From Hong Kong, South China Morning Post CEO Gary Liu tracks China's response to the coronavirus pandemic -- from the initial outbreak in Wuhan to the shutdown of Hubei province and the containment measures taken across its major cities. Sharing insights into how the culture in places like Hong Kong and South Korea contributed to fast action against the virus, Liu identifies lessons people across the world can use to stop its spread. (This virtual conversation is part of the TED Connects series, hosted by head of TED Chris Anderson and current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers. Recorded March 25, 2020)
When will the coronavirus vaccine be ready? Epidemiologist Seth Berkley (head of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance) takes us inside the effort to create a vaccine for COVID-19. With clarity and urgency, he explains what makes it so challenging to develop, when we can expect it to be rolled out at scale and why we'll need global collaboration to get it done. (This virtual conversation is part of the TED Connects series, hosted by head of TED Chris Anderson and current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers. Recorded March 26, 2020)
To tackle a problem as large as climate change, we need both science and Indigenous wisdom, says environmental activist Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim. In this engaging talk, she shares how her nomadic community in Chad is working closely with scientists to restore endangered ecosystems -- and offers lessons on how to create more resilient communities.
What's your passion? Social entrepreneur Noeline Kirabo reflects on her work helping out-of-school young people in Uganda turn their passions into profitable businesses -- and shares the two questions you can ask yourself to begin doing the same.
Philanthropist and Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates offers insights into the COVID-19 pandemic, discussing why testing and self-isolation are essential, which medical advancements show promise and what it will take for the world to endure this crisis. (This virtual conversation is part of the TED Connects series, hosted by head of TED Chris Anderson and current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers. Recorded March 24, 2020)
The world is more connected than ever, but some communities are still cut off from vital resources like electricity and health care. In this solution-oriented talk, tech activist Johanna Figueira discusses her work with Code for Venezuela -- a platform that helps Venezuelans gain access to vital information and medical supplies -- and shares ideas for how it could be used as a model to help other communities in need.
"Life's beauty is inseparable from its fragility," says psychologist Susan David. In a special virtual conversation, she shares wisdom on how to build resilience, courage and joy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Responding to listeners' questions from across the globe, she offers ways to talk to your children about their emotions, keep focus during the crisis and help those working on the front lines. (This virtual conversation is part of the TED Connects series, hosted by head of TED Chris Anderson and current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers. Recorded March 23, 2020)
To work safely, self-driving cars must avoid obstacles -- including those just out of sight. And for this to happen, we need technology that sees better than humans can, says electrical engineer David Lindell. Buckle up for a quick, groundbreaking tech demo as Lindell explains the significant and versatile potential of a high-speed camera that can detect objects hidden around corners.
The common thinking on biological sex goes like this: females have two X chromosomes in their cells, while males have one X and one Y. In this myth-busting talk, science writer and podcaster Molly Webster shows why the so-called "sex chromosomes" are more complicated than this simple definition -- and reveals why we should think about them differently.
"You don't predict the future -- you imagine the future," says sci-fi writer Charlie Jane Anders. In a talk that's part dream, part research-based extrapolation, she takes us on a wild, speculative tour of the delights and challenges the future may hold -- and shows how dreaming up weird, futuristic possibilities empowers us to construct a better tomorrow.
What if you could repay loans through volunteering and mentorship instead of money? Activist Angie Murimirwa shares how a game-changing economic tool known as "social interest" is reinvigorating sub-Saharan communities once trapped in cycles of poverty. Join her as she explains how this approach to lending is creating opportunities for thousands of African women and girls -- and shows why this model can be replicated anywhere with lasting effects.
Farmers keep us fed and our economies stable, but in the US they're retiring faster than they're being replaced. Take a crash course in agricultural policy with Eric Sannerud to see why this problem can't be solved by simply buying from your local farmer's market -- and learn how you can use your vote to create a better future for farmers.
How comfortable are you with robots taking over your life? Covering a wide range of potential applications -- from the mundane (robot house cleaner) to the mischievous (robot sex partner) to the downright macabre (uploading your brain to live on after death) -- technology strategist Lucy Farey-Jones shares data-backed evidence of how our willingness to accept AI may be radically changing.
Where did the new coronavirus originate, how did it spread so fast -- and what's next? Sharing insights from the outbreak, global health expert and TED Fellow Alanna Shaikh traces the spread of COVID-19, discusses why travel restrictions aren't effective and highlights the medical changes needed worldwide to prepare for the next pandemic. "We need to make sure that every country in the world has the capacity to identify new diseases and treat them," she says. (Recorded March 5, 2020)
As the threat of COVID-19 continues, infectious disease expert Adam Kucharski answers five key questions about the novel coronavirus, providing necessary perspective on its transmission, how governments have responded and what might need to change about our social behavior to end the pandemic. (This video is excerpted from a 70-minute interview between Kucharski and head of TED Chris Anderson, recorded March 11, 2020. Listen to the full interview at go.ted.com/adamkucharski.)
Having your period is exhausting -- and for many people across the world, menstruation is even more challenging because of stigmas and difficulty getting basic hygiene supplies, says social activist Ananya Grover. In this uplifting, actionable talk, she shares how "Pravahkriti," her campaign to spread period positivity, creatively engages with everyone to promote menstrual health, raise awareness and break taboos around periods.
The climate crisis is too vast and complicated to solve with a silver bullet, says author David Wallace-Wells. What we need is a shift in how we live. Follow along as he lays out some of the dramatic actions we could take to build a livable, prosperous world in the age of global warming.
Have you ever wondered how your ears work? In this delightful and fascinating talk, biophysicist Jim Hudspeth demonstrates the wonderfully simple yet astonishingly powerful mechanics of hair cells, the microscopic powerhouses that make hearing possible -- and explains how, when it's really quiet, your ears will begin to beam out a spectrum of sounds unique to you.
Historian Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor leads a thoughtful and history-backed examination of one of the most divisive words in the English language: the N-word. Drawing from personal experience, she explains how reflecting on our points of encounter with the word can help promote productive discussions and, ultimately, create a framework that reshapes education around the complicated history of racism in the US.
The ocean is a naturally noisy place full of singing whales, grunting fish, snapping shrimp, cracking ice, wind and rain. But human-made sounds -- from ship engines to oil drilling -- have become an acute threat to marine life, says science journalist Nicola Jones. Watch (and listen) as she discusses the strange things that happen to underwater creatures in the face of ocean noise pollution -- and shares straightforward ways we can dial down the sound to see almost immediate impacts.
Many of the symptoms of menopause -- hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, memory lapses, depression and anxiety -- start in the brain. How exactly does menopause impact cognitive health? Sharing groundbreaking findings from her research, neuroscientist Lisa Mosconi reveals how decreasing hormonal levels affect brain aging -- and shares simple lifestyle changes you can make to support lifelong brain health.
What if the government ran more like Silicon Valley? Engineer Matt Cutts shares why he decided to leave Google (where he worked for nearly 17 years) for a career in the US government -- and makes the case that if you really want to make an impact, go where your help is needed most.
In much of the world, gender is viewed as binary: man or woman, each assigned characteristics and traits designated by biological sex. But that's not the case everywhere, says France Villarta. In a talk that's part cultural love letter, part history lesson, he details the legacy of gender fluidity and inclusivity in his native Philippines -- and emphasizes the universal beauty of all people, regardless of society's labels.
In 1996, Agnes Binagwaho returned home to Rwanda in the aftermath of its genocide. She considered leaving amid the overwhelming devastation, but women in her community motivated her to stay and help rebuild -- and she's glad she did. In an inspiring talk, Binagwaho reflects on her work as Rwanda's former Minister of Health and discusses her new women's education initiative for the country, which strives to create one of the greatest levels of gender equality worldwide.
Neuroscientist Kay M. Tye investigates how your brain gives rise to complex emotional states like depression, anxiety or loneliness. From the cutting edge of science, she shares her latest findings -- including the development of a tool that uses light to activate specific neurons and create dramatic behavioral changes in mice. Learn how these discoveries could change the way you think about your mind -- and possibly uncover effective treatments for mental disorders.
Ask any deep space navigator like Jill Seubert what makes steering a spacecraft difficult, and they'll tell you it's all about the timing; a split-second can decide a mission's success or failure. So what do you do when a spacecraft is bad at telling time? You get it a clock -- an atomic clock, to be precise. Let Seubert whisk you away with the revolutionary potential of a future where you could receive stellar, GPS-like directions -- no matter where you are in the universe.
In a talk that could change how you see things, designer and artist Jiabao Li introduces her conceptual projects that expose the inherent bias of digital media. From a helmet that makes you "allergic" to the color red to a browser plug-in that filters the internet in an unexpected way, Li's creations uncover how technology mediates the way we perceive reality.
What happens if you get infected with the coronavirus? Who's most at risk? How can you protect yourself? Public health expert David Heymann, who led the global response to the SARS outbreak in 2003, shares the latest findings about COVID-19 and what the future may hold. (Recorded February 27, 2020)
Nearly 1,800 newsrooms have shuttered across the US since 2004, leaving many communities unseen, unheard and in the dark. In this passionate talk and rallying cry, journalist Chuck Plunkett explains why he rebelled against his employer to raise awareness for an industry under threat of extinction -- and makes the case for local news as an essential part of any healthy democracy.
It's normal to feel anxious or overwhelmed by climate change, says psychologist Renée Lertzman. Can we turn those feelings into something productive? In an affirming talk, Lertzman discusses the emotional effects of climate change and offers insights on how psychology can help us discover both the creativity and resilience needed to act on environmental issues.
"Full access to a person's phone is the next best thing to full access to a person's mind," says cybersecurity expert Eva Galperin. In an urgent talk, she describes the emerging danger of stalkerware -- software designed to spy on someone by gaining access to their devices without their knowledge -- and calls on antivirus companies to recognize these programs as malicious in order to discourage abusers and protect victims.
Sometimes, small things make a huge impact. After studying how bees in urban environments can survive by navigating small land patches, ecologist Amanda Schochet was inspired to build MICRO, a network of portable science museums the size of vending machines. Learn how these tiny museums are being deployed in libraries, community centers, transit hubs and elsewhere to increase public access to science.
Corruption is a constant threat in Kenya, says social entrepreneur Wanjira Mathai -- and to stop it there (or anywhere else), we need to intervene early. Following the legacy of her mother, political activist and Nobel Prize recipient Wangari Maathai, Mathai shares three strategies to uproot a culture of corruption by teaching children and young people about leadership, purpose and integrity.
"Complete silence is very addictive," says Rebecca Knill, a writer who has cochlear implants that enable her to hear. In this funny, insightful talk, she explores the evolution of assistive listening technology, the outdated way people still respond to deafness and how we can shift our cultural understanding of ability to build a more inclusive world. "Technology has come so far," Knill says. "Our mindset just needs to catch up."
Equity expert Sara Sanford offers a certified playbook that helps companies go beyond good intentions, using a data-driven standard to actively counter unconscious bias and foster gender equity -- by changing how workplaces operate, not just how people think.
Business management in China is changing, says consultant Fang Ruan. Learn how Chinese entrepreneurs -- long guided by Confucianism's emphasis on authority and regulation -- are now looking to Taoist philosophy for a new, dynamic leadership style that believes things spontaneously transform and naturally achieve perfection when they're supported, not controlled.
