her hard-earned wisdom about life and death. Her candid approach to something that will, let's face it, affect us all, is as liberating as it is gut-wrenching. Most powerfully, she encourages us to shift how we approach grief. "A grieving person is going to laugh again and smile again," she says. "They're going to move forward. But that doesn't mean that they've moved on."
Keith Kirkland is developing wearable tech that communicates information using only the sense of touch. He's trying to figure out: What gestures and vibration patterns could intuitively communicate ideas like "stop" or "go"? Check out his team's first product, a navigation device for the blind and visually impaired, and learn more about the entirely new "haptic language" he's creating to power it.
Why do teenagers sometimes make outrageous, risky choices? Do they suddenly become reckless, or are they just going through a natural phase? To find out, Kashfia Rahman — winner of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (and a Harvard freshman) — designed and conducted an experiment to test how high school students respond to and get used to risk, and how it changes their still-developing brains. What she discovered about risk and decision-making could change how we think about why teens do what they do.
At 16, Rana Abdelhamid started teaching self-defense to women and girls in her neighborhood. Almost 10 years later, these community classes have grown into Malikah: a global grassroots network creating safety, power and solidarity for all women. How did she do it? Abdelhamid shares three ingredients for building a movement from the ground up.
Kakenya Ntaiya turned her dream of getting an education into a movement to empower vulnerable girls and bring an end to harmful traditional practices in Kenya. Meet two students at the Kakenya Center for Excellence, a school where girls can live and study safely — and uplift their community along the way. "When you empower a girl, you transform a community," Ntaiya says.
Robot brains are getting smarter and smarter, but their bodies are often still clunky and unwieldy. Mechanical engineer Christoph Keplinger is designing a new generation of soft, agile robot inspired by a masterpiece of evolution: biological muscle. See these "artificial muscles" expand and contract like the real thing and reach superhuman speeds — and learn how they could power prosthetics that are stronger and more efficient than human limbs.
In an unmissable talk, journalist Carole Cadwalladr digs into one of the most perplexing events in recent times: the UK's super-close 2016 vote to leave the European Union. Tracking the result to a barrage of misleading Facebook ads targeted at vulnerable Brexit swing voters — and linking the same players and tactics to the 2016 US presidential election — Cadwalladr calls out the "gods of Silicon Valley" for being on the wrong side of history and asks: Are free and fair elections a thing of the past?
Can Twitter be saved? In a wide-ranging conversation with TED's Chris Anderson and Whitney Pennington Rodgers, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey discusses the future of the platform — acknowledging problems with harassment and moderation and proposing some fundamental changes that he hopes will encourage healthy, respectful conversations. "Are we actually delivering something that people value every single day?" Dorsey asks.
At the center of a galaxy more than 55 million light-years away, there's a supermassive black hole with the mass of several billion suns. And now, for the first time ever, we can see it. Astrophysicist Sheperd Doeleman, head of the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration, speaks with TED's Chris Anderson about the iconic, first-ever image of a black hole — and the epic, worldwide effort involved in capturing it.
In the early 1990s, a scandal rocked evolutionary biology: scientists discovered that songbirds — once thought to be strictly monogamous — engaged in what's politely called "extra-pair copulation." In this unforgettable biology lesson on animal infidelity, TED Fellow Danielle N. Lee shows how she uses hip-hop to teach science, leading the crowd in an updated version of Naughty by Nature's hit "O.P.P."
How often do you think about the air you're breathing? Probably not enough, says entrepreneur and TED Fellow Romain Lacombe. He introduces Flow: a personal air-quality tracker that fits in your hand and monitors pollution levels in real time. See how this device could help you track and understand pollution street by street, hour by hour — and empower you to take action to improve your health.
In a story of scientific discovery, chemical biologist David R. Liu shares a breakthrough: his lab's development of base editors that can rewrite DNA. This crucial step in genome editing takes the promise of CRISPR to the next level: if CRISPR proteins are molecular scissors, programmed to cut specific DNA sequences, then base editors are pencils, capable of directly rewriting one DNA letter into another. Learn more about how these molecular machines work — and their potential to treat or even cure genetic diseases.
The Silent Generation, baby boomers, Generation X, millennials, Gen Z — we're all in the workforce together. How are our assumptions about each other holding us back from working and communicating better? Social psychologist Leah Georges shows how we're more similar than different and offers helpful tactics for navigating the multigenerational workplace.
Here's a shocking statistic: 50 to 80 percent of people in the criminal justice system in the US have had a traumatic brain injury. In the general public, that number is less than five percent. Neuropsychologist Kim Gorgens shares her research into the connection between brain trauma and the behaviors that keep people in the revolving door of criminal justice — and some ways to make the system more effective and safer for everyone.
