Dave Isay opened the first StoryCorps booth in New York’s Grand Central Terminal in 2003 with the intention of creating a quiet place where a person could honor someone who mattered to them by listening to their story. Since then, StoryCorps has evolved into the single largest collection of human voices ever recorded. His TED Prize wish: to grow this digital archive of the collective wisdom of humanity. Hear his vision to take StoryCorps global — and how you can be a part of it by interviewing someone with the StoryCorps app.
Photographer Boniface Mwangi wanted to protest against corruption in his home country of Kenya. So he made a plan: He and some friends would stand up and heckle during a public mass meeting. But when the moment came ... he stood alone. What happened next, he says, showed him who he truly was. As he says, "There are two most powerful days in your life. The day you are born, and the day you discover why." Graphic images.
Theaster Gates, a potter by training and a social activist by calling, wanted to do something about the sorry state of his neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. So he did, transforming abandoned buildings to create community hubs that connect and inspire those who still live there (and draw in those who don't). In this passionate talk, Gates describes his efforts to build a "miniature Versailles" in Chicago, and he shares his fervent belief that culture can be a catalyst for social transformation in any city, anywhere.
Ten days after 9/11, a shocking attack at a Texas mini-mart shattered the lives of two men: the victim and the attacker. In this stunning talk, Anand Giridharadas, author of "The True American," tells the story of what happened next. It's a parable about the two paths an American life can take, and a powerful call for reconciliation.
When a very young child looks at a picture, she can identify simple elements: "cat," "book," "chair." Now, computers are getting smart enough to do that too. What's next? In a thrilling talk, computer vision expert Fei-Fei Li describes the state of the art -- including the database of 15 million photos her team built to "teach" a computer to understand pictures -- and the key insights yet to come.
"Public shaming as a blood sport has to stop," says Monica Lewinsky. In 1998, she says, “I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale almost instantaneously.” Today, the kind of online public shaming she went through has become constant -- and can turn deadly. In a brave talk, she takes a hard look at our online culture of humiliation, and asks for a different way.
What we think of as 3D printing, says Joseph DeSimone, is really just 2D printing over and over ... slowly. Onstage at TED2015, he unveils a bold new technique -- inspired, yes, by Terminator 2 -- that's 25 to 100 times faster, and creates smooth, strong parts. Could it finally help to fulfill the tremendous promise of 3D printing?
As humans, we can perceive less than a ten-trillionth of all light waves. "Our experience of reality," says neuroscientist David Eagleman, "is constrained by our biology." He wants to change that. His research into our brain processes has led him to create new interfaces -- such as a sensory vest -- to take in previously unseen information about the world around us.
Everybody knows that most women go a little crazy right before they get their period, that their reproductive hormones cause their emotions to fluctuate wildly. Except: There's very little scientific consensus about premenstrual syndrome. Says psychologist Robyn Stein DeLuca, science doesn't agree on the definition, cause, treatment or even existence of PMS. She explores what we know and don't know about it -- and why the popular myth has persisted.
In this short, provocative talk, financier Sangu Delle questions whether microfinance — small loans to small entrepreneurs -- is the best way to drive growth in developing countries. "We seem to be fixated on this romanticized idea that every poor person in Africa is an entrepreneur,” he says. "Yet, my work has taught me that most people want jobs.” Delle, a TED Fellow, makes the case for supporting large companies and factories — and clearing away the obstacles to pan-African trade.
In this short, provocative talk, architect Alison Killing looks at buildings where death and dying happen -- cemeteries, hospitals, homes. The way we die is changing, and the way we build for dying ... well, maybe that should too. It's a surprisingly fascinating look at a hidden aspect of our cities, and our lives.
Vincent Cochetel was held hostage for 317 days in 1998, while working for the UN High Commissioner on Refugees in Chechnya. For the first time, he recounts the experience — from what it was like to live in a dark, underground chamber, chained to his bed, to the unexpected conversations he had with his captors. With lyricism and power, he explains why he continues his work today. Since 2000, attacks on humanitarian aid workers have tripled — and he wonders what that rise may signal to the world.
What's the secret to unlocking the creativity hidden inside your daily work, and giving every great idea a chance? Harvard professor Linda Hill, co-author of "Collective Genius," has studied some of the world's most creative companies to come up with a set of tools and tactics to keep great ideas flowing -- from everyone in the company, not just the designated "creatives."
Performance poet (and math student) Harry Baker spins a love poem about his favorite kind of numbers -- the lonely, love-lorn prime. Stay on for two more lively, inspiring poems from this charming performer.