More than a billion people worldwide, mostly children, do not have a legal identity. In many countries, this means they can't get access to vital services like health care and education, says legal identity expert Kristen Wenz. She discusses why this problem is one of the greatest human rights violations of our time -- and shares five strategies to ensure everyone can get registered and protected.
In this talk and tech demo, filmmaker Diego Prilusky introduces the next chapter in moviemaking: volumetric video, a 360-degree experience powered by hundreds of cameras that capture light and motion from every angle. Check out how this technology creates a new type of immersive storytelling -- and catch Prilusky's reshoot of an iconic dance number from "Grease" captured with volumetric video.
The world's most valuable tech companies profit from the personal data you generate. So why aren't you getting paid for it? In this eye-opening talk, entrepreneur and technologist Jennifer Zhu Scott makes the case for private data ownership -- which would empower you to donate, destroy or sell your data as you see fit -- and shows how this growing movement could put power (and cash) back into the hands of people.
Air pollution knows no borders -- even in your own body, says public health expert María Neira. In this startling talk, she describes how the microscopic particles and chemicals you breathe affect all your major organs (including your brain) and calls on both the public and those in power to take action to stop the sources of pollution.
"Co-parenting" isn't a buzzword -- it's a way of showing up for your family openly, consistently and lovingly, says storyteller and father Joel Leon. In this moving talk, he challenges all parents to play an equal, active role in their children's daily lives, even in a world that often places the weight of sacrifice on mothers alone. Leon encourages nuanced conversations about parenting and reminds us that being a parent isn't a responsibility -- it's an opportunity.
In this hilarious, whirlwind tour of the last four billion years of evolution, paleontologist and TED Fellow Lauren Sallan introduces us to some of the wildly diverse animals that roamed the prehistoric planet (from sharks with wings to galloping crocodiles and long-necked rhinos) and shows why paleontology is about way more than dinosaurs.
When you think of fangirls, what comes to mind: large swaths of fandom (usually for a boyband) whose feelings culminate in tears and joyful screams? Perhaps you grimace or roll your eyes at the thought. In this fun, lively talk, playwright Yve Blake asks us to reevaluate our reaction to the misunderstood passion and power of fangirls, emphasizing why we should all embrace our own unbridled enthusiasm.
"Branding is the profound manifestation of the human spirit," says designer and podcaster Debbie Millman. In a historical odyssey that she illustrated herself, Millman traces the evolution of branding, from cave paintings to flags to beer labels and beyond. She explores the power of symbols to unite people, beginning with prehistoric communities who used them to represent beliefs and identify affiliations to modern companies that adopt logos and trademarks to market their products -- and explains how branding reflects the state of humanity.
A casual reverse-image search unleashed a nightmarish reality on Noelle Martin when she discovered her face edited into pornographic materials across the internet. Join Martin as she recounts years battling shadowy online figures to reclaim her identity, narrative and peace of mind -- and learn how she helped change Australian law. (This talk contains mature content.)
To save the achoque -- an exotic (and adorable) salamander found in a lake in northern Mexico -- scientists teamed up with an unexpected research partner: a group of nuns called the Sisters of the Immaculate Health. In this delightful talk, science journalist Victoria Gill shares the story of how this unusual collaboration saved the achoque from extinction -- and demonstrates how local and indigenous people could hold the secret to saving our planet's weird, wonderful and most threatened species.
"To make a difference in the life of a child ... I made the commitment to tell my personal story," says educator Lisa Godwin. In this moving talk, she shares her experience of overcoming childhood trauma with the quiet, unwavering support of a teacher and school counselor -- and shows how educators can help students and families navigate hardships by sharing their own stories.
The growth of online marketplaces like Uber, Airbnb and Amazon can sometimes threaten local businesses such as taxis, hotels and retail shops by taking away jobs or reducing income to the community. But it doesn't have to be this way, says strategy consultant Amane Dannouni. Pointing to examples like Gojek (Indonesia's Uber for motorbikes) and Jumia (Africa's version of Amazon), he explains how some online marketplaces make deliberate trade-offs to include, rather than replace, existing players in local economies -- benefiting everyone in the long run.
TED Fellow Alicia Eggert takes us on a visual tour of her work -- from a giant sculpture on an uninhabited island in Maine to an installation that inflates only when people hold hands to complete an electric current. Her work explores the power of art to inspire wonder and foster hope in dark times. As she puts it: "A brighter, more sustainable, more equitable future depends first on our ability to imagine it."
In a tech-obsessed culture, it can be difficult to build genuine relationships with people, especially in the workplace. Robert Reffkin shares his tips and tricks for establishing authentic connections on the job.
Quitting your job can be scary, but sometimes it's the best thing you can do for your career, says entrepreneur Chieh Huang. He shares how to know when it's time to move on -- and what can you do to prepare.
Taking control of our personal finances can feel overwhelming -- but it doesn't have to be. Thasunda Duckett shares how to minimize shame around money and start having honest conversations about how to save.
Humans have been coming up with ways to give constructive criticism for centuries, but somehow we're still pretty terrible at it. Cognitive psychologist LeeAnn Renninger shares a scientifically proven method for giving effective feedback.
"You can't just flip a switch when you step into the office and turn your emotions off. Feeling feelings is part of being human," says author and illustrator Liz Fosslien. She shares why selective vulnerability is the key to bringing your authentic self to work.
Our obsession with productivity -- to-do lists, life hacks, morning routines -- is making us less productive, says digital anthropologist Rahaf Harfoush. She explains why we need to redesign our workday around creativity -- not just efficiency.
In a world of endless reviews and options, it's easy to become paralyzed by indecision. Investor and writer Patrick McGinnis shares the dangers of "FOBO" -- the fear of better options -- and how to overcome it.
Imagine waking in the middle of the night to an elephant ripping the roof from your house in search of food. This is a reality in some communities in Africa where, as wild spaces shrink, people and elephants are competing for space and resources like never before. In this engaging talk, zoologist Lucy King shares her solution to the rising conflict: fences made from beehives that keep elephants at bay while also helping farmers establish new livelihoods.
Almost a billion people worldwide live in informal communities and slums, often without basic infrastructure like clean water, toilets or adequate roads. Urban planner Smruti Jukur Johari breaks down myths about these communities and shares examples of simple, common-sense solutions that arise when governments and architects work together with the residents -- instead of around them.
Tribology: it's a funny-sounding word you might not have heard before, but it could change how you see and interact with the physical world, says mechanical engineer Jennifer Vail. Offering lessons from tribology -- the study of friction and wear -- Vail describes the surprisingly varied ways it impacts everyday life and how it could help us make a better world.
As a medical clown, TED Resident Matthew A. Wilson takes the old adage that laughter is the best medicine very seriously. In this heartwarming talk, he shares glimpses of how clowning around can help patients (and medical staff) navigate stressful situations -- with no side effects.
Take a trip down the microworld as roboticists Paul McEuen and Marc Miskin explain how they design and mass-produce microrobots the size of a single cell, powered by atomically thin legs -- and show how these machines could one day be "piloted" to battle crop diseases or study your brain at the level of individual neurons.
Black history taught in US schools is often watered-down, riddled with inaccuracies and stripped of its context and rich, full-bodied historical figures. Equipped with the real story of Rosa Parks, professor David Ikard highlights how making the realities of race more benign and digestible harms us all -- and emphasizes the power and importance of historical accuracy.
"A political cartoon is a barometer of freedom," says Rayma Suprani, who was exiled from her native Venezuela for publishing work critical of the government. "That's why dictators hate cartoonists." In a talk illustrated with highlights from a career spent railing against totalitarianism, Suprani explores how cartoons hold a mirror to society and reveal hidden truths -- and discusses why she keeps drawing even when it comes at a high personal cost. (In Spanish with consecutive English translation)
Parasitic worms date back thousands of years, causing diseases that limit human potential. But today, effective treatment against them requires just a few pills, taken once or twice a year. With 1.7 billion people at risk of infection, Ellen Agler and her team at the END Fund are imagining a world without disease caused by worms. Learn about how they're seeking to lower treatment costs, amplify prevention, support governments and nurture local leadership. This ambitious plan is a part of The Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change. (Voiced by Ama Adi-Dako)
Here's a paradox: as companies try to streamline their businesses by using artificial intelligence to make critical decisions, they may inadvertently make themselves less efficient. Business technologist Sylvain Duranton advocates for a "Human plus AI" approach -- using AI systems alongside humans, not instead of them -- and shares the specific formula companies can adopt to successfully employ AI while keeping humans in the loop.
Using low-cost virtual reality, education activist Jessica Ochoa Hendrix helps bring science to life in schools across the US. In this quick talk, she explains how a VR experience she developed invites students to explore underwater ecosystems as if they're marine biologists -- and envision themselves in other careers they might not have otherwise imagined.
Some common life-saving medicines, such as insulin, are made of proteins so large and fragile that they need to be injected instead of ingested as pills. But a new generation of medicine -- made from smaller, more durable proteins known as peptides -- is on its way. In a quick, informative talk, molecular engineer and TED Fellow Christopher Bahl explains how he's using computational design to create powerful peptides that could one day neutralize the flu, protect against botulism poisoning and even stop cancer cells from growing.
Holocaust survivor Werner Reich recounts his harrowing adolescence as a prisoner transported between concentration camps -- and shares how a small, kind act can inspire a lifetime of compassion. "If you ever know somebody who needs help, if you know somebody who is scared, be kind to them," he says. "If you do it at the right time, it will enter their heart, and it will be with them wherever they go, forever."
When the ocean changes, the planet changes -- and it all starts with microbes, says biological oceanographer Angelicque White. Backed by decades of data, White shares how scientists use these ancient microorganisms as a crucial barometer of ocean health -- and how we might rejuvenate them as marine temperatures steadily rise.
If you: do laundry, are (or have been) pregnant, tidy up, shop for your household or do similar labor, then by GDP standards, you're unproductive. In this visionary talk, economist Marilyn Waring seeks to correct the failures of this narrow-minded system, detailing why we deserve a better way to measure growth that values not just our own livelihood but the planet's as well.
When we witness something amazing, many of us instinctively pull out our phones and snap pictures. Is this obsession with photographing everything impacting our experiences? In a meditative talk, Erin Sullivan reflects on how being more intentional with her lens enhanced her ability to enjoy the moment -- and could help you do the same, too.
There's no shortage of resources to help people change their health behaviors -- but far too often, these resources aren't accessible in underserved communities, says physician Priscilla Pemu. Enter "culturally congruent coaching," a program Pemu and her team developed to help patients with chronic diseases monitor their health with the assistance of a coach from their community. Learn more about how this approach transcends language and cultural barriers -- and could potentially transform health care in America.
By 2050, the global population is projected to reach 9.8 billion. How are we going to feed everyone? Investment-banker-turned-farmer Stuart Oda points to indoor vertical farming: growing food on tiered racks in a controlled, climate-proof environment. In a forward-looking talk, he explains how this method can maintain better safety standards, save money, use less water and help us provide for future generations.
"If DNA is the blueprint of life, enzymes are the laborers that carry out its instructions," says chemical biologist Adam Garske. In this fun talk and demo, he shows how scientists can now edit and design enzymes for specific functions -- to help treat diseases like diabetes, create energy-efficient laundry detergent and even capture greenhouse gases -- and performs his own enzyme experiment onstage.