Research shows that helping others makes us happier. But in her groundbreaking work on generosity and joy, social psychologist Elizabeth Dunn found that there's a catch: it matters how we help. Learn how we can make a greater impact — and boost our own happiness along the way — if we make one key shift in how we help others. "Let's stop thinking about giving as just this moral obligation and start thinking of it as a source of pleasure," Dunn says.
Hannah Gadsby's groundbreaking special "Nanette" broke comedy. In a talk about truth and purpose, she shares three ideas and three contradictions. (Or not.)
When you're feeling burned out as an activist, what's the best way to bounce back? TED Senior Fellow Yana Buhrer Tavanier explores the power of "playtivism" — the incorporation of play and creativity into movements for social change. See how this versatile approach can spark new ideas, propel action and melt fear.
Why do we often neglect big problems, like the financial crisis and climate change, until it's too late? Policy strategist Michele Wucker urges us to replace the myth of the "black swan" — that rare, unforeseeable, unavoidable catastrophe — with the reality of the "gray rhino," the preventable danger that we choose to ignore. She shows why predictable crises catch us by surprise — and lays out some signs that there may be a charging rhino in your life right now.
Plants are amazing machines — for millions of years, they've taken carbon dioxide out of the air and stored it underground, keeping a crucial check on the global climate. Plant geneticist Joanne Chory is working to amplify this special ability: with her colleagues at the Salk Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory, she's creating plants that can store more carbon, deeper underground, for hundreds of years. Learn more about how these supercharged plants could help slow climate change. (This ambitious plan is a part of the Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)
It starts with a sketch. Then it evolves into a larger-than-life visual masterpiece, a celebration of human connection. Follow along as legendary artist and designer Es Devlin takes us on a visual tour of her work — including iconic stage sculptures she's created for Beyoncé, Adele, Kanye West, U2 and more — and previews her design for the upcoming World Expo 2020 in Dubai.
Designer Ivan Poupyrev wants to integrate technology into everyday objects to make them more useful and fun — like a jacket you can use to answer phone calls or a houseplant you can play like a keyboard. In a talk and tech demo, he lays out his vision for a physical world that's more deeply connected to the internet and shows how, with a little collaboration, we can get there. Unveiled in this talk: Poupyrev announces that his newest device, Jacquard, is now publicly available for all designers to use.
Civic evangelist Eric Liu shares a powerful way to rekindle the spirit of citizenship and the belief that democracy still works. Join him for a trip to "Civic Saturday" and learn more about how making civic engagement a weekly habit can help build communities based on shared values and a path to belonging.
What should modern leadership look like? Entrepreneur and former Icelandic presidential candidate Halla Tómasdóttir thinks global leaders need to change their ways — or risk becoming irrelevant. In a conversation with curator Bryn Freedman, she shows how anybody can step up and make a difference, even if you don't yet have power. "There's a leader inside every single one of us," she says, "and our most important work in life is to release that leader."
The global fertility rate, or the number of children per woman, has halved over the last 50 years. What will having fewer babies mean for the future of humanity? In this funny, eye-opening talk, journalist (and self-described exhausted dad) Wajahat Ali examines how the current trend could lead to unexpected problems — and shares why he believes we need to make it easier for people to have babies. "For those who can and choose to, may you pass on this beautiful thing called life with kindness, generosity, decency and love," he says.
You use your brain's executive function every day — it's how you do things like pay attention, plan ahead and control impulses. Can you improve it to change for the better? With highlights from her research on child development, cognitive scientist Sabine Doebel explores the factors that affect executive function — and how you can use it to break bad habits and achieve your goals.
Sleep is your life-support system and Mother Nature's best effort yet at immortality, says sleep scientist Matt Walker. In this deep dive into the science of slumber, Walker shares the wonderfully good things that happen when you get sleep — and the alarmingly bad things that happen when you don't, for both your brain and body. Learn more about sleep's impact on your learning, memory, immune system and even your genetic code — as well as some helpful tips for getting some shut-eye.
In an astonishing talk and tech demo, software researcher Doug Roble debuts "DigiDoug": a real-time, 3-D, digital rendering of his likeness that's accurate down to the scale of pores and wrinkles. Powered by an inertial motion capture suit, deep neural networks and enormous amounts of data, DigiDoug renders the real Doug's emotions (and even how his blood flows and eyelashes move) in striking detail. Learn more about how this exciting tech was built — and its applications in movies, virtual assistants and beyond.
Can we make tattoos both beautiful and functional? Nanotechnologist Carson Bruns shares his work creating high-tech tattoos that react to their environment — like color-changing ink that can tell you when you're getting a sunburn — and shows exciting ways they can deliver real-time information about our health.
