For the introverts among us, traditional forms activism like marches, protests and door-to-door canvassing can be intimidating and stressful. Take it from Sarah Corbett, a former professional campaigner and self-proclaimed introvert. She introduces us to "craftivism," a quieter form of activism that uses handicrafts as a way to get people to slow down and think deeply about the issues they're facing, all while engaging the public more gently. Who says an embroidered handkerchief can't change the world?
"We all feel a compelling need to watch stories, to tell stories ... to discuss the things that tell each one of us that we are not alone in the world," says TV titan Shonda Rhimes. A dominant force in television since "Grey's Anatomy" hit the airwaves, Rhimes discusses the future of media networks, how she's using her narrative-building skills as a force for good, an intriguing concept known as "Amish summers" and much more, in conversation with Cyndi Stivers, director of the TED Residency.
How do we improve in the face of complexity? Atul Gawande has studied this question with a surgeon's precision. He shares what he's found to be the key: having a good coach to provide a more accurate picture of our reality, to instill positive habits of thinking, and to break our actions down and then help us build them back up again. "It's not how good you are now; it's how good you're going to be that really matters," Gawande says.
What do you think would happen if you invited an individual with mental health issues who had been homeless for many years to move directly from the street into housing? Loyd Pendleton shares how he went from skeptic to believer in the Housing First approach to homelessness -- providing the displaced with short-term assistance to find permanent housing quickly and without conditions -- and how it led to a 91 percent reduction in chronic homelessness over a ten-year period in Utah.
Kayla Briët creates art that explores identity and self-discovery -- and the fear that her culture may someday be forgotten. She shares how she found her creative voice and reclaimed the stories of her Dutch-Indonesian, Chinese and Native American heritage by infusing them into film and music time capsules.
With fantastic new maps that show interactive, visual representations of urban fragility, Robert Muggah articulates an ancient but resurging idea: cities shouldn't just be the center of economics -- they should also be the foundation of our political lives. Looking around the world, from Syria to Singapore to Seoul and beyond, Muggah submits six principles for how we can build more resilient cities. "Cities are where the future happens first. They're open, creative, dynamic, democratic, cosmopolitan, sexy," Muggah says. "They're the perfect antidote to reactionary nationalism."
Military leaders have known for millennia that the time to prepare for a challenge is before it hits you, says scientist and retired US Navy officer David Titley. He takes us from the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria to the icy shores of Svalbard to show how the military approaches the threat of climate change, in a refreshingly practical, nonpartisan take on climate preparedness. "The ice doesn't care who's in the White House. It doesn't care which party controls your congress. It doesn't care which party controls your parliament," Titley says. "It just melts."
With warmth and grace, Beth Malone tells the deeply personal story of her dad's struggle with frontotemporal lobe dementia, and how it changed how she thinks about death (and life). A moving talk about a daughter's love -- and of letting go and finding peace.
Gender should be the least remarkable thing about someone, but transgender people are still too often misunderstood. To help those who are scared to ask questions or nervous about saying the wrong thing, Jackson Bird shares a few ways to think about trans issues. And in this funny, frank talk, he clears up a few misconceptions about pronouns, transitioning, bathrooms and more.
In halls of justice around the world, how can we ensure everyone is treated with dignity and respect? A pioneering judge in New Jersey, Victoria Pratt shares her principles of "procedural justice" -- four simple, thoughtful steps that redefined the everyday business of her courtroom in Newark, changing lives along the way. "When the court behaves differently, naturally people respond differently," Pratt says. "We want people to enter our halls of justice ... and know that justice will be served there."
Sometimes trying your best isn't enough; when the situation demands it, you need to be perfect. For Jon Bowers, who runs a training facility for professional delivery drivers, the stakes are high -- 100 people in the US die every day in car accidents -- and it's perfection, or "a willingness to do what is difficult to achieve what is right," that he looks to achieve. He explains why we should all be equally diligent about striving toward perfection in everything we do, even if it means failing along the way.
"My science fiction has different ancestors -- African ones," says writer Nnedi Okorafor. In between excerpts from her "Binti" series and her novel "Lagoon," Okorafor discusses the inspiration and roots of her work -- and how she opens strange doors through her Afrofuturist writing.
We're building an artificial intelligence-powered dystopia, one click at a time, says techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci. In an eye-opening talk, she details how the same algorithms companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon use to get you to click on ads are also used to organize your access to political and social information. And the machines aren't even the real threat. What we need to understand is how the powerful might use AI to control us -- and what we can do in response.
Megafires, individual fires that burn more than 100,000 acres, are on the rise in the western United States -- the direct result of unintentional yet massive changes we've brought to the forests through a century of misguided management. What steps can we take to avoid further destruction? Forest ecologist Paul Hessburg confronts some tough truths about wildfires and details how we can help restore the natural balance of the landscape.
The most important infrastructure we have is educated minds, says former Tunisian government minister Amel Karboul. Yet too often large investments go to more visible initiatives such as bridges and roads, when it's the minds of our children that will really create a brighter future. In this sharp talk, she shares actionable ideas to ensure that every child is in school -- and learning -- within just one generation.
Why do women who experience sexual assault rarely speak up about it? "Because they fear they won't be believed," says Inés Hercovich. "Because when a woman tells what happened to her, she tells us things we can't imagine, things that disturb us, things we don't expect to hear, things that shock us." In this moving talk, she takes us inside an encounter with sexual assault to give us a clearer idea of what these situations really look like -- and the difficult choices women make to survive. (In Spanish with English subtitles)
From the glorious crested guinea fowl to the adulterous African jacana to vultures that can pick a zebra carcass clean in 30 minutes, Washington Wachira wants us all to get to know the marvelous species of birds that share the planet with us. If you're not already a fan of earth's feathermakers -- or concerned about their conservation -- you will be after you watch this delightful talk.
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.
Conventional wisdom says that to win an election, you need to play to your constituencies' basest, most divisive instincts. But as a candidate for mayor of Tulsa, Oklahoma, G.T. Bynum decided to skip the smear campaigns, tell voters what he wanted to accomplish and give them ways to measure his success -- and it led him to win the election. In a hopeful, funny talk, Bynum shares how he's tackling his city's most pressing issues and says that we need to set aside philosophical disagreements and focus on the aspirations that unite us.
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."