"It shouldn't be an act of feminism to know how your body works," says gynecologist and author Jen Gunter. In this revelatory talk, she explains how menstrual shame silences and represses -- and leads to the spread of harmful misinformation and the mismanagement of pain. Declaring the era of the menstrual taboos over, she delivers a clear, much-needed lesson on the once-mysterious mechanics of the uterus.
You are more likely to die violently if you live in a middle-income democracy with high levels of inequality and political polarization than if you live in a country at war, says democracy advisor Rachel Kleinfeld. This historical shift in the nature of violence presents an opportunity for everyday voters to act as a great force for change in their unbalanced societies. In this eye-opening talk, Kleinfeld unravels the causes of violence and offers a path to security for the world's deadliest countries.
Between 2006 and 2016, the number of drug patents granted in the United States doubled -- but not because there was an explosion in invention or innovation. Drug companies have learned how to game the system, accumulating patents not for new medicines but for small changes to existing ones, which allows them to build monopolies, block competition and drive prices up. Health justice lawyer Priti Krishtel sheds light on how we've lost sight of the patent system's original intent -- and offers five reforms for a redesign that would serve the public and save lives.
Given the option, few would choose to buy products that harm the earth -- yet it's nearly impossible to know how most consumer goods are made or where they're sourced from. That's about to change, says supply chain innovator Markus Mutz. He shares how he used blockchain technology to track Patagonian toothfish on their journey from ocean to dinner plate -- and proved it's possible to offer consumers a product they can trust.
The United States can create a more humane immigration system; in fact, it's been done before, says policy analyst David J. Bier. Pointing to the historical success of the US guest worker program, which allows foreign workers to legally enter and work in the country, Bier shows why expanding the program to Central Americans could alleviate the border crisis and provide new opportunities for immigrants.
In this deeply charming and humorous talk, DJ and self-professed pirate Tom Nash meditates on how facing adversity due to disability invited patience, ambition and pragmatism into his life in enlightening, unexpected ways. "We all have unique weaknesses," he says. "If we're honest about what they are, we can learn how to best take advantage of them."
What if we could "grow" clothes from microbes, furniture from living organisms and buildings with exteriors like tree bark? TED Fellow Suzanne Lee shares exciting developments from the field of biofabrication and shows how it could help us replace major sources of waste, like plastic and cement, with sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives.
Scientists predict climate change will displace more than 180 million people by 2100 -- a crisis of "climate migration" the world isn't ready for, says disaster recovery lawyer and Louisiana native Colette Pichon Battle. In this passionate, lyrical talk, she urges us to radically restructure the economic and social systems that are driving climate migration -- and caused it in the first place -- and shares how we can cultivate collective resilience, better prepare before disaster strikes and advance human rights for all.
What if you never had to fill out paperwork again? In Estonia, this is a reality: citizens conduct nearly all public services online, from starting a business to voting from their laptops, thanks to the nation's ambitious post-Soviet digital transformation known as "e-Estonia." One of the program's experts, Anna Piperal, explains the key design principles that power the country's "e-government" -- and shows why the rest of the world should follow suit to eradicate outdated bureaucracy and regain citizens' trust.
We've all heard the theories on why the dinosaurs died -- but how did they come to dominate the earth for so long in the first place? (Hint: it has nothing to do with their size, speed, spikes or fantastic feathers.) Travel back in time to 200 million years before their extinction with paleontologist Emma Schachner for a breath of fresh air on dinosaur history.
The UN predicts that antimicrobial resistance will be our biggest killer by 2050. "That should really scare the hell out of all of us," says bioprocess engineer Leon Marchal. He's working on an urgently needed solution: transforming the massive, global animal feed industry. Learn why the overuse of antibiotics in animal products, from livestock feed to everyday pet treats, has skyrocketed worldwide -- and how we can take common-sense measures to stave off a potential epidemic.
Roughly 85 percent of mass in the universe is "dark matter" -- mysterious material that can't be directly observed but has an immense influence on the cosmos. What exactly is this strange stuff, and what does it have to do with our existence? Astrophysicist Risa Wechsler explores why dark matter may be the key to understanding how the universe formed -- and shares how physicists in labs around the world are coming up with creative ways to study it.
Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, killing more people each year than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murder and suicide combined. Follow health policy expert Mitch Zeller into the murky depths of the tobacco industry as he details the sordid history of nicotine addiction -- and invites us to imagine a world where policy change helps stop people from becoming addicted in the first place.
How can we tap into the potential of all students, especially those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds? Sociologist Anindya Kundu invites us to take a deeper look at the personal, social and institutional challenges that keep students from thriving in the United States -- and shows how closing this "opportunity gap" means valuing public education for what it really is: the greatest investment in our collective future.
In a complex and changing world, how can we make sure unconventional people and their ideas thrive? Business executive Ipsita Dasgupta introduces the concept of "co-conspirators" -- people willing to bend or break the rules to challenge the status quo -- and shows how they can help create new ways of thinking, acting and being.
Pat Mitchell has nothing left to prove and much less to lose -- she's become a "dangerous woman." Not dangerous as in feared, she says, but fearless: a force to be reckoned with. In this powerful call to action, Mitchell invites all women, men and allies to join her in embracing the risks necessary to create a world where safety, respect and truth burn brighter than the darkness of our current times.
After being diagnosed with a rare genetic condition that deteriorates muscle, Cara E. Yar Khan was told she'd have to limit her career ambitions and dial down her dreams. She ignored that advice and instead continued to pursue her biggest ambitions. In this powerful, moving talk, she shares her philosophy for working on the projects that matter to her most -- while letting courage and fear coexist. Watch for heart-stopping, vertigo-inducing footage of a trip that shows her living her theory to the full.
Valorie Kondos Field knows a lot about winning. As the longtime coach of the UCLA women's gymnastics team, she won championship after championship and has been widely acclaimed for her leadership. In this inspiring, brutally honest and, at times, gut-wrenching talk, she shares the secret to her success. Hint: it has nothing to do with "winning."
Feeling burned out? You may be spending too much time ruminating about your job, says psychologist Guy Winch. Learn how to stop worrying about tomorrow's tasks or stewing over office tensions with three simple techniques aimed at helping you truly relax and recharge after work.
Humanity is on its way to creating a "black ball": a technological breakthrough that could destroy us all, says philosopher Nick Bostrom. In this incisive, surprisingly light-hearted conversation with Head of TED Chris Anderson, Bostrom outlines the vulnerabilities we could face if (or when) our inventions spiral beyond our control -- and explores how we can prevent our future demise.
In a world that's wasting more food than ever before, why do one in nine people still go to bed hungry each night? Social entrepreneur Jasmine Crowe calls for a radical transformation to our fight to end global hunger -- challenging us to rethink our routine approaches to addressing food insecurity and sharing how we can use technology to gather unused food and deliver it directly to people in need.
Fake news can sway elections, tank economies and sow discord in everyday life. Data scientist Sinan Aral demystifies how and why it spreads so quickly -- citing one of the largest studies on misinformation -- and identifies five strategies to help us unweave the tangled web between true and false.
We are all connected by the spectacular birth, death and rebirth of stars, says astrophysicist Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz. Journey through the cosmic history of the universe as Ramirez-Ruiz explains how supernovas forged the elements of life to create everything from the air you breathe to the very atoms that make you.
Your lifelong health may have been decided the day you were born, says microbiome researcher Henna-Maria Uusitupa. In this fascinating talk, she shows how the gut microbes you acquire during birth and as an infant impact your health into adulthood -- and discusses new microbiome research that could help tackle problems like obesity and diabetes.
Water is essential to life. Yet in the eyes of the law, it remains largely unprotected -- leaving many communities without access to safe drinking water, says legal scholar Kelsey Leonard. In this powerful talk, she shows why granting lakes and rivers legal "personhood" -- giving them the same legal rights as humans -- is the first step to protecting our bodies of water and fundamentally transforming how we value this vital resource.
To address the problem of counterfeit goods, African entrepreneurs like Bright Simons have come up with innovative and effective ways to confirm products are genuine. Now he asks: Why aren't these solutions everywhere? From password-protected medicines to digitally certified crops, Simons demonstrates the power of local ideas -- and calls on the rest of the world to listen up.
What's the difference between heroes and leaders? In this insightful talk, Lorna Davis explains how our idolization of heroes is holding us back from solving big problems -- and shows why we need "radical interdependence" to make real change happen.
Where does wealth come from, who creates it and what destroys it? In this deep dive into global economics, Mariana Mazzucato explains how we lost sight of what value means and why we need to rethink our current financial systems -- so capitalism can be steered toward a bold, innovative and sustainable future that works for all of us.
Is our obsession with efficiency actually making us less efficient? In this revelatory talk, writer and historian Edward Tenner discusses the promises and dangers of our drive to get things done as quickly as possible -- and suggests seven ways we can use "inspired inefficiency" to be more productive.
At age 81, actor and activist Jane Fonda is putting herself on the line for the planet -- literally. In a video interview with TEDWomen curator Pat Mitchell, Fonda speaks about getting arrested multiple times during Fire Drill Fridays, the weekly climate demonstrations she leads in Washington, DC -- and discusses why civil disobedience is becoming a new normal in the age of climate change.
Why does modern technology promise efficiency, but leave us constantly feeling pressed for time? Anthropologist Kathryn Bouskill explores the paradoxes of living in a fast-paced society and explains why we need to reconsider the importance of slowing down in a world that demands go, go, go.
Genuine apology goes beyond remorse, says legendary playwright Eve Ensler. In this frank, wrenching talk, she shares how she transformed her own experience of abuse into wisdom on what wrongdoers can do and say to truly repent -- and offers a four-step roadmap to help begin the process. (This talk contains mature content.)
Step into artist Cornelia Geppert's visually stunning video game "Sea of Solitude," which explores how battling the "monsters" of loneliness and self-doubt can help us better grapple with the complexity and struggles of mental health.
Ever gaze up at the starry night sky? This stunning view is at risk of disappearing -- unless we act now, says astrophysicist Kelsey Johnson. In this fascinating, unexpectedly funny talk, she explains how light pollution affects almost every species on earth (including us) and shares five "stupidly simple" things you can do to help solve the problem.
How do you raise money to get an idea off the ground, support a community, or help change the world? Take a crash course on the secret art of successful fundraising with development strategist Kara Logan Berlin as she shows how you can learn to ask for the resources you need -- and get them, too.
What kinds of stories move us to act? To answer this question, creative technologist Heidi Boisvert is measuring how people's brains and bodies unconsciously respond to different media. She shows how she's using this data to determine the specific narrative ingredients that inspire empathy and justice -- and spark large-scale social change.
Alejandro Durán uses art to spotlight the ongoing destruction of our oceans' ecosystems. In this breathtaking talk, he shows how he meticulously organizes and reuses plastic waste from around the world that washes up on the Caribbean coast of Mexico -- everything from water bottles to prosthetic legs -- to create vivid, environmental artworks that may leave you mesmerized and shocked.
Ever wondered how your smartphone works? Take a journey down to the atomic level with scientist Cathy Mulzer, who reveals how almost every component of our high-powered devices exists thanks to chemists -- and not the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs that come to most people's minds. As she puts it: "Chemistry is the hero of electronic communications."