E-cigarettes and vapes have exploded in popularity in the last decade, especially among youth and young adults — from 2011 to 2015, e-cigarette use among high school students in the US increased by 900 percent. Biobehavioral scientist Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin explains what you're actually inhaling when you vape (hint: it's definitely not water vapor) and explores the disturbing marketing tactics being used to target kids. "Our health, the health of our children and our future generations is far too valuable to let it go up in smoke — or even in aerosol," she says.
Try talking to yourself without opening your mouth, by simply saying words internally. What if you could search the internet like that — and get an answer back? In the first live public demo of his new technology, TED Fellow Arnav Kapur introduces AlterEgo: a wearable AI device with the potential to let you silently talk to and get information from a computer system, like a voice inside your head. Learn more about how the device works and the far-reaching implications of this new kind of human-computer interaction.
In a talk about understanding and practicing the art of healthy relationships, Katie Hood reveals the five signs you might be in an unhealthy relationship — with a romantic partner, a friend, a family member — and shares the things you can do every day to love with respect, kindness and joy. "While love is an instinct and an emotion, the ability to love better is a skill we can all build and improve on over time," she says.
"Confidence is the necessary spark before everything that follows," says educator and activist Brittany Packnett. In an inspiring talk, she shares three ways to crack the code of confidence — and her dream for a world where revolutionary confidence helps turn our most ambitious dreams into reality.
Sloths have been on this planet for more than 40 million years. What's the secret to their success? In a hilarious talk, zoologist Lucy Cooke takes us inside the strange life of the world's slowest mammal and shows what we can learn from their ingenious adaptations.
Conventional meat production causes harm to our environment and presents risks to global health, but people aren't going to eat less meat unless we give them alternatives that cost the same (or less) and that taste the same (or better). In an eye-opening talk, food innovator and TED Fellow Bruce Friedrich shows the plant- and cell-based products that could soon transform the global meat industry — and your dinner plate.
Profit, money, shareholders: these are the priorities of most companies today. But at what cost? In an appeal to corporate leaders worldwide, Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya calls for an end to the business playbook of the past — and shares his vision for a new, "anti-CEO playbook" that prioritizes people over profits. "This is the difference between profit and true wealth," he says.
Hollywood needs to stop resisting what the world actually looks like, says actor, director and activist America Ferrera. Tracing the contours of her career, she calls for more authentic representation of different cultures in media — and a shift in how we tell our stories. "Presence creates possibility," she says. "Who we see thriving in the world teaches us how to see ourselves, how to think about our own value, how to dream about our futures."
A few weeks before his release from prison, Jarrell Daniels took a class where incarcerated men learned alongside prosecutors. By simply sitting together and talking, they uncovered surprising truths about the criminal justice system and ideas for how real change happens. Now a scholar and activist, Daniels reflects on how collaborative education could transform the justice system and unlock solutions to social problems.
Humans produce 300 million tons of new plastic each year — yet, despite our best efforts, less than 10 percent of it ends up being recycled. Is there a better way to deal with all this waste? Morgan Vague describes her research with microbiologist Jay Mellies on bacteria that have evolved the unexpected ability to eat plastic — and how they could help us solve our growing pollution problem.
Baratunde Thurston explores the phenomenon of white Americans calling the police on black Americans who have committed the crimes of ... eating, walking or generally "living while black." In this profound, thought-provoking and often hilarious talk, he reveals the power of language to change stories of trauma into stories of healing — while challenging us all to level up.
TED Fellow and astronomer Erika Hamden leads the team building FIREBall, a telescope that hangs from a giant balloon at the very edge of space and looks for clues about how stars are created. She takes us inside the roller-coaster, decade-long journey to get the telescope from an idea into orbit — and shows how failure is inevitable when you're pushing the limits of knowledge.
Millennials are now the largest, most diverse adult population in the US — but far too often, they're reduced to the worn-out stereotype of lazy, entitled avocado toast lovers, says author Reniqua Allen. In this revealing talk, she shares overlooked stories of millennials of color, offering a broader, more nuanced view of the generation. "Millennials are not a monolith," she says.
Octopus, squid and cuttlefish — collectively known as cephalopods — have strange, massive, distributed brains. What do they do with all that neural power? Dive into the ocean with marine biologist Roger Hanlon, who shares astonishing footage of the camouflaging abilities of cephalopods, which can change their skin color and texture in a flash. Learn how their smart skin, and their ability to deploy it in sophisticated ways, could be evidence of an alternative form of intelligence — and how it could lead to breakthroughs in AI, fabrics, cosmetics and beyond.
Design gives form to the future, says architect Bjarke Ingels. In this worldwide tour of his team's projects, journey to a waste-to-energy power plant (that doubles as an alpine ski slope) and the LEGO Home of the Brick in Denmark — and catch a glimpse of cutting-edge flood resilience infrastructure in New York City as well as an ambitious plan to create floating, sustainable cities that are adapted to climate change.
