Congratulations! By being here, alive, you are one of history's winners -- the culmination of a success story four billion years in the making. The other 99 percent of species who have ever lived on earth are dead -- killed by fire, flood, asteroids, ice, heat and the cold math of natural selection. How did we get so lucky, and will we continue to win? In this short, funny talk, paleobiologist and TED Fellow Lauren Sallan shares insights on how your ancestors' survival through mass extinction made you who you are today.
Are diverse companies really more innovative? Rocío Lorenzo and her team surveyed 171 companies to find out -- and the answer was a clear yes. In a talk that will help you build a better, more robust company, Lorenzo dives into the data and explains how your company can start producing fresher, more creative ideas by treating diversity as a competitive advantage.
Ever wonder how we poop? Learn about the gut -- the system where digestion (and a whole lot more) happens -- as doctor and author Giulia Enders takes us inside the complex, fascinating science behind it, including its connection to mental health. It turns out, looking closer at something we might shy away from can leave us feeling more fearless and appreciative of ourselves.
Could we cure climate change? Geoengineering researcher Tim Kruger wants to try. He shares one promising possibility: using natural gas to generate electricity in a way that takes carbon dioxide out of the air. Learn more -- both the potential and the risks -- about this controversial field that seeks creative, deliberate and large-scale intervention to stop the already catastrophic consequences of our warming planet.
"I love to sing," says Cynthia Erivo, "because it's the fast-track route to the heart." Listen as Erivo meditates on the superpower of music to connect us to one another in between gorgeous, soulful performances of Mali Music's "Johnny & Donna" and Aretha Franklin's "Natural Woman," accompanied by Jason Webb on piano.
Fifty years of armed conflict in Colombia has left the countryside riddled with land mines that maim and kill innocent people who happen across them. To help keep communities safe from harm, TED Resident Carlos Bautista is developing an app to track land mines -- and direct travelers away from them. Learn more about how this potentially life-saving tool could promote peace in countries plagued by land mines once conflicts end.
Machines that can think, learn and adapt are coming -- and that could mean that we humans will end up with significant unemployment. What should we do about it? In a straightforward talk about a controversial idea, futurist Martin Ford makes the case for separating income from traditional work and instituting a universal basic income.
Margrethe Vestager wants to keep European markets competitive -- which is why, on behalf of the EU, she's fined Google $2.8 billion for breaching antitrust rules, asked Apple for $15.3 billion in back taxes and investigated a range of companies, from Gazprom to Fiat, for anti-competitive practices. In an important talk about the state of the global business, she explains why markets need clear rules -- and how even the most innovative companies can become a problem when they become too dominant. "Real and fair competition has a vital role to play in building the trust we need to get the best of our societies," Vestager says. "And that starts with enforcing our rules."
With what3words, Chris Sheldrick and his team have divided the entire planet into three-meter squares and assigned each a unique, three-word identifier, like famous.splice.writers or blocks.evenly.breed, giving a precise address to the billions of people worldwide who don't have one. In this quick talk about a big idea, Sheldrick explains the economic and political implications of giving everyone an accurate address -- from building infrastructure to sending aid to disaster zones to delivering hot pizza.
One in five women in the United States will not have a biological child, and Christen Reighter is one of them. From a young age, she knew she didn't want kids, in spite of the insistence of many people (including her doctor) who told her she'd change her mind. In this powerful talk, she shares her story of seeking sterilization -- and makes the case that motherhood is an extension of womanhood, not the definition.
You are more than you think you are, says former pro wrestler Mike Kinney -- you just have to find what makes you unique and use it to your advantage. For years Kinney "turned up" the parts of himself that made him special as he invented and perfected his wrestling persona, Cowboy Gator Magraw. In a talk equal parts funny and smart, he brings his wisdom from the ring to everyday life, sharing how we can all live more confidently and reach our full potential.
A war zone can pass for a mostly peaceful place when no one is watching, says investigative journalist and TED Fellow Anjan Sundaram. In this short, incisive talk, he takes us inside the conflict in the Central African Republic, where he saw the methodical preparation for ethnic cleansing, and shares a lesson about why it's important to bear witness to other people's suffering. "Ignored people in all our communities tell us something important about who we are," Sundaram says. "A witness can become precious, and their gaze most necessary, when violence passes silently, unseen and unheard."
In the vast sweep of history, even an empire can be forgotten. In this wide-ranging talk, Gus Casely-Hayford shares origin stories of Africa that are too often unwritten, lost, unshared. Travel to Great Zimbabwe, the ancient city whose mysterious origins and advanced architecture continue to confound archeologists. Or to the age of Mansa Musa, the ruler of the Mali Empire whose vast wealth built the legendary libraries of Timbuktu. And consider which other history lessons we might unwittingly overlook.
Harmoniously weaving together the art of dance and the science of mechanical engineering, Huang Yi performs a man-machine dance duet with KUKA -- a robot he conceptualized and programmed -- set to stirring cello by Joshua Roman.
"From populist demagogues, we will learn the indispensability of democracy," says novelist Elif Shafak. "From isolationists, we will learn the need for global solidarity. And from tribalists, we will learn the beauty of cosmopolitanism." A native of Turkey, Shafak has experienced firsthand the devastation that a loss of diversity can bring -- and she knows the revolutionary power of plurality in response to authoritarianism. In this passionate, personal talk, she reminds us that there are no binaries, in politics, emotions and our identities. "One should never, ever remain silent for fear of complexity," Shafak says.