Have you ever doubted your abilities, feared you were going to be discovered as a "fraud"? That's called "impostor syndrome," and you're definitely not alone in feeling it, says entrepreneur and CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes. In this funny, relatable talk, he shares how his own experiences of impostor syndrome helped pave the way to his success -- and shows how you can use it to your advantage, too.
In India (and many other countries), girls and women still find themselves silenced by traditional rules of politeness and restraint, says social scientist Deepa Narayan. In this frank talk, she identifies seven deeply entrenched norms that reinforce inequality -- and calls on men to help usher in change.
What happens when humans and robots make art together? In this awe-inspiring talk, artist Sougwen Chung shows how she "taught" her artistic style to a machine -- and shares the results of their collaboration after making an unexpected discovery: robots make mistakes, too. "Part of the beauty of human and machine systems is their inherent, shared fallibility," she says.
Could the strange orbits of small, distant objects in our solar system lead us to a big discovery? Planetary astronomer Mike Brown proposes the existence of a new, giant planet lurking in the far reaches of our solar system -- and shows us how traces of its presence might already be staring us in the face.
As many as 3,000 languages could disappear within the next 80 years, all but silencing entire cultures. In this quick talk, language activist Daniel Bögre Udell shows how people around the world are finding new ways to revive ancestral languages and rebuild their traditions -- and encourages us all to investigate the tongues of our ancestors. "Reclaiming your language and embracing your culture is a powerful way to be yourself," he says.
Artist LaToya Ruby Frazier spent five months living in Flint, Michigan, documenting the lives of those affected by the city's water crisis for her photo essay "Flint is Family." As the crisis dragged on, she realized it was going to take more than a series of photos to bring relief. In this inspiring, surprising talk, she shares the creative lengths she went to in order to bring free, clean water to the people of Flint.
There are more than 10,000 nuclear weapons in existence today, each one capable of causing immense destruction. Why don't we talk about this threat as much as some other major issues? In this practical talk, nuclear security expert Emma Belcher shares three questions you can ask your elected officials to gain a better understanding of nuclear weapons and the measures we need to stay safe.
Why do we make poor decisions that we know are bad for our health? In this frank, funny talk, behavioral economist and health policy expert David Asch explains why our behavior is often irrational -- in highly predictable ways -- and shows how we can harness this irrationality to make better decisions and improve our health care system overall.
India's big cities have some of the worst air quality in the world. How can we fix this public health crisis? In an actionable talk, social entrepreneur Arunabha Ghosh lays out a five-step plan to put India on the path to cleaner, safer air -- and shows how every citizen can play an active role in getting there.
What's the best way to get people to change their behavior? In this funny, information-packed talk, psychologist Dan Ariely explores why we make bad decisions even when we know we shouldn't -- and discusses a couple tricks that could get us to do the right thing (even if it's for the wrong reason).
Companies often target consumers based on gender, but this kind of advertising shortcut doesn't just perpetuate outdated stereotypes -- it's also bad for business, says marketing expert Gaby Barrios. In this clear, actionable talk, she explains why gender-based marketing doesn't drive business nearly as much as you might think -- and shows how companies can find better ways to reach customers and grow their brands.
At the US-Mexico border, policies of prolonged detention and family separation have made seeking asylum in the United States difficult and dangerous. In this raw and heartfelt talk, immigration attorney Erika Pinheiro offers a glimpse into her daily work on both sides of the border and shares some of the stories behind the statistics -- including her own story of being detained and separated from her son. It's a clear-eyed call to remember the humanity that's impacted by policy -- and a warning: "History shows us that the first population to be vilified and stripped of their rights is rarely the last," she says.
Teachers emotionally support our kids -- but who's supporting our teachers? In this eye-opening talk, educator Sydney Jensen explores how teachers are at risk of "secondary trauma" -- the idea that they absorb the emotional weight of their students' experiences -- and shows how schools can get creative in supporting everyone's mental health and wellness.
In this quick, fun talk, astronaut Cady Coleman welcomes us aboard the International Space Station, where she spent nearly six months doing experiments that expanded the frontiers of science. Hear what it's like to fly to work, sleep without gravity and live life hurtling at 17,500 miles per hour around the Earth. "The space station is the place where mission and magic come together," Coleman says.
In this glimpse into our technological future, cryptographer Craig Costello discusses the world-altering potential of quantum computers, which could shatter the limits set by today's machines -- and give code breakers a master key to the digital world. See how Costello and his fellow cryptographers are racing to reinvent encryption and secure the internet.
We're in the dawn of a new space revolution, says engineer Peter Beck: the revolution of the small. In a talk packed with insights into the state of the space industry, Beck shares his work building rockets capable of delivering small payloads to space rapidly and reliably -- helping us search for extraterrestrial life, learn more about the solar system and create a global internet network.
India has one of the world's highest rates of plastic recycling, thanks largely to an extensive network of informal recyclers known as "kabadiwalas." Entrepreneur Mani Vajipey discusses his work to organize their massive efforts into a collection system that could put India on the path to ending plastic pollution -- and show the rest of the world how to do it, too.
Human rights protector Rabiaa El Garani shares the challenging, heartbreaking story of sexual violence committed against Yazidi women and girls in Iraq by ISIS -- and her work seeking justice for the survivors. "These victims have been through unimaginable pain. But with a little help, they show how resilient they are," she says. "It is an honor to bear witness; it is a privilege to seek justice." (This talk contains mature content.)
In this lively talk and performance, artist and TED Fellow Amma Y. Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin offers a sneak peek of her forthcoming musical "At Buffalo." Drawing on archival material from the 1901 Pan-American Exhibition, a world's fair held in Buffalo, New York, the show examines conflicting representations of black identity exhibited at the fair -- highlighting unsettlingly familiar parallels between American society at the turn of the century and today, and asking: Are we all still part of the show?
Taking inspiration from nature, architect Ma Yansong designs breathtaking buildings that break free from the boxy symmetry of so many modern cities. His exuberant and graceful work -- from a pair of curvy skyscrapers that "dance" with each other to an opera house that looks like a snow-capped mountain -- shows us the beauty of architecture that defies norms.
Social media has become our new home. Can we build it better? Taking design cues from urban planners and social scientists, technologist Eli Pariser shows how the problems we're encountering on digital platforms aren't all that new -- and shares how, by following the model of thriving towns and cities, we can create trustworthy online communities.
How did the US immigration debate get to be so divisive? In this informative talk, historian and writer Paul A. Kramer shows how an "insider vs. outsider" framing has come to dominate the way people in the US talk about immigration -- and suggests a set of new questions that could reshape the conversation around whose life, rights and thriving matters.
Imagine living with no significant human contact for years, even decades, in a cell the size of a small bathroom. This is the reality for those in long-term solitary confinement, a form of imprisonment regularly imposed in US prisons. In this eye-opening talk, civil rights lawyer Laura Rovner takes us to ADX, the US federal government's only supermax prison, and describes the dehumanizing effects of long-term solitude on the mind, personality and sense of self. What emerges is an urgent case for abolishing solitary confinement -- and evidence for how our tax dollars, public safety and values are implicated in it. "Prisons are administered in our name and on our behalf," she says. "We have an obligation to bear witness."
Tashka and Laura Yawanawá lead the Yawanawá people in Acre, Brazil -- a tribe that stewards almost 500,000 acres of Amazon rainforest. As footage of the Amazon burning shocks the world's consciousness, Tashka and Laura call for us to transform this moment into an opportunity to support indigenous people who have the experience, knowledge and tools needed to protect the land.
Dive into the deep with open water swimmer Bhakti Sharma, as she shares what she learned about resilience during her personal journey from the scorching heat of Rajasthan, India to the bone-chilling waters of her record-breaking swim in Antarctica and her courageous crossing of the English Channel. "In the middle of the ocean, there is nowhere to hide," Sharma says.
As a "corporate suit" (his words) and former VP of sustainability at McDonald's, Bob Langert works with companies and their strongest critics to find solutions that are good for both business and society. In this actionable talk, he shares stories from the decades-long transition into corporate sustainability at McDonald's -- including his work with unlikely partners like the Environmental Defense Fund and Temple Grandin -- and shows why your adversaries can sometimes be your best allies.
The cells in your body are like computer software: they're "programmed" to carry out specific functions at specific times. If we can better understand this process, we could unlock the ability to reprogram cells ourselves, says computational biologist Sara-Jane Dunn. In a talk from the cutting-edge of science, she explains how her team is studying embryonic stem cells to gain a new understanding of the biological programs that power life -- and develop "living software" that could transform medicine, agriculture and energy.
Stories help you make sense of your life -- but when these narratives are incomplete or misleading, they can keep you stuck instead of providing clarity. In an actionable talk, psychotherapist and advice columnist Lori Gottlieb shows how to break free from the stories you've been telling yourself by becoming your own editor and rewriting your narrative from a different point of view.
Could we anticipate the next big disease outbreak, stopping a virus like Ebola before it ever strikes? In this talk about frontline scientific research, ecologist Daniel Streicker takes us to the Amazon rainforest in Peru where he tracks the movement of vampire bats in order to forecast and prevent rabies outbreaks. By studying these disease patterns, Streicker shows how we could learn to cut off the next pandemic at its source.
Got an idea to make your workplace better? Labor organizer and TED Fellow Jess Kutch can show you how to put it into action. In this quick talk, she explains how "productive conflict" -- when people organize to challenge and change their work lives for the better -- can be beneficial for employees and employers alike.
Resource inequality is one of our greatest challenges, but it's not unique to humans. Like us, mycorrhizal fungi that live in plant and tree roots strategically trade, steal and withhold resources, displaying remarkable parallels to humans in their capacity to be opportunistic (and sometimes ruthless) -- all in the absence of cognition. In a mind-blowing talk, evolutionary biologist Toby Kiers shares what fungi networks and relationships reveal about human economies, and what they can tell us about inequality.
Millions of images and videos are uploaded to the internet each day, yet we rarely see shocking and disturbing content in our social media feeds. Who's keeping the internet "clean" for us? In this eye-opening talk, documentarians Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck take us inside the shadowy world of online content moderators -- the people contracted by major platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google to rid the internet of toxic material. Learn more about the psychological impact of this kind of work -- and how "digital cleaning" influences what all of us see and think.
Many diseases are driven by metabolites -- small molecules in your body like fat, glucose and cholesterol -- but we don't know exactly what they are or how they work. Biotech entrepreneur and TED Fellow Leila Pirhaji shares her plan to build an AI-based network to characterize metabolite patterns, better understand how disease develops -- and discover more effective treatments.
Energy poverty, or the lack of access to electricity and other basic energy services, affects nearly two-thirds of Sub-Saharan Africa. As the region's population continues to increase, so will the need to build a new energy system to grow with it, says Rose M. Mutiso. In a bold talk, she discusses how a balanced mix of solutions like solar, wind farms, geothermal power and modern grids could create a high-energy future for Africa -- providing reliable electricity, creating jobs and raising incomes.
Neuroscientist Beau Lotto conducted an ambitious study with Cirque du Soleil on the emotion of awe and its psychological and behavioral benefits. In this talk and live performance, he shares some of their findings -- and stands back as Cirque du Soleil dancers create their own awe-inducing spectacle.
How can we stop the spread of misleading, sometimes dangerous content while maintaining an internet with freedom of expression at its core? Misinformation expert Claire Wardle explores the new challenges of our polluted online environment and maps out a plan to transform the internet into a place of trust -- with the help everyday users. "Together, let's rebuild our information commons," she says.