In life's toughest moments, how do you go on living? Kate Bowler has been exploring this question ever since she was diagnosed with stage IV cancer at age 35. In a profound, heartbreaking and unexpectedly funny talk, she offers some answers — challenging the idea that "everything happens for a reason" and sharing hard-won wisdom about how to make sense of the world after your life is suddenly, completely changed. "I believe that in the darkness, even there, there will be beauty and there will be love," she says.
Our society is in the midst of a social crisis, says op-ed columnist and author David Brooks: we're trapped in a valley of isolation and fragmentation. How do we find our way out? Based on his travels across the United States — and his meetings with a range of exceptional people known as "weavers" — Brooks lays out his vision for a cultural revolution that empowers us all to lead lives of greater meaning, purpose and joy.
Reading and writing can be acts of courage that bring us closer to others and ourselves. Author Michelle Kuo shares how teaching reading skills to her students in the Mississippi Delta revealed the bridging power of the written word — as well as the limitations of its power.
Humans have been studying the stars for thousands of years, but astrophysicist Juna Kollmeier is on a special mission: creating the most detailed 3-D maps of the universe ever made. Journey across the cosmos as she shares her team's work on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, imaging millions of stars, black holes and galaxies in unprecedented detail. If we maintain our pace, she says, we can map every large galaxy in the observable universe by 2060. "We've gone from arranging clamshells to general relativity in a few thousand years," she says. "If we hang on 40 more, we can map all the galaxies."
The ground beneath your feet is home to a massive, mysterious world of microbes — some of which have been in the earth's crust for hundreds of thousands of years. What's it like down there? Take a trip to the volcanoes and hot springs of Costa Rica as microbiologist Karen Lloyd shines a light on these subterranean organisms and shows how they could have a profound impact on life up here.
Why do some gatherings take off and others don't? Author Priya Parker shares three easy steps to turn your parties, dinners, meetings and holidays into meaningful, transformative gatherings.
Anger researcher Ryan Martin draws from a career studying what makes people mad to explain some of the cognitive processes behind anger — and why a healthy dose of it can actually be useful. "Your anger exists in you ... because it offered your ancestors, both human and nonhuman, an evolutionary advantage," he says. "[It's] a powerful and healthy force in your life."
Daniel Lismore's closet is probably a bit different than yours -- his clothes are constructed out of materials ranging from beer cans and plastic crystals to diamonds, royal silks and 2,000-year-old Roman rings. In this striking talk, Lismore shares the vision behind his elaborate ensembles and explores what it's like to live life as a work of art. "Everyone is capable of creating their own masterpiece," he says. "You should try it sometime."
Michael Tubbs is the youngest mayor in American history to represent a city with more than 100,000 people — and his policies are sparking national conversations. In this rousing talk, he shares how growing up amid poverty and violence in Stockton, California shaped his bold vision for change and his commitment to govern as a neighbor, not a politician. "When we see someone different from us, they should not reflect our fears, our anxieties, our insecurities," he says. "We should see our common humanity."
Proteins are remarkable molecular machines: they digest your food, fire your neurons, power your immune system and so much more. What if we could design new ones, with functions never before seen in nature? In this remarkable glimpse of the future, David Baker shares how his team at the Institute for Protein Design is creating entirely new proteins from scratch — and shows how they could help us tackle five massive challenges facing humanity. (This ambitious plan is a part of the Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)
The world-changing promise of synthetic biology and gene editing has a dark side. In this far-seeing talk, author and entrepreneur Rob Reid reviews the risks of a world where more and more people have access to the tools and tech needed to create a doomsday bug that could wipe out humanity — and suggests that it's time to take this danger seriously.
"The hardest part of my cancer experience began once the cancer was gone," says author Suleika Jaouad. In this fierce, funny, wisdom-packed talk, she challenges us to think beyond the divide between "sick" and "well," asking: How do you begin again and find meaning after life is interrupted?
What would it take to settle Mars? In a talk about the future of space exploration, Lynn Rothschild reviews the immense challenges to living elsewhere in the universe and proposes some bold, creative solutions to making a home off planet Earth — like "growing" houses out of fungi or using bacteria to help generate electricity.
"The universe has already written the poem you were planning on writing," says Sarah Kay, quoting her friend, poet Kaveh Akbar. Performing "A Bird Made of Birds," she shares how and where she finds poetry. (Kay is also the host of TED's podcast "Sincerely, X." Listen on the Luminary podcast app at luminary.link/ted)
How did ancient civilizations move massive stones to build Stonehenge, the Pyramids and the Easter Island statues? In this quick, delightful talk, TED Fellow Brandon Clifford reveals some architectural secrets of the past and shows how we can use these ingenious techniques to build today. "In an era where we design buildings to last 30, maybe 60 years, I would love to learn how to create something that could entertain for an eternity," he says.