With her gorgeous, haunting photographs, artist Uldus Bakhtiozina documents dreams, working with daily life as she imagines it could be. She creates everything in her work by hand -- from costumes to stages -- without digital manipulation, bringing us images from the land of escapism, where anyone can become something else.
After decades of research and billions spent in clinical trials, we still have a problem with cancer drug delivery, says biomedical engineer Elizabeth Wayne. Chemotherapy kills cancer -- but it kills the rest of your body, too. Instead of using human design to fight cancer, why not use nature's? In this quick talk, Wayne explains how her lab is creating nanoparticle treatments that bind to immune cells, your body's first responders, to precisely target cancer cells without damaging healthy ones.
The Greenland ice sheet is massive, mysterious -- and melting. Using advanced technology, scientists are revealing its secrets for the first time, and what they've found is amazing: hidden under the ice sheet is a vast aquifer that holds a Lake Tahoe-sized volume of water from the summer melt. Does this water stay there, or does it find its way out to the ocean and contribute to global sea level rise? Join glaciologist Kristin Poinar for a trip to this frozen, forgotten land to find out.
It's never too late to reinvent yourself. Take it from Paul Tasner -- after working continuously for other people for 40 years, he founded his own start-up at age 66, pairing his idea for a business with his experience and passion. And he's not alone. As he shares in this short, funny and inspirational talk, seniors are increasingly indulging their entrepreneurial instincts -- and seeing great success.
Neuroscientist Greg Gage takes sophisticated equipment used to study the brain out of graduate-level labs and brings them to middle- and high-school classrooms (and, sometimes, to the TED stage.) Prepare to be amazed as he hooks up the Mimosa pudica, a plant whose leaves close when touched, and the Venus flytrap to an EKG to show us how plants use electrical signals to convey information, prompt movement and even count.
Known worldwide for her courage and clarity, Christiane Amanpour has spent the past three decades interviewing business, cultural and political leaders who have shaped history. In conversation with TED Curator Chris Anderson, Amanpour discusses fake news, objectivity in journalism, the leadership vacuum in global politics and more, sharing her wisdom along the way. "Be careful where you get information from," she says. "Unless we are all engaged as global citizens who appreciate the truth, who understand science, empirical evidence and facts, then we are going to be wandering around -- to a potential catastrophe."
Artist Eric Dyer spent years working at a computer to produce images for the screen. Longing to get his hands back on his work, he began exploring the zoetrope, a popular 19th-century device that was used to create the illusion of motion long before the arrival of film. In this vibrant talk, he showcases his resulting art inventions: spinning sculptures and that evoke beautiful, dreamlike scenes. (Warning: This talk includes flashing images and lights. Those who are photosensitive or have seizures trigged by strobes are advised to avoid.)
Sara Menker quit a career in commodities trading to figure out how the global value chain of agriculture works. Her discoveries have led to some startling predictions: "We could have a tipping point in global food and agriculture if surging demand surpasses the agricultural system's structural capacity to produce food," she says. "People could starve and governments may fall." Menker's models predict that this scenario could happen in a decade -- that the world could be short 214 trillion calories per year by 2027. She offers a vision of this impossible world as well as some steps we can take today to avoid it.
In March 2009, North Korean soldiers captured journalist Euna Lee and her colleague Laura Ling while they were shooting a documentary on the border with China. The courts sentenced them to 12 years of hard labor, but American diplomats eventually negotiated their release. In this surprising, deeply human talk, Lee shares her experience living as the enemy in a detention center for 140 days -- and the tiny gestures of humanity from her guards that sustained her.
We've all heard that robots are going to take our jobs -- but what can we do about it? Innovation expert David Lee says that we should start designing jobs that unlock our hidden talents and passions -- the things we spend our weekends doing -- to keep us relevant in the age of robotics. "Start asking people what problems they're inspired to solve and what talents they want to bring to work," Lee says. "When you invite people to be more, they can amaze us with how much more they can be."
We check our phones upwards of 50 times per day -- but when our kids play around with them, we get nervous. Are screens ruining childhood? Not according to children's media expert Sara DeWitt. In a talk that may make you feel a bit less guilty about handing a tablet to a child while you make dinner, DeWitt envisions a future where we're excited to see kids interacting with screens and shows us exciting ways new technologies can actually help them grow, connect and learn.
For more than 1,000 years, Khmer dancers in Cambodia have been seen as living bridges between heaven and earth. In this graceful dance-talk hybrid, artist Prumsodun Ok -- founder of Cambodia's first all-male and gay-identified dance company -- details the rich history of Khmer classical dance and its current revival, playing the ancient and ageless role of artist as messenger.
Chika Ezeanya-Esiobu wants to see Africans unleash their suppressed creative and innovative energies by acknowledging the significance of their indigenous, authentic knowledge. In this powerful talk, she shares examples of untapped, traditional African knowledge in agriculture and policy-making, calling on Africans to make progress by validating and dignifying their reality.
What we see in movies matters: it affects our hobbies, our career choices, our emotions and even our identities. Right now, we don't see enough women on screen or behind the camera -- but waiting for Hollywood to grow a conscience isn't going to fix the problem, says Naomi McDougall Jones. Join forces with the actor and activist as she outlines her four-point plan for a total representation revolution in Hollywood.
Having feelings isn't a sign of weakness -- they mean we're human, says producer and activist Nikki Webber Allen. Even after being diagnosed with anxiety and depression, Webber Allen felt too ashamed to tell anybody, keeping her condition a secret until a family tragedy revealed how others close to her were also suffering. In this important talk about mental health, she speaks openly about her struggle -- and why communities of color must undo the stigma that misreads depression as a weakness and keeps sufferers from getting help.