Mangrove forests are crucial to the health of the planet, gobbling up CO2 from the atmosphere and providing a home for a diverse array of species. But these rich habitats are under continual threat from deforestation and industry. In an empowering talk, conservationist and TED Fellow Ashwin Naidu shares how community-driven efforts in South and Southeast Asia are working to protect mangroves -- all with a little help from the mysterious and endangered fishing cat.
On the heels of the breakout success of his film "Crazy Rich Asians," director Jon M. Chu reflects on what drives him to create -- and makes a resounding case for the power of connection and on-screen representation.
How do you fix broken public systems? You spark people's competitive spirit. In a talk about getting people motivated to make change, public sector strategist Abhishek Gopalka discusses how he helped improve the health system of Rajasthan, a state in India home to more than 80 million people, using the powers of transparency and public accountability. "Motivation doesn't just appear," Gopalka says. "Something needs to change to make you care."
The danger of artificial intelligence isn't that it's going to rebel against us, but that it's going to do exactly what we ask it to do, says AI researcher Janelle Shane. Sharing the weird, sometimes alarming antics of AI algorithms as they try to solve human problems -- like creating new ice cream flavors or recognizing cars on the road -- Shane shows why AI doesn't yet measure up to real brains.
Fashion designers have the power to change culture -- and Becca McCharen-Tran is using her platform to expand the industry's narrow definition of beauty. Sharing highlights of her work, McCharen-Tran discusses the inspiration behind her norm-shattering designs and shows how she's celebrating beauty in all forms. "I want the consumer to know that it's not your body that needs to change -- it's the clothes," she says.
What if we could diagnose some of the world's deadliest diseases by the smells our bodies give off? In a fascinating talk and live demo, biologist James Logan introduces Freya, a malaria-sniffing dog, to show how we can harness the awesome powers of animal scent to detect chemical signatures associated with infection -- and change the way we diagnose disease.
Ninety-nine percent of cancer drugs never make it to tumors, getting washed out of the body before they have time to do their job. How can we better deliver life-saving drugs? Cancer researcher Joy Wolfram shares cutting-edge medical research into nanoparticles -- tiny particles that could be used to deliver drugs accurately to tumors -- and explains how they could keep drugs in the body longer to attack malignant cells.
Over the course of hundreds of scuba dives, marine biologist Ayana Elizabeth Johnson fell in love -- with a fish. In this ode to parrotfish, she shares five reasons why these creatures are simply amazing (from their ability to poop white sand to make colorful "wardrobe changes") and shows what's at stake -- for us and them -- as climate change threatens the future of coral reefs.
We need a radically new approach to ocean conservation, says marine biologist and TED Fellow Alasdair Harris. In a visionary talk, he lays out a surprising solution to the problem of overfishing that could both revive marine life and rebuild local fisheries -- all by taking less from the ocean. "When we design it right, marine conservation reaps dividends that go far beyond protecting nature," he says.
During the winter of 2018-2019, one million tons of salt were applied to icy roads in the state of Pennsylvania alone. The salt from industrial uses like this often ends up in freshwater rivers, making their water undrinkable and contributing to a growing global crisis. How can we better protect these precious natural resources? Physical organic chemist Tina Arrowood shares a three-step plan to keep salt out of rivers -- and create a circular salt economy that turns industrial byproducts into valuable resources.
How does psychological trauma affect children's developing brains? In this powerful talk, social worker Luis H. Zayas discusses his work with refugees and asylum-seeking families at the US-Mexico border. What emerges is a stunning analysis of the long-term impact of the US's controversial detention and child separation policies -- and practical steps for how the country can do better.
Over his eight-year prison sentence, Marcus Bullock was sustained by his mother's love -- and by the daily letters and photos she sent of life on the outside. Years later, as an entrepreneur, Bullock asked himself: How can I make it easier for all families to stay connected during incarceration? Enter FlikShop: an app he developed that lets families send quick postcards to loved ones in prison and help keep open a critical line of support.
Social entrepreneur Julie Cordua works on a problem that isn't easy to talk about: the sexual abuse of children in images and videos on the internet. At Thorn, she's building technology to connect the dots between the tech industry, law enforcement and government -- so we can swiftly end the viral distribution of abuse material and rescue children faster. Learn more about how this scalable solution could help dismantle the communities normalizing child sexual abuse around the world today. (This ambitious plan is part of the Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)
Theoretical physicist David Deutsch delivers a mind-bending meditation on the "great monotony" -- the idea that nothing novel has appeared in the universe for billions of years -- and shows how humanity's capacity to create explanatory knowledge could be the thing that bucks this trend. "Humans are not playthings of cosmic forces," he says. "We are users of cosmic forces."
"Dance can elevate our human experience beyond words," says Judith Jamison, artistic director emerita of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In between performances of excerpts from Alvin Ailey's classic works "Revelations" and "Cry," Jamison reflects on the enduring power of dance to transform history into art that thrills audiences around the world. (Performances by Solomon Dumas, Samantha Figgins and Constance Stamatiou)
Most of us know Bruce Lee as the famous martial artist and action film star -- but he was also a philosopher who taught "self-actualization": the practice of how to be yourself in the best way possible. In this inspiring talk, Bruce's daughter Shannon Lee takes us inside the mind of her father, exploring how to use his philosophy in your daily life to achieve profound personal growth and make a lasting impact.
Nearly 800 million people worldwide depend on cassava for survival -- but this critical food source is under attack by entirely preventable viruses, says computational biologist and TED Senior Fellow Laura Boykin. She takes us to the farms in East Africa where she's working with a diverse team of scientists to help farmers keep their crops healthy using a portable DNA lab and mini supercomputer that can identify viruses in hours, instead of months.
In this powerful, personal talk, author and academic Juan Enriquez shares stories from inside the immigration crisis at the US-Mexico border, bringing this often-abstract debate back down to earth -- and showing what you can do every day to create a sense of belonging for immigrants. "This isn't about kids and borders," he says. "It's about us. This is about who we are, who we the people are, as a nation and as individuals."
Plastic is an incredible substance for the economy -- and the worst substance possible for the environment, says entrepreneur Andrew Forrest. In a conversation meant to spark debate, Forrest and head of TED Chris Anderson discuss an ambitious plan to get the world's biggest companies to fund an environmental revolution -- and transition industry towards getting all of its plastic from recycled materials, not from fossil fuels.
Local reporters are on the front lines of important stories, but their work often goes unnoticed by national and international news outlets. TED Fellow and journalist Gangadhar Patil is working to change that. In this quick talk, he shows how he's connecting grassroots reporters in India with major news outlets worldwide -- and helping elevate and expose stories that might never get covered otherwise.
A full third of the world's population -- 2.6 billion people -- play video games, plugging into massive networks of interaction that have opened up opportunities well beyond entertainment. In a talk about the future of the medium, entrepreneur Herman Narula makes the case for a new understanding of gaming -- one that includes the power to create new worlds, connect people and shape the economy.
Exactly when and where did life on Earth begin? Scientists have long thought that it emerged three billion years ago in the ocean -- until astrobiologist Tara Djokic and her team made an unexpected discovery in the western Australian desert. Learn how an ancient rock found near a hot volcanic pool is shifting our understanding of the origin-of-life puzzle.
Traditional thinking on corruption goes like this: if you put good laws in place and enforce them well, then economic development increases and corruption falls. In reality, we have the equation backwards, says innovation researcher Efosa Ojomo. In this compelling talk, he offers new thinking on how we could potentially eliminate corruption worldwide by focusing on one thing: scarcity. "Societies don't develop because they've reduced corruption," he says. "They're able to reduce corruption because they've developed."
Civilization rests upon the existence of language, says language creator David Peterson. In a talk that's equal parts passionate and hilarious, he shows how studying, preserving and inventing new languages helps us understand our collective humanity -- and gives a quick lesson on High Valyrian, one of two languages he created for "Game of Thrones" (along with Dothraki). "Language is not merely a tool," he says. "It is our legacy, it's our way of conveying what it means to be human."
With fascinating research and hilarious anecdotes, neuroscientist Camilla Arndal Andersen takes us into the lab where she studies people's sense of taste via brain scans. She reveals surprising insights about the way our brains subconsciously experience food -- and shows how this data could help us eat healthier without sacrificing taste.
The US health care system assumes many things about patients: that they can take off from work in the middle of the day, speak English, have a working telephone and a steady supply of food. Because of that, it's failing many of those who are most in need, says Mitchell Katz, CEO of the largest public health care system in the US. In this eye-opening talk, he shares stories of the challenges low-income patients face -- and how we can build a better system for all.
Conservationist and TED Fellow Moreangels Mbizah studied the famous Cecil the lion until he was shot by a trophy hunter in 2015. She wonders how things could've gone differently, asking: "What if the community that lived next to Cecil was involved in protecting him?" In a quick talk, Mbizah shares the state of conservation in her home of Zimbabwe -- and why she thinks that communities living with wildlife are the ones best positioned to help them.
The average farmer in America makes less than 15 cents of every dollar on a product that you purchase at a store. They feed our communities, but farmers often cannot afford the very foods they grow. In this actionable talk, social entrepreneur Mohammad Modarres shows how to put your purchasing power into action to save local agriculture from collapse and transform the food industry from the bottom up.
Artist Sarah Sze takes us on a kaleidoscopic journey through her work: immersive installations as tall as buildings, splashed across walls, orbiting through galleries -- blurring the lines between time, memory and space. Explore how we give meaning to objects in this beautiful tour of Sze's experiential, multimedia art.
In a hopeful talk followed by an empowering performance, musician and TED Fellow Muthoni Drummer Queen shares how industries like music, film and fashion provide a platform for Africans to broadcast their rich and diverse talents -- and explains how the shared experience of creativity can replace attitudes of exclusionism and othering with acceptance and self-love.
Artist Sam Van Aken shares the breathtaking work behind the "Tree of 40 Fruit," an ongoing series of hybridized fruit trees that grow 40 different varieties of peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines and cherries -- all on the same tree. What began as an art project to showcase beautiful, multi-hued blossoms has become a living archive of rare heirloom specimens and their histories, a hands-on (and delicious!) way to teach people about cultivation and a vivid symbol of the need for biodiversity to ensure food security. "More than just food, embedded in these fruit is our culture ... In many ways, these fruit are our story," Van Aken says.
"Building a 30-foot-high concrete structure from sea to shining sea is the most expensive and least effective way to do border security," says Congressman Will Hurd, a Republican from Texas whose district encompasses two times zones and shares an 820-mile border with Mexico. Speaking from Washington, DC in a video interview with former state attorney general Anne Milgram, Hurd discusses the US government's border policy and its controversial detention and child separation practices -- and lays out steps toward a better future at the border. (Recorded at the TED World Theater in New York on September 10, 2019)
Computational geneticist Yaniv Erlich helped build the world's largest family tree -- comprising 13 million people and going back more than 500 years. He shares fascinating patterns that emerged from the work -- about our love lives, our health, even decades-old criminal cases -- and shows how crowdsourced genealogy databases can shed light not only on the past but also on the future.
As a sex educator, Emily Nagoski is often asked: How do couples sustain a strong sexual connection over the long term? In this funny, insightful talk, she shares her answer -- drawing on (somewhat surprising) research to reveal why some couples stop having sex while others keep up a connection for a lifetime.