Lindsay Amer is the creator of "Queer Kid Stuff," an educational video series that breaks down complex ideas around gender and sexuality through songs and metaphors. By giving kids and their families a vocabulary to express themselves, Amer is helping to create more empathetic adults — and spreading a message of radical acceptance in a world where it's sometimes dangerous to just be yourself. "I want kids to grow up and into themselves with pride for who they are and who they can be," Amer says.
Ethan Lindenberger never got vaccinated as a kid. So one day, he went on Reddit and asked a simple question: "Where do I go to get vaccinated?" The post went viral, landing Lindenberger in the middle of a heated debate about vaccination and, ultimately, in front of a US Senate committee. Less than a year later, the high school senior reports back on his unexpected time in the spotlight and a new movement he's leading to fight misinformation and advocate for scientific truth.
Asking for help is tough. But to get through life, you have to do it all the time. So how do you get comfortable asking? In this actionable talk, social psychologist Heidi Grant shares four simple rules for asking for help and getting it — while making the process more rewarding for your helper, too.
Being open and vulnerable with your loneliness, sadness and fear can help you find comfort and feel less alone, says writer and artist Jonny Sun. In an honest talk filled with his signature illustrations, Sun shares how telling stories about feeling like an outsider helped him tap into an unexpected community and find a tiny sliver of light in the darkness.
"The hood is good," says Jon Gray of the Bronx, New York-based creative collective Ghetto Gastro. Working at the intersection of food, design and art, Gray and his team honor the soul and history of their community while applying their unbridled creativity and expansive imagination to unexpected, otherworldly collaborations. Learn more about how they're creating and investing in their home borough — bringing the Bronx to the world and vice versa.
Glenn Cantave uses technology to highlight narratives of the oppressed. In a tour of immersive visual projects, he shares his work with the team at Movers and Shakers NYC, a coalition that executes direct action and advocacy campaigns for marginalized communities using virtual reality, augmented reality and the creative arts.
"Most of what we send into outer space never comes back," says astrodynamicist and TED Fellow Moriba Jah. In this forward-thinking talk, Jah describes the space highways orbiting earth and how they're mostly populated by space junk. Learn more about his quest to develop and scale the world's first crowdsourced space traffic monitoring system — and how it could help solve the debris problem in near-earth space.
When Julius Maada Bio first seized political power in Sierra Leone in 1996, he did so to improve the lives of its citizens. But he soon realized that for democracy to flourish, its foundation needs to be built on the will of the people. After arranging an election, he voluntarily gave up power and left Africa. Twenty years later, after being democratically elected president of Sierra Leone, he reflects on the slow path to democracy, the importance of education for all and his focus on helping young Sierra Leoneans thrive.
When venture investor Natalie Fratto is determining which start-up founder to support, she doesn't just look for intelligence or charisma; she looks for adaptability. In this insightful talk, Fratto shares three ways to measure your "adaptability quotient" — and shows why your ability to respond to change really matters.
From mourning orcas to distressed elephants, biological anthropologist Barbara J. King has witnessed grief and love across the animal kingdom. In this eye-opening talk, she explains the evidence behind her belief that many animals experience complex emotions, and suggests ways all of us can treat them more ethically -- including every time we eat. "Animals don't grieve exactly like we do, but this doesn't mean that their grief isn't real," she says. "It is real, and it's searing, and we can see it if we choose."
Could psychedelics help us heal from trauma and mental illnesses? Researcher Rick Doblin has spent the past three decades investigating this question, and the results are promising. In this fascinating dive into the science of psychedelics, he explains how drugs like LSD, psilocybin and MDMA affect your brain -- and shows how, when paired with psychotherapy, they could change the way we treat PTSD, depression, substance abuse and more.
Taking design cues from origami, robotician Jamie Paik and her team created "robogamis": folding robots made out super-thin materials that can reshape and transform themselves. In this talk and tech demo, Paik shows how robogamis could adapt to achieve a variety of tasks on earth (or in space) and demonstrates how they roll, jump, catapult like a slingshot and even pulse like a beating heart.
Since its founding in 1851, the "New York Times" has published thousands of obituaries -- for heads of state, famous celebrities, even the inventor of the sock puppet. But only a small percentage of them chronicle the lives of women and people of color. In this insightful talk, "Times" editor Amy Padnani shares the story behind "Overlooked," the project she's leading to recognize people from history whose deaths were ignored -- and refocus society's lens on who is considered important.