Shimpei Takahashi always dreamed of designing toys. But when he started work as a toy developer, he found that the pressure to produce squashed his creativity. In this short, funny talk, Takahashi describes how he got his ideas flowing again, and shares a simple word game anyone can play to generate new ideas. (In Japanese with English subtitles.)
As a teenager, Ismael Nazario was sent to New York’s Rikers Island jail, where he spent 300 days in solitary confinement -- all before he was ever convicted of a crime. Now as a prison reform advocate he works to change the culture of American jails and prisons, where young people are frequently subjected to violence beyond imagination. Nazario tells his chilling story and suggests ways to help, rather than harm, teens in jail.
Small coincidences. They happen all the time and yet, they pass us by because we are not looking for them. In a delightfully subtle trick, magician Helder Guimarães demonstrates with a deck of cards, a dollar bill and a stuffed giraffe.
Sending an email message is like sending a postcard, says scientist Andy Yen in this thought-provoking talk: Anyone can read it. Yet encryption, the technology that protects the privacy of email communication, does exist. It's just that until now it has been difficult to install and a hassle to use. Showing a demo of an email program he designed with colleagues at CERN, Yen argues that encryption can be made simple to the point of becoming the default option, providing true email privacy to all.
The sounds of the rainforest include: the chirps of birds, the buzz of cicadas, the banter of gibbons. But in the background is the almost-always present sound of a chainsaw, from illegal loggers. Engineer Topher White shares a simple, scalable way to stop this brutal deforestation — that starts with your old cell phone.
Hooray for technology! It makes everything better for everyone!! Right? Well, no. When a new technology, like ebooks or health trackers, is only available to some people, it has unintended consequences for all of us. Jon Gosier, a TED Fellow and tech investor, calls out the idea of "trickle-down techonomics," and shares powerful examples of how new tech can make things actually worse if it's not equally distributed. As he says, "the real innovation is in finding ways to include everyone."
Rob Knight is a pioneer in studying human microbes, the community of tiny single-cell organisms living inside our bodies that have a huge — and largely unexplored — role in our health. “The three pounds of microbes that you carry around with you might be more important than every single gene you carry around in your genome,” he says. Find out why.
All of us want to invent that game-changing product, launch that successful company, write that best-selling book. And yet so few of us actually do it. TED Fellow and Brazilian entrepreneur Bel Pesce breaks down five easy-to-believe myths that ensure your dream projects will never come to fruition.
City agencies have access to a wealth of data and statistics reflecting every part of urban life. But as data analyst Ben Wellington suggests in this entertaining talk, sometimes they just don't know what to do with it. He shows how a combination of unexpected questions and smart data crunching can produce strangely useful insights, and shares tips on how to release large sets of data so that anyone can use them.
Fifty-three years ago, James A. White Sr. joined the US Air Force. But as an African American man, he had to go to shocking lengths to find a place for his young family to live nearby. He tells this powerful story about the lived experience of "everyday racism" -- and how it echoes today in the way he's had to teach his grandchildren to interact with police.
"We will start inhabiting outer space," says Angelo Vermeulen, crew commander of a NASA-funded Mars simulation. "It might take 50 years or it might take 500 years, but it's going to happen." In this charming talk, the TED Senior Fellow describes some of his official work to make sure humans are prepared for life in deep space ... and shares a fascinating art project in which he challenged people worldwide to design homes we might live in there.
In some parts of the world, half of the women lack basic reading and writing skills. The reasons vary, but in many cases, literacy isn't valued by fathers, husbands, even mothers. Photographer and TED Fellow Laura Boushnak traveled to countries including Yemen, Egypt and Tunisia to highlight brave women -- schoolgirls, political activists, 60-year-old moms -- who are fighting the statistics.
Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on.
We'll go to the doctor when we feel flu-ish or a nagging pain. So why don’t we see a health professional when we feel emotional pain: guilt, loss, loneliness? Too many of us deal with common psychological-health issues on our own, says Guy Winch. But we don’t have to. He makes a compelling case to practice emotional hygiene — taking care of our emotions, our minds, with the same diligence we take care of our bodies.
With humor and charm, mathematician Eduardo Sáenz de Cabezón answers a question that's wracked the brains of bored students the world over: What is math for? He shows the beauty of math as the backbone of science — and shows that theorems, not diamonds, are forever. In Spanish, with English subtitles.
How do vaccines prevent disease -- even among people too young to get vaccinated? It's a concept called "herd immunity," and it relies on a critical mass of people getting their shots to break the chain of infection. Health researcher Romina Libster shows how herd immunity contained a deadly outbreak of H1N1 in her hometown. (In Spanish with English subtitles)