It's time for planetary-scale interventions to combat climate change -- and environmentalist Tim Flannery thinks seaweed can help. In a bold talk, he shares the epic carbon-capturing potential of seaweed, explaining how oceangoing seaweed farms created on a massive scale could trap all the carbon we emit into the atmosphere. Learn more about this potentially planet-saving solution -- and the work that's still needed to get there.
"Girls' education is the closest thing we have to a silver bullet to help solve some of the world's most difficult problems," says social entrepreneur Safeena Husain. In a visionary talk, she shares her plan to enroll a staggering 1.6 million girls in school over the next five years -- combining advanced analytics with door-to-door community engagement to create new educational pathways for girls in India. (This ambitious plan is part of the Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)
We need a global weather service for water, says entrepreneur and TED Fellow Sonaar Luthra. In a talk about environmental accountability, Luthra shows how we could forecast water shortages and risks with a global data collection effort -- just like we monitor the movement of storms -- and better listen to what the earth is telling us.
"Doctor, is this really necessary?" Backed by startling statistics about overtreatment, neurosurgeon Christer Mjåset explains the power of this and other simple questions in the context of medical treatment and surgery -- and shares how patients can better work with doctors to get the care they need.
In a moving talk, journalist Johann Hari shares fresh insights on the causes of depression and anxiety from experts around the world -- as well as some exciting emerging solutions. "If you're depressed or anxious, you're not weak and you're not crazy -- you're a human being with unmet needs," Hari says.
To study a system as complex as the entire universe, astrophysicists need to be experts at extracting simple solutions from large data sets. What else could they do with this expertise? In an interdisciplinary talk, TED Fellow and astrophysicist Federica Bianco explains how she uses astrophysical data analysis to solve urban and social problems -- as well as stellar mysteries.
We need humor like we need the air we breathe, says editorial cartoonist Patrick Chappatte. In a talk illustrated with highlights from a career spent skewering everything from dictators and ideologues to selfies and social media mobs, Chappatte makes a resounding, often hilarious case for the necessity of satire. "Political cartoons were born with democracy, and they are challenged when freedom is," he says.
Rising carbon levels in the atmosphere can make plants grow faster, but there's another hidden consequence: they rob plants of the nutrients and vitamins we need to survive. In a talk about global food security, epidemiologist Kristie Ebi explores the potentially massive health consequences of this growing nutrition crisis -- and explores the steps we can take to ensure all people have access to safe, healthy food.
In a talk and demo, Twitch cofounder Emmett Shear shares his vision for the future of interactive entertainment -- and explains how video game streaming is helping people build communities online. "I am excited for a world where our entertainment could connect us instead of isolating us -- a world where we can bond with each other over our shared interests and create real, strong communities," Shear says.
Rising inequality and growing political instability are the direct result of decades of bad economic theory, says entrepreneur Nick Hanauer. In a visionary talk, he dismantles the mantra that "greed is good" -- an idea he describes as not only morally corrosive, but also scientifically wrong -- and lays out a new theory of economics powered by reciprocity and cooperation.
Community organizer Raj Jayadev wants to transform the US court system through "participatory defense" -- a growing movement that empowers families and community members to impact their loved ones' court cases. He shares the remarkable results of their work -- including more than 4,000 years of "time saved" from incarceration -- and shows how this new model could shift the landscape of power in the courts.
Reading slowly -- with her finger running beneath the words, even when she was taught not to -- has led Jacqueline Woodson to a life of writing books to be savored. In a lyrical talk, she invites us to slow down and appreciate stories that take us places we never thought we'd go and introduce us to people we never thought we'd meet. "Isn't that what this is all about -- finding a way, at the end of the day, to not feel alone in this world, and a way to feel like we've changed it before we leave?" she asks.
The use of deepfake technology to manipulate video and audio for malicious purposes -- whether it's to stoke violence or defame politicians and journalists -- is becoming a real threat. As these tools become more accessible and their products more realistic, how will they shape what we believe about the world? In a portentous talk, law professor Danielle Citron reveals how deepfakes magnify our distrust -- and suggests approaches to safeguarding the truth.
"A record of our emotional life is written on our hearts," says cardiologist and author Sandeep Jauhar. In a stunning talk, he explores the mysterious ways our emotions impact the health of our hearts -- causing them to change shape in response to grief or fear, to literally break in response to emotional heartbreak -- and calls for a shift in how we care for our most vital organ.
Carl June is the pioneer behind CAR T-cell therapy: a groundbreaking cancer treatment that supercharges part of a patient's own immune system to attack and kill tumors. In a talk about a breakthrough, he shares how three decades of research culminated in a therapy that's eradicated cases of leukemia once thought to be incurable -- and explains how it could be used to fight other types of cancer.
When we define racism as behaviors instead of feelings, we can measure it -- and transform it from an impossible problem into a solvable one, says justice scientist Phillip Atiba Goff. In an actionable talk, he shares his work at the Center for Policing Equity, an organization that helps police departments diagnose and track racial gaps in policing in order to eliminate them. Learn more about their data-driven approach -- and how you can get involved with the work that still needs to be done. (This ambitious plan is part of the Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)
"I dream of a world where geography classes teach about the climate crisis as this one great challenge that was won by people like you and me," says climate activist Luisa Neubauer. With Greta Thunberg, Neubauer helped initiate "Fridays For Future," the momentous international school strike movement that protests the lack of action on the climate crisis. She shares four first steps that anyone, regardless of age, can take to become a climate activist. "This is not a job for a single generation. This is a job for humanity," she says.
Journalist Andrew Marantz spent three years embedded in the world of internet trolls and social media propagandists, seeking out the people who are propelling fringe talking points into the heart of conversation online and trying to understand how they're making their ideas spread. Go down the rabbit hole of online propaganda and misinformation -- and learn we can start to make the internet less toxic.
In a hilarious, completely improvised talk, improv master Anthony Veneziale takes to the TED stage for a truly one-of-a-kind performance. Armed with an audience-suggested topic ("stumbling towards intimacy") and a deck of slides he's never seen before, Veneziale crafts a meditation on the intersection of love, language and ... avocados?
"The free, online, mainstream pornography that teenagers are most likely to see is a completely terrible form of sex education," says public health researcher Emily F. Rothman. She shares how her mission to end dating and sexual violence led her to create a pornography literacy program that helps teens learn about consent and respect -- and invites them to think critically about sexually explicit media.
In spring 2019, more than 17,000 Europeans from 33 countries signed up to have a political argument with a complete stranger. They were part of "Europe Talks," a project that organizes one-on-one conversations between people who disagree -- sort of like a Tinder for politics. Editor Jochen Wegner shares the unexpected things that happened when people met up to talk -- and shows how face-to-face discussions could get a divided world to rethink itself.
There's two times more carbon in the earth's soil than in all of its vegetation and the atmosphere -- combined. Biogeochemist Asmeret Asefaw Berhe dives into the science of soil and shares how we could use its awesome carbon-trapping power to offset climate change. "[Soil] represents the difference between life and lifelessness in the earth system, and it can also help us combat climate change -- if we can only stop treating it like dirt," she says.
"North Korea is unimaginable," says human rights activist Yeonmi Park, who escaped the country at the age of 13. Sharing the harrowing story of her childhood, she reflects on the fragility of freedom -- and shows how change can be achieved even in the world's darkest places.
TV news anchor Lee Thomas thought his career was over after he was diagnosed with vitiligo, an autoimmune disorder that left large patches of his skin without pigment and led to derision and stares. In a captivating talk, he shares how he discovered a way to counter misunderstanding and fear around his appearance with engagement, dialogue -- and a smile. "Positivity is something worth fighting for, and the fight is not with others -- it's internal," Thomas says. "If you want to make positive changes in your life, you have to consistently be positive."
What's the best way to get over heartbreak? Rapper and writer Dessa came up with an unconventional approach after a chance viewing of Helen Fisher's TED Talk about the brains of the lovestruck. In a wryly funny talk, she describes how she worked with a neuroscientist to try to get her brain to fall out of love with her ex -- and shares wisdom about romance that she gained along the way.
As we recklessly warm the planet by pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, some industrial emissions also produce particles that reflect sunshine back into space, putting a check on global warming that we're only starting to understand. Climate activist Kelly Wanser asks: Can we engineer ways to harness this effect and further reduce warming? Learn more about the promises and risks of "cloud brightening" -- and how it could help restore our climate to health.
"For all that's ever been said about climate change, we haven't heard nearly enough about the psychological impacts of living in a warming world," says science writer Britt Wray. In this quick talk, she explores how climate change is threatening our well-being -- mental, social and spiritual -- and offers a starting point for what we can do about it.
As Asian economies and governments continue to gain power, the West needs to find ways to adapt to the new global order, says author and diplomat Kishore Mahbubani. In an insightful look at international politics, Mahbubani shares a three-part strategy that Western governments can use to recover power and improve relations with the rest of the world.
Growing up in England, Pico Iyer was taught that the point of a game was to win. Now, some 50 years later, he's realized that competition can be "more like an act of love." In this charming, subtly profound talk, he explores what regular games of ping-pong in his neighborhood in Japan have revealed about the riddle of winning -- and shows why not knowing who's won can feel like the ultimate victory.
In a forward-looking talk, author Bina Venkataraman answers a pivotal question of our time: How can we secure our future and do right by future generations? She parses the mistakes we make when imagining the future of our lives, businesses and communities, revealing how we can reclaim our innate foresight. What emerges is a surprising case for hope -- and a path to becoming the "good ancestors" we long to be.
For the past 20 years, photographer and TED Fellow Jon Lowenstein has documented the migrant journey from Latin America to the United States, one of the largest transnational migrations in world history. Sharing photos from his decade-long project "Shadow Lives USA," Lowenstein takes us into the inner worlds of the families escaping poverty and violence in Central America -- and pieces together the complex reasons people leave their homes in search of a better life.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt has gotten more than his fair share of attention from his acting career. But as social media exploded over the past decade, he got addicted like the rest of us -- trying to gain followers and likes only to be left feeling inadequate and less creative. In a refreshingly honest talk, he explores how the attention-driven model of big tech companies impacts our creativity -- and shares a more powerful feeling than getting attention: paying attention.
Drawing on her research into early childhood development, psychologist Sara Valencia Botto investigates when (and how) children begin to change their behaviors in the presence of others -- and explores what it means for the values we communicate in daily interactions. (Watch for cute footage of sneaky toddlers.)
Victor Vescovo is leading the first-ever manned expedition to the deepest point of each of the world's five oceans. In conversation with TED science curator David Biello, Vescovo discusses the technology that's powering the explorations -- a titanium submersible designed to withstand extraordinary conditions -- and shows footage of a never-before-seen creature taken during his journey to the bottom of the Indian Ocean.
In a breathtaking, jazz-inflected spoken-word performance, TED Fellow Marc Bamuthi Joseph shares a Black father's tender and wrenching internal reflection on the pride and terror of seeing his son enter adulthood.
The more we rely on technology to make us efficient, the fewer skills we have to confront the unexpected, says writer and entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan. She shares why we need less tech and more messy human skills -- imagination, humility, bravery -- to solve problems in business, government and life in an unpredictable age. "We are brave enough to invent things we've never seen before," she says. "We can make any future we choose."