Film has the power to change the way we think about ourselves and our culture. Documentarian and TED Fellow Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy uses it to fight violence against women, turning her camera on the tradition of honor killings in Pakistan. In a stirring talk, she shares how she took her Oscar-winning film on the road in a mobile cinema, visiting small towns and villages across Pakistan -- and shifting the dynamics between women, men and society, one screening at a time.
We're not doing frontline exploratory science in a huge portion of the world — the places governments deem too hostile or disputed. What might we be missing because we're not looking? In this fearless, unexpectedly funny talk, paleoanthropologist Ella Al-Shamahi takes us on an expedition to the Yemeni island of Socotra — one of the most biodiverse places on earth — and makes the case for scientists to explore the unstable regions that could be home to incredible discoveries.
"Magic is a great analogy for how we edit reality and form a story — and then mistake that story for the truth," says psychological illusionist Derren Brown. In a clever talk wrapped around a dazzling mind-reading performance, Brown explores the seductive appeal of finding simple answers to life's complex and subtle questions.
Refugee and immigrants rights attorney Melanie Nezer shares an urgently needed historical perspective on the crisis at the southern US border, showing how citizens can hold their governments accountable for protecting the vulnerable. "A country shows strength through compassion and pragmatism, not through force and through fear," she says.
Early education is critical to children's success — but millions of kids in the United States still don't have access to programs that prepare them to thrive in kindergarten and beyond. Enter the UPSTART Project, a plan to bring early learning into the homes of children in underserved communities, at no cost to families. Education innovator Claudia Miner shares how UPSTART is setting four-year-olds up for success with 15 minutes of learning a day — and how you can help. (This ambitious plan is a part of the Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)
Shocking, but true: the United States has the highest rate of deaths for new mothers of any developed country — and 60 percent of them are preventable. With clarity and urgency, physician Elizabeth Howell explains the causes of maternal mortality and shares ways for hospitals and doctors to make pregnancy safer for women before, during and after childbirth.
When humanity first landed on the moon in 1969, the typeface Futura was right there with them. In this fascinating history of typography, designer Douglas Thomas shares Futura's role in launching the Apollo 11 spacecraft — and how it became one of the most used fonts in the world.
Every 12 years, a megacity springs up in India for the Kumbh Mela religious festival — what's built in ten weeks is completely disassembled in one. What can we learn from this fully functioning, temporary settlement? In a visionary talk, urban designer Rahul Mehrotra explores the benefits of building impermanent cities that can travel, adapt or even disappear, leaving the lightest possible footprint on the planet.
Everyone should participate in decision-making and politics — and it starts at home, says activist Hajer Sharief. She introduces a simple yet transformative idea: that parents can teach their children about political agency by giving them a say in how their households are run, in the form of candid family meetings where everyone can express their opinions, negotiate and compromise. "We need to teach people that political, national and global affairs are as relevant to them as personal and family affairs," she says. "Can you really afford not to be interested or not participate in politics?"
Backed by mathematical analysis, network theorist Albert-László Barabási explores the hidden mechanisms that drive success — no matter your field — and uncovers an intriguing connection between your age and your chance of making it big.
The Hindu Kush Himalaya region is the world's third-largest repository of ice, after the North and South Poles — and if current melting rates continue, two-thirds of its glaciers could be gone by the end of this century. What will happen if we let them melt away? Environmentalist and former Prime Minister of Bhutan Tshering Tobgay shares the latest from the "water towers of Asia," making an urgent call to create an intergovernmental agency to protect the glaciers — and save the nearly two billion people downstream from catastrophic flooding that would destroy land and livelihoods.
To get out of the mess we're in, we need a new story that explains the present and guides the future, says author George Monbiot. Drawing on findings from psychology, neuroscience and evolutionary biology, he offers a new vision for society built around our fundamental capacity for altruism and cooperation. This contagiously optimistic talk will make you rethink the possibilities for our shared future.
In 2018, Scotland, Iceland and New Zealand established the network of Wellbeing Economy Governments to challenge the acceptance of GDP as the ultimate measure of a country's success. In this visionary talk, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon explains the far-reaching implications of a "well-being economy" — which places factors like equal pay, childcare, mental health and access to green space at its heart — and shows how this new focus could help build resolve to confront global challenges.
Less than 13 percent of police officers in the United States are women — despite their proven effectiveness in diffusing violent situations and reducing the use of force. Drawing on more than two decades of experience as a police officer and chief, TED Fellow Ivonne Roman shares how a simple change to police academy physical fitness tests could help build a more balanced force that benefits communities and officers alike.
China's one-child policy ended in 2015, but we're just beginning to understand what it was like to live under the program, says TED Fellow and documentary filmmaker Nanfu Wang. With footage from her film "One Child Nation," she shares untold stories that reveal the policy's complex consequences and expose the creeping power of propaganda.
Victor Vescovo is leading the first-ever manned expedition to the deepest point of each of the world's five oceans. In conversation with TED science curator David Biello, Vescovo discusses the technology that's powering the explorations — a titanium submersible designed to withstand extraordinary conditions — and shows footage of a never-before-seen creature taken during his journey to the bottom of the Indian Ocean.
The more we rely on technology to make us efficient, the fewer skills we have to confront the unexpected, says writer and entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan. She shares why we need less tech and more messy human skills — imagination, humility, bravery — to solve problems in business, government and life in an unpredictable age. "We are brave enough to invent things we've never seen before," she says. "We can make any future we choose."
In a breathtaking, jazz-inflected spoken-word performance, TED Fellow Marc Bamuthi Joseph shares a Black father's tender and wrenching internal reflection on the pride and terror of seeing his son enter adulthood.
Drawing on her research into early childhood development, psychologist Sara Valencia Botto investigates when (and how) children begin to change their behaviors in the presence of others — and explores what it means for the values we communicate in daily interactions. (Watch for cute footage of sneaky toddlers.)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt has gotten more than his fair share of attention from his acting career. But as social media exploded over the past decade, he got addicted like the rest of us — trying to gain followers and likes only to be left feeling inadequate and less creative. In a refreshingly honest talk, he explores how the attention-driven model of big tech companies impacts our creativity — and shares a more powerful feeling than getting attention: paying attention.
For the past 20 years, photographer and TED Fellow Jon Lowenstein has documented the migrant journey from Latin America to the United States, one of the largest transnational migrations in world history. Sharing photos from his decade-long project "Shadow Lives USA," Lowenstein takes us into the inner worlds of the families escaping poverty and violence in Central America — and pieces together the complex reasons people leave their homes in search of a better life.
In a forward-looking talk, author Bina Venkataraman answers a pivotal question of our time: How can we secure our future and do right by future generations? She parses the mistakes we make when imagining the future of our lives, businesses and communities, revealing how we can reclaim our innate foresight. What emerges is a surprising case for hope — and a path to becoming the "good ancestors" we long to be.
Growing up in England, Pico Iyer was taught that the point of a game was to win. Now, some 50 years later, he's realized that competition can be "more like an act of love." In this charming, subtly profound talk, he explores what regular games of ping-pong in his neighborhood in Japan have revealed about the riddle of winning — and shows why not knowing who's won can feel like the ultimate victory.
As Asian economies and governments continue to gain power, the West needs to find ways to adapt to the new global order, says author and diplomat Kishore Mahbubani. In an insightful look at international politics, Mahbubani shares a three-part strategy that Western governments can use to recover power and improve relations with the rest of the world.
"For all that's ever been said about climate change, we haven't heard nearly enough about the psychological impacts of living in a warming world," says science writer Britt Wray. In this quick talk, she explores how climate change is threatening our well-being — mental, social and spiritual — and offers a starting point for what we can do about it.
As we recklessly warm the planet by pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, some industrial emissions also produce particles that reflect sunshine back into space, putting a check on global warming that we're only starting to understand. Climate activist Kelly Wanser asks: Can we engineer ways to harness this effect and further reduce warming? Learn more about the promises and risks of "cloud brightening" — and how it could help restore our climate to health.
What's the best way to get over heartbreak? Rapper and writer Dessa came up with an unconventional approach after a chance viewing of Helen Fisher's TED Talk about the brains of the lovestruck. In a wryly funny talk, she describes how she worked with a neuroscientist to try to get her brain to fall out of love with her ex — and shares wisdom about romance that she gained along the way.
TV news anchor Lee Thomas thought his career was over after he was diagnosed with vitiligo, an autoimmune disorder that left large patches of his skin without pigment and led to derision and stares. In a captivating talk, he shares how he discovered a way to counter misunderstanding and fear around his appearance with engagement, dialogue — and a smile. "Positivity is something worth fighting for, and the fight is not with others — it's internal," Thomas says. "If you want to make positive changes in your life, you have to consistently be positive."
"North Korea is unimaginable," says human rights activist Yeonmi Park, who escaped the country at the age of 13. Sharing the harrowing story of her childhood, she reflects on the fragility of freedom — and shows how change can be achieved even in the world's darkest places.
There's two times more carbon in the earth's soil than in all of its vegetation and the atmosphere — combined. Biogeochemist Asmeret Asefaw Berhe dives into the science of soil and shares how we could use its awesome carbon-trapping power to offset climate change. "[Soil] represents the difference between life and lifelessness in the earth system, and it can also help us combat climate change — if we can only stop treating it like dirt," she says.
In spring 2019, more than 17,000 Europeans from 33 countries signed up to have a political argument with a complete stranger. They were part of "Europe Talks," a project that organizes one-on-one conversations between people who disagree — sort of like a Tinder for politics. Editor Jochen Wegner shares the unexpected things that happened when people met up to talk — and shows how face-to-face discussions could get a divided world to rethink itself.