China's one-child policy ended in 2015, but we're just beginning to understand what it was like to live under the program, says TED Fellow and documentary filmmaker Nanfu Wang. With footage from her film "One Child Nation," she shares untold stories that reveal the policy's complex consequences and expose the creeping power of propaganda.
Less than 13 percent of police officers in the United States are women -- despite their proven effectiveness in diffusing violent situations and reducing the use of force. Drawing on more than two decades of experience as a police officer and chief, TED Fellow Ivonne Roman shares how a simple change to police academy physical fitness tests could help build a more balanced force that benefits communities and officers alike.
In 2018, Scotland, Iceland and New Zealand established the network of Wellbeing Economy Governments to challenge the acceptance of GDP as the ultimate measure of a country's success. In this visionary talk, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon explains the far-reaching implications of a "well-being economy" -- which places factors like equal pay, childcare, mental health and access to green space at its heart -- and shows how this new focus could help build resolve to confront global challenges.
To get out of the mess we're in, we need a new story that explains the present and guides the future, says author George Monbiot. Drawing on findings from psychology, neuroscience and evolutionary biology, he offers a new vision for society built around our fundamental capacity for altruism and cooperation. This contagiously optimistic talk will make you rethink the possibilities for our shared future.
The Hindu Kush Himalaya region is the world's third-largest repository of ice, after the North and South Poles -- and if current melting rates continue, two-thirds of its glaciers could be gone by the end of this century. What will happen if we let them melt away? Environmentalist and former Prime Minister of Bhutan Tshering Tobgay shares the latest from the "water towers of Asia," making an urgent call to create an intergovernmental agency to protect the glaciers -- and save the nearly two billion people downstream from catastrophic flooding that would destroy land and livelihoods.
Backed by mathematical analysis, network theorist Albert-László Barabási explores the hidden mechanisms that drive success -- no matter your field -- and uncovers an intriguing connection between your age and your chance of making it big.
Everyone should participate in decision-making and politics -- and it starts at home, says activist Hajer Sharief. She introduces a simple yet transformative idea: that parents can teach their children about political agency by giving them a say in how their households are run, in the form of candid family meetings where everyone can express their opinions, negotiate and compromise. "We need to teach people that political, national and global affairs are as relevant to them as personal and family affairs," she says. "Can you really afford not to be interested or not participate in politics?"
Every 12 years, a megacity springs up in India for the Kumbh Mela religious festival -- what's built in ten weeks is completely disassembled in one. What can we learn from this fully functioning, temporary settlement? In a visionary talk, urban designer Rahul Mehrotra explores the benefits of building impermanent cities that can travel, adapt or even disappear, leaving the lightest possible footprint on the planet.
When humanity first landed on the moon in 1969, the typeface Futura was right there with them. In this fascinating history of typography, designer Douglas Thomas shares Futura's role in launching the Apollo 11 spacecraft -- and how it became one of the most used fonts in the world.
Shocking, but true: the United States has the highest rate of deaths for new mothers of any developed country -- and 60 percent of them are preventable. With clarity and urgency, physician Elizabeth Howell explains the causes of maternal mortality and shares ways for hospitals and doctors to make pregnancy safer for women before, during and after childbirth.
Early education is critical to children's success -- but millions of kids in the United States still don't have access to programs that prepare them to thrive in kindergarten and beyond. Enter the UPSTART Project, a plan to bring early learning into the homes of children in underserved communities, at no cost to families. Education innovator Claudia Miner shares how UPSTART is setting four-year-olds up for success with 15 minutes of learning a day -- and how you can help. (This ambitious plan is a part of the Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)
Refugee and immigrants rights attorney Melanie Nezer shares an urgently needed historical perspective on the crisis at the southern US border, showing how citizens can hold their governments accountable for protecting the vulnerable. "A country shows strength through compassion and pragmatism, not through force and through fear," she says.
"Magic is a great analogy for how we edit reality and form a story -- and then mistake that story for the truth," says psychological illusionist Derren Brown. In a clever talk wrapped around a dazzling mind-reading performance, Brown explores the seductive appeal of finding simple answers to life's complex and subtle questions.
We're not doing frontline exploratory science in a huge portion of the world -- the places governments deem too hostile or disputed. What might we be missing because we're not looking? In this fearless, unexpectedly funny talk, paleoanthropologist Ella Al-Shamahi takes us on an expedition to the Yemeni island of Socotra -- one of the most biodiverse places on earth -- and makes the case for scientists to explore the unstable regions that could be home to incredible discoveries.
Film has the power to change the way we think about ourselves and our culture. Documentarian and TED Fellow Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy uses it to fight violence against women, turning her camera on the tradition of honor killings in Pakistan. In a stirring talk, she shares how she took her Oscar-winning film on the road in a mobile cinema, visiting small towns and villages across Pakistan -- and shifting the dynamics between women, men and society, one screening at a time.
Since its founding in 1851, the "New York Times" has published thousands of obituaries -- for heads of state, famous celebrities, even the inventor of the sock puppet. But only a small percentage of them chronicle the lives of women and people of color. In this insightful talk, "Times" editor Amy Padnani shares the story behind "Overlooked," the project she's leading to recognize people from history whose deaths were ignored -- and refocus society's lens on who is considered important.
Taking design cues from origami, robotician Jamie Paik and her team created "robogamis": folding robots made out super-thin materials that can reshape and transform themselves. In this talk and tech demo, Paik shows how robogamis could adapt to achieve a variety of tasks on earth (or in space) and demonstrates how they roll, jump, catapult like a slingshot and even pulse like a beating heart.
Could psychedelics help us heal from trauma and mental illnesses? Researcher Rick Doblin has spent the past three decades investigating this question, and the results are promising. In this fascinating dive into the science of psychedelics, he explains how drugs like LSD, psilocybin and MDMA affect your brain -- and shows how, when paired with psychotherapy, they could change the way we treat PTSD, depression, substance abuse and more.
From mourning orcas to distressed elephants, biological anthropologist Barbara J. King has witnessed grief and love across the animal kingdom. In this eye-opening talk, she explains the evidence behind her belief that many animals experience complex emotions, and suggests ways all of us can treat them more ethically -- including every time we eat. "Animals don't grieve exactly like we do, but this doesn't mean that their grief isn't real," she says. "It is real, and it's searing, and we can see it if we choose."
When venture investor Natalie Fratto is determining which start-up founder to support, she doesn't just look for intelligence or charisma; she looks for adaptability. In this insightful talk, Fratto shares three ways to measure your "adaptability quotient" -- and shows why your ability to respond to change really matters.
When Julius Maada Bio first seized political power in Sierra Leone in 1996, he did so to improve the lives of its citizens. But he soon realized that for democracy to flourish, its foundation needs to be built on the will of the people. After arranging an election, he voluntarily gave up power and left Africa. Twenty years later, after being democratically elected president of Sierra Leone, he reflects on the slow path to democracy, the importance of education for all and his focus on helping young Sierra Leoneans thrive.
"Most of what we send into outer space never comes back," says astrodynamicist and TED Fellow Moriba Jah. In this forward-thinking talk, Jah describes the space highways orbiting earth and how they're mostly populated by space junk. Learn more about his quest to develop and scale the world's first crowdsourced space traffic monitoring system -- and how it could help solve the debris problem in near-earth space.
Glenn Cantave uses technology to highlight narratives of the oppressed. In a tour of immersive visual projects, he shares his work with the team at Movers and Shakers NYC, a coalition that executes direct action and advocacy campaigns for marginalized communities using virtual reality, augmented reality and the creative arts.
"The hood is good," says Jon Gray of the Bronx, New York-based creative collective Ghetto Gastro. Working at the intersection of food, design and art, Gray and his team honor the soul and history of their community while applying their unbridled creativity and expansive imagination to unexpected, otherworldly collaborations. Learn more about how they're creating and investing in their home borough -- bringing the Bronx to the world and vice versa.
Being open and vulnerable with your loneliness, sadness and fear can help you find comfort and feel less alone, says writer and artist Jonny Sun. In an honest talk filled with his signature illustrations, Sun shares how telling stories about feeling like an outsider helped him tap into an unexpected community and find a tiny sliver of light in the darkness.
Asking for help is tough. But to get through life, you have to do it all the time. So how do you get comfortable asking? In this actionable talk, social psychologist Heidi Grant shares four simple rules for asking for help and getting it -- while making the process more rewarding for your helper, too.
Ethan Lindenberger never got vaccinated as a kid. So one day, he went on Reddit and asked a simple question: "Where do I go to get vaccinated?" The post went viral, landing Lindenberger in the middle of a heated debate about vaccination and, ultimately, in front of a US Senate committee. Less than a year later, the high school senior reports back on his unexpected time in the spotlight and a new movement he's leading to fight misinformation and advocate for scientific truth.
Lindsay Amer is the creator of "Queer Kid Stuff," an educational video series that breaks down complex ideas around gender and sexuality through songs and metaphors. By giving kids and their families a vocabulary to express themselves, Amer is helping to create more empathetic adults -- and spreading a message of radical acceptance in a world where it's sometimes dangerous to just be yourself. "I want kids to grow up and into themselves with pride for who they are and who they can be," Amer says.
How did ancient civilizations move massive stones to build Stonehenge, the Pyramids and the Easter Island statues? In this quick, delightful talk, TED Fellow Brandon Clifford reveals some architectural secrets of the past and shows how we can use these ingenious techniques to build today. "In an era where we design buildings to last 30, maybe 60 years, I would love to learn how to create something that could entertain for an eternity," he says.
"The universe has already written the poem you were planning on writing," says Sarah Kay, quoting her friend, poet Kaveh Akbar. Performing "A Bird Made of Birds," she shares how and where she finds poetry. (Kay is also the host of TED's podcast "Sincerely, X." Listen on the Luminary podcast app at luminary.link/ted)
What would it take to settle Mars? In a talk about the future of space exploration, Lynn Rothschild reviews the immense challenges to living elsewhere in the universe and proposes some bold, creative solutions to making a home off planet Earth -- like "growing" houses out of fungi or using bacteria to help generate electricity.
"The hardest part of my cancer experience began once the cancer was gone," says author Suleika Jaouad. In this fierce, funny, wisdom-packed talk, she challenges us to think beyond the divide between "sick" and "well," asking: How do you begin again and find meaning after life is interrupted?
The world-changing promise of synthetic biology and gene editing has a dark side. In this far-seeing talk, author and entrepreneur Rob Reid reviews the risks of a world where more and more people have access to the tools and tech needed to create a doomsday bug that could wipe out humanity -- and suggests that it's time to take this danger seriously.
Proteins are remarkable molecular machines: they digest your food, fire your neurons, power your immune system and so much more. What if we could design new ones, with functions never before seen in nature? In this remarkable glimpse of the future, David Baker shares how his team at the Institute for Protein Design is creating entirely new proteins from scratch -- and shows how they could help us tackle five massive challenges facing humanity. (This ambitious plan is a part of the Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)
Michael Tubbs is the youngest mayor in American history to represent a city with more than 100,000 people -- and his policies are sparking national conversations. In this rousing talk, he shares how growing up amid poverty and violence in Stockton, California shaped his bold vision for change and his commitment to govern as a neighbor, not a politician. "When we see someone different from us, they should not reflect our fears, our anxieties, our insecurities," he says. "We should see our common humanity."
Daniel Lismore's closet is probably a bit different than yours -- his clothes are constructed out of materials ranging from beer cans and plastic crystals to diamonds, royal silks and 2,000-year-old Roman rings. In this striking talk, Lismore shares the vision behind his elaborate ensembles and explores what it's like to live life as a work of art. "Everyone is capable of creating their own masterpiece," he says. "You should try it sometime."
Anger researcher Ryan Martin draws from a career studying what makes people mad to explain some of the cognitive processes behind anger -- and why a healthy dose of it can actually be useful. "Your anger exists in you ... because it offered your ancestors, both human and nonhuman, an evolutionary advantage," he says. "[It's] a powerful and healthy force in your life."
The ground beneath your feet is home to a massive, mysterious world of microbes -- some of which have been in the earth's crust for hundreds of thousands of years. What's it like down there? Take a trip to the volcanoes and hot springs of Costa Rica as microbiologist Karen Lloyd shines a light on these subterranean organisms and shows how they could have a profound impact on life up here.
Humans have been studying the stars for thousands of years, but astrophysicist Juna Kollmeier is on a special mission: creating the most detailed 3-D maps of the universe ever made. Journey across the cosmos as she shares her team's work on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, imaging millions of stars, black holes and galaxies in unprecedented detail. If we maintain our pace, she says, we can map every large galaxy in the observable universe by 2060. "We've gone from arranging clamshells to general relativity in a few thousand years," she says. "If we hang on 40 more, we can map all the galaxies."
Reading and writing can be acts of courage that bring us closer to others and ourselves. Author Michelle Kuo shares how teaching reading skills to her students in the Mississippi Delta revealed the bridging power of the written word -- as well as the limitations of its power.
Our society is in the midst of a social crisis, says op-ed columnist and author David Brooks: we're trapped in a valley of isolation and fragmentation. How do we find our way out? Based on his travels across the United States -- and his meetings with a range of exceptional people known as "weavers" -- Brooks lays out his vision for a cultural revolution that empowers us all to lead lives of greater meaning, purpose and joy.
In life's toughest moments, how do you go on living? Kate Bowler has been exploring this question ever since she was diagnosed with stage IV cancer at age 35. In a profound, heartbreaking and unexpectedly funny talk, she offers some answers -- challenging the idea that "everything happens for a reason" and sharing hard-won wisdom about how to make sense of the world after your life is suddenly, completely changed. "I believe that in the darkness, even there, there will be beauty and there will be love," she says.
Design gives form to the future, says architect Bjarke Ingels. In this worldwide tour of his team's projects, journey to a waste-to-energy power plant (that doubles as an alpine ski slope) and the LEGO Home of the Brick in Denmark -- and catch a glimpse of cutting-edge flood resilience infrastructure in New York City as well as an ambitious plan to create floating, sustainable cities that are adapted to climate change.
Octopus, squid and cuttlefish -- collectively known as cephalopods -- have strange, massive, distributed brains. What do they do with all that neural power? Dive into the ocean with marine biologist Roger Hanlon, who shares astonishing footage of the camouflaging abilities of cephalopods, which can change their skin color and texture in a flash. Learn how their smart skin, and their ability to deploy it in sophisticated ways, could be evidence of an alternative form of intelligence -- and how it could lead to breakthroughs in AI, fabrics, cosmetics and beyond.
Millennials are now the largest, most diverse adult population in the US -- but far too often, they're reduced to the worn-out stereotype of lazy, entitled avocado toast lovers, says author Reniqua Allen. In this revealing talk, she shares overlooked stories of millennials of color, offering a broader, more nuanced view of the generation. "Millennials are not a monolith," she says.
TED Fellow and astronomer Erika Hamden leads the team building FIREBall, a telescope that hangs from a giant balloon at the very edge of space and looks for clues about how stars are created. She takes us inside the roller-coaster, decade-long journey to get the telescope from an idea into orbit -- and shows how failure is inevitable when you're pushing the limits of knowledge.
Baratunde Thurston explores the phenomenon of white Americans calling the police on black Americans who have committed the crimes of ... eating, walking or generally "living while black." In this profound, thought-provoking and often hilarious talk, he reveals the power of language to change stories of trauma into stories of healing -- while challenging us all to level up.
Humans produce 300 million tons of new plastic each year -- yet, despite our best efforts, less than 10 percent of it ends up being recycled. Is there a better way to deal with all this waste? Morgan Vague describes her research with microbiologist Jay Mellies on bacteria that have evolved the unexpected ability to eat plastic -- and how they could help us solve our growing pollution problem.
A few weeks before his release from prison, Jarrell Daniels took a class where incarcerated men learned alongside prosecutors. By simply sitting together and talking, they uncovered surprising truths about the criminal justice system and ideas for how real change happens. Now a scholar and activist, Daniels reflects on how collaborative education could transform the justice system and unlock solutions to social problems.
Hollywood needs to stop resisting what the world actually looks like, says actor, director and activist America Ferrera. Tracing the contours of her career, she calls for more authentic representation of different cultures in media -- and a shift in how we tell our stories. "Presence creates possibility," she says. "Who we see thriving in the world teaches us how to see ourselves, how to think about our own value, how to dream about our futures."
Profit, money, shareholders: these are the priorities of most companies today. But at what cost? In an appeal to corporate leaders worldwide, Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya calls for an end to the business playbook of the past -- and shares his vision for a new, "anti-CEO playbook" that prioritizes people over profits. "This is the difference between profit and true wealth," he says.
Conventional meat production causes harm to our environment and presents risks to global health, but people aren't going to eat less meat unless we give them alternatives that cost the same (or less) and that taste the same (or better). In an eye-opening talk, food innovator and TED Fellow Bruce Friedrich shows the plant- and cell-based products that could soon transform the global meat industry -- and your dinner plate.
Sloths have been on this planet for more than 40 million years. What's the secret to their success? In a hilarious talk, zoologist Lucy Cooke takes us inside the strange life of the world's slowest mammal and shows what we can learn from their ingenious adaptations.
"Confidence is the necessary spark before everything that follows," says educator and activist Brittany Packnett. In an inspiring talk, she shares three ways to crack the code of confidence -- and her dream for a world where revolutionary confidence helps turn our most ambitious dreams into reality.
In a talk about understanding and practicing the art of healthy relationships, Katie Hood reveals the five signs you might be in an unhealthy relationship -- with a romantic partner, a friend, a family member -- and shares the things you can do every day to love with respect, kindness and joy. "While love is an instinct and an emotion, the ability to love better is a skill we can all build and improve on over time," she says.
Try talking to yourself without opening your mouth, by simply saying words internally. What if you could search the internet like that -- and get an answer back? In the first live public demo of his new technology, TED Fellow Arnav Kapur introduces AlterEgo: a wearable AI device with the potential to let you silently talk to and get information from a computer system, like a voice inside your head. Learn more about how the device works and the far-reaching implications of this new kind of human-computer interaction.
E-cigarettes and vapes have exploded in popularity in the last decade, especially among youth and young adults -- from 2011 to 2015, e-cigarette use among high school students in the US increased by 900 percent. Biobehavioral scientist Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin explains what you're actually inhaling when you vape (hint: it's definitely not water vapor) and explores the disturbing marketing tactics being used to target kids. "Our health, the health of our children and our future generations is far too valuable to let it go up in smoke -- or even in aerosol," she says.
Can we make tattoos both beautiful and functional? Nanotechnologist Carson Bruns shares his work creating high-tech tattoos that react to their environment -- like color-changing ink that can tell you when you're getting a sunburn -- and shows exciting ways they can deliver real-time information about our health.
In an astonishing talk and tech demo, software researcher Doug Roble debuts "DigiDoug": a real-time, 3-D, digital rendering of his likeness that's accurate down to the scale of pores and wrinkles. Powered by an inertial motion capture suit, deep neural networks and enormous amounts of data, DigiDoug renders the real Doug's emotions (and even how his blood flows and eyelashes move) in striking detail. Learn more about how this exciting tech was built -- and its applications in movies, virtual assistants and beyond.
Sleep is your life-support system and Mother Nature's best effort yet at immortality, says sleep scientist Matt Walker. In this deep dive into the science of slumber, Walker shares the wonderfully good things that happen when you get sleep -- and the alarmingly bad things that happen when you don't, for both your brain and body. Learn more about sleep's impact on your learning, memory, immune system and even your genetic code -- as well as some helpful tips for getting some shut-eye.
You use your brain's executive function every day -- it's how you do things like pay attention, plan ahead and control impulses. Can you improve it to change for the better? With highlights from her research on child development, cognitive scientist Sabine Doebel explores the factors that affect executive function -- and how you can use it to break bad habits and achieve your goals.
The global fertility rate, or the number of children per woman, has halved over the last 50 years. What will having fewer babies mean for the future of humanity? In this funny, eye-opening talk, journalist (and self-described exhausted dad) Wajahat Ali examines how the current trend could lead to unexpected problems -- and shares why he believes we need to make it easier for people to have babies. "For those who can and choose to, may you pass on this beautiful thing called life with kindness, generosity, decency and love," he says.
What should modern leadership look like? Entrepreneur and former Icelandic presidential candidate Halla Tómasdóttir thinks global leaders need to change their ways -- or risk becoming irrelevant. In a conversation with curator Bryn Freedman, she shows how anybody can step up and make a difference, even if you don't yet have power. "There's a leader inside every single one of us," she says, "and our most important work in life is to release that leader."
Civic evangelist Eric Liu shares a powerful way to rekindle the spirit of citizenship and the belief that democracy still works. Join him for a trip to "Civic Saturday" and learn more about how making civic engagement a weekly habit can help build communities based on shared values and a path to belonging.
Designer Ivan Poupyrev wants to integrate technology into everyday objects to make them more useful and fun -- like a jacket you can use to answer phone calls or a houseplant you can play like a keyboard. In a talk and tech demo, he lays out his vision for a physical world that's more deeply connected to the internet and shows how, with a little collaboration, we can get there. Unveiled in this talk: Poupyrev announces that his newest device, Jacquard, is now publicly available for all designers to use.
It starts with a sketch. Then it evolves into a larger-than-life visual masterpiece, a celebration of human connection. Follow along as legendary artist and designer Es Devlin takes us on a visual tour of her work -- including iconic stage sculptures she's created for Beyoncé, Adele, Kanye West, U2 and more -- and previews her design for the upcoming World Expo 2020 in Dubai.
Plants are amazing machines -- for millions of years, they've taken carbon dioxide out of the air and stored it underground, keeping a crucial check on the global climate. Plant geneticist Joanne Chory is working to amplify this special ability: with her colleagues at the Salk Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory, she's creating plants that can store more carbon, deeper underground, for hundreds of years. Learn more about how these supercharged plants could help slow climate change. (This ambitious plan is a part of the Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)
Why do we often neglect big problems, like the financial crisis and climate change, until it's too late? Policy strategist Michele Wucker urges us to replace the myth of the "black swan" -- that rare, unforeseeable, unavoidable catastrophe -- with the reality of the "gray rhino," the preventable danger that we choose to ignore. She shows why predictable crises catch us by surprise -- and lays out some signs that there may be a charging rhino in your life right now.
When you're feeling burned out as an activist, what's the best way to bounce back? TED Senior Fellow Yana Buhrer Tavanier explores the power of "playtivism" -- the incorporation of play and creativity into movements for social change. See how this versatile approach can spark new ideas, propel action and melt fear.