"The free, online, mainstream pornography that teenagers are most likely to see is a completely terrible form of sex education," says public health researcher Emily F. Rothman. She shares how her mission to end dating and sexual violence led her to create a pornography literacy program that helps teens learn about consent and respect — and invites them to think critically about sexually explicit media.
In a hilarious, completely improvised talk, improv master Anthony Veneziale takes to the TED stage for a truly one-of-a-kind performance. Armed with an audience-suggested topic ("stumbling towards intimacy") and a deck of slides he's never seen before, Veneziale crafts a meditation on the intersection of love, language and ... avocados?
Journalist Andrew Marantz spent three years embedded in the world of internet trolls and social media propagandists, seeking out the people who are propelling fringe talking points into the heart of conversation online and trying to understand how they're making their ideas spread. Go down the rabbit hole of online propaganda and misinformation — and learn we can start to make the internet less toxic.
"I dream of a world where geography classes teach about the climate crisis as this one great challenge that was won by people like you and me," says climate activist Luisa Neubauer. With Greta Thunberg, Neubauer helped initiate "Fridays For Future," the momentous international school strike movement that protests the lack of action on the climate crisis. She shares four first steps that anyone, regardless of age, can take to become a climate activist. "This is not a job for a single generation. This is a job for humanity," she says.
When we define racism as behaviors instead of feelings, we can measure it — and transform it from an impossible problem into a solvable one, says justice scientist Phillip Atiba Goff. In an actionable talk, he shares his work at the Center for Policing Equity, an organization that helps police departments diagnose and track racial gaps in policing in order to eliminate them. Learn more about their data-driven approach — and how you can get involved with the work that still needs to be done. (This ambitious plan is part of the Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)
Carl June is the pioneer behind CAR T-cell therapy: a groundbreaking cancer treatment that supercharges part of a patient's own immune system to attack and kill tumors. In a talk about a breakthrough, he shares how three decades of research culminated in a therapy that's eradicated cases of leukemia once thought to be incurable — and explains how it could be used to fight other types of cancer.
"A record of our emotional life is written on our hearts," says cardiologist and author Sandeep Jauhar. In a stunning talk, he explores the mysterious ways our emotions impact the health of our hearts — causing them to change shape in response to grief or fear, to literally break in response to emotional heartbreak — and calls for a shift in how we care for our most vital organ.
The use of deepfake technology to manipulate video and audio for malicious purposes — whether it's to stoke violence or defame politicians and journalists — is becoming a real threat. As these tools become more accessible and their products more realistic, how will they shape what we believe about the world? In a portentous talk, law professor Danielle Citron reveals how deepfakes magnify our distrust — and suggests approaches to safeguarding the truth.
Reading slowly — with her finger running beneath the words, even when she was taught not to — has led Jacqueline Woodson to a life of writing books to be savored. In a lyrical talk, she invites us to slow down and appreciate stories that take us places we never thought we'd go and introduce us to people we never thought we'd meet. "Isn't that what this is all about — finding a way, at the end of the day, to not feel alone in this world, and a way to feel like we've changed it before we leave?" she asks.
Community organizer Raj Jayadev wants to transform the US court system through "participatory defense" — a growing movement that empowers families and community members to impact their loved ones' court cases. He shares the remarkable results of their work — including more than 4,000 years of "time saved" from incarceration — and shows how this new model could shift the landscape of power in the courts.
Rising inequality and growing political instability are the direct result of decades of bad economic theory, says entrepreneur Nick Hanauer. In a visionary talk, he dismantles the mantra that "greed is good" — an idea he describes as not only morally corrosive, but also scientifically wrong — and lays out a new theory of economics powered by reciprocity and cooperation.
In a talk and demo, Twitch cofounder Emmett Shear shares his vision for the future of interactive entertainment — and explains how video game streaming is helping people build communities online. "I am excited for a world where our entertainment could connect us instead of isolating us — a world where we can bond with each other over our shared interests and create real, strong communities," Shear says.
Rising carbon levels in the atmosphere can make plants grow faster, but there's another hidden consequence: they rob plants of the nutrients and vitamins we need to survive. In a talk about global food security, epidemiologist Kristie Ebi explores the potentially massive health consequences of this growing nutrition crisis — and explores the steps we can take to ensure all people have access to safe, healthy food.
We need humor like we need the air we breathe, says editorial cartoonist Patrick Chappatte. In a talk illustrated with highlights from a career spent skewering everything from dictators and ideologues to selfies and social media mobs, Chappatte makes a resounding, often hilarious case for the necessity of satire. "Political cartoons were born with democracy, and they are challenged when freedom is," he says.