That science fiction future where robots can do what people and animals do may be closer than you think. Marc Raibert, founder of Boston Dynamics, is developing advanced robots that can gallop like a cheetah, negotiate 10 inches of snow, walk upright on two legs and even open doors and deliver packages. Join Raibert for a live demo of SpotMini, a nimble robot that maps the space around it, handles objects, climbs stairs -- and could soon be helping you out around the house.
Should your driverless car kill you if it means saving five pedestrians? In this primer on the social dilemmas of driverless cars, Iyad Rahwan explores how the technology will challenge our morality and explains his work collecting data from real people on the ethical trade-offs we're willing (and not willing) to make.
Corals in the Pacific Ocean have been dying at an alarming rate, particularly from bleaching brought on by increased water temperatures. But it's not too late to act, says TED Fellow Kristen Marhaver. She points to the Caribbean -- given time, stable temperatures and strong protection, corals there have shown the ability to survive and recover from trauma. Marhaver reminds us why we need to keep working to protect the precious corals we have left. "Corals have always been playing the long game," she says, "and now so are we."
Do your kidneys have a sense of smell? Turns out, the same tiny scent detectors found in your nose are also found in some pretty unexpected places -- like your muscles, kidneys and even your lungs. In this quick talk (filled with weird facts), physiologist Jennifer Pluznick explains why they're there and what they do.
Jimmy Lin is developing technologies to catch cancer months to years before current methods. He shares a breakthrough technique that looks for small signals of cancer's presence via a simple blood test, detecting the recurrence of some forms of the disease 100 days earlier than traditional methods. It could be a ray of hope in a fight where early detection makes all the difference.
Born with a genetic visual impairment that has no correction or cure, Susan Robinson is legally blind (or partially sighted, as she prefers it) and entitled to a label she hates: "disabled." In this funny and personal talk, she digs at our hidden biases by explaining five ways she flips expectations of disability upside down.
The divisiveness plaguing American politics today is nothing new, says constitutional law scholar Noah Feldman. In fact, it dates back to the early days of the republic, when a dispute between Alexander Hamilton and James Madison led the two Founding Fathers to cut ties and form the country's first political parties. Join Feldman for some fascinating history of American factionalism -- and a hopeful reminder about how the Constitution has proven itself to be greater than partisanship.
Why do so many companies make bad decisions, even with access to unprecedented amounts of data? With stories from Nokia to Netflix to the oracles of ancient Greece, Tricia Wang demystifies big data and identifies its pitfalls, suggesting that we focus instead on "thick data" -- precious, unquantifiable insights from actual people -- to make the right business decisions and thrive in the unknown.
Right now, billions of neurons in your brain are working together to generate a conscious experience -- and not just any conscious experience, your experience of the world around you and of yourself within it. How does this happen? According to neuroscientist Anil Seth, we're all hallucinating all the time; when we agree about our hallucinations, we call it "reality." Join Seth for a delightfully disorienting talk that may leave you questioning the very nature of your existence.
Climate change is real, case closed. But there's still a lot we don't understand about it, and the more we know the better chance we have to slow it down. One still-unknown factor: How might clouds play a part? There's a small hope that they could buy us some time to fix things ... or they could make global warming worse. Climate scientist Kate Marvel takes us through the science of clouds and what it might take for Earth to break its own fever.
What are our screens and devices doing to us? Psychologist Adam Alter studies how much time screens steal from us and how they're getting away with it. He shares why all those hours you spend staring at your smartphone, tablet or computer might be making you miserable -- and what you can do about it.
Rivers are one of nature's most powerful forces -- they bulldoze mountains and carve up the earth, and their courses are constantly moving. Understanding how they form and how they'll change is important for those that call their banks and deltas home. In this visual-packed talk, geoscientist Liz Hajek shows us how rocks deposited by ancient rivers can be used as a time machine to study the history of the earth, so we can figure out how to more sustainably live on it today.
You can kick Jorge Ramos out of your press conference (as Donald Trump infamously did in 2015), but you can never silence him. A reporter for more than 30 years, Ramos believes that a journalist's responsibility is to question and challenge those in power. In this compelling talk -- which earned him a standing ovation midway through -- Ramos explains why, in certain circumstances, he believes journalists must take sides. (In Spanish with English subtitles.)
Inventor Manu Prakash turns everyday materials into powerful scientific devices, from paper microscopes to a clever new mosquito tracker. From the TED Fellows stage, he demos Paperfuge, a hand-powered centrifuge inspired by a spinning toy that costs 20 cents to make and can do the work of a $1,000 machine, no electricity required.
It's a fateful moment in history. We've seen divisive elections, divided societies and the growth of extremism -- all fueled by anxiety and uncertainty. "Is there something we can do, each of us, to be able to face the future without fear?" asks Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. In this electrifying talk, the spiritual leader gives us three specific ways we can move from the politics of "me" to the politics of "all of us, together."
Sinéad Burke is acutely aware of details that are practically invisible to many of us. At 105 centimeters (or 3' 5") tall, the designed world -- from the height of a lock to the range of available shoe sizes -- often inhibits her ability to do things for herself. Here she tells us what it's like to navigate the world as a little person and asks: "Who are we not designing for?"
"We have seen advances in every aspect of our lives -- except our humanity," says Luma Mufleh, a Jordanian immigrant and Muslim of Syrian descent who founded the first accredited school for refugees in the United States. Mufleh shares stories of hope and resilience, explaining how she's helping young people from war-torn countries navigate the difficult process of building new homes. Get inspired to make a personal difference in the lives of refugees with this powerful talk.
What if our bodies could help grow new life after we die, instead of being embalmed and buried or turned to ash? Join Katrina Spade as she discusses "recomposition" -- a system that uses the natural decomposition process to turn our deceased into life-giving soil, honoring both the earth and the departed.
Anab Jain brings the future to life, creating experiences where people can touch, see and feel the potential of the world we're creating. Do we want a world where intelligent machines patrol our streets, for instance, or where our genetic heritage determines our health care? Jain's projects show why it's important to fight for the world we want. Catch a glimpse of possible futures in this eye-opening talk.
Aspirations are rising as never before across the world, thanks in large part to smartphones and the internet -- will they be met with opportunity or frustration? As President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim wants to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. He shares how the institution is working to improve the health and financial futures of people in the poorest countries by boosting investment and de-risking development.
Sixty-five million people were displaced from their homes by conflict and disaster in 2016. It's not just a crisis; it's a test of who we are and what we stand for, says David Miliband -- and each of us has a personal responsibility to help solve it. In this must-watch talk, Miliband gives us specific, tangible ways to help refugees and turn empathy and altruism into action.
We've all dreamed of flying -- but for Richard Browning, flight is an obsession. He's built an Iron Man-like suit that leans on an elegant collaboration of mind, body and technology, bringing science fiction dreams a little closer to reality. Learn more about the trial and error process behind his invention and take flight with Browning in an unforgettable demo.
Cheyenne Cochrane explores the role that hair texture has played in the history of being black in America -- from the heat straightening products of the post-Civil War era to the thousands of women today who have decided to stop chasing a conventional beauty standard and start embracing their natural hair. "This is about more than a hairstyle," Cochrane says. "It's about being brave enough not to fold under the pressure of others' expectations."
A handful of people working at a handful of tech companies steer the thoughts of billions of people every day, says design thinker Tristan Harris. From Facebook notifications to Snapstreaks to YouTube autoplays, they're all competing for one thing: your attention. Harris shares how these companies prey on our psychology for their own profit and calls for a design renaissance in which our tech instead encourages us to live out the timeline we want.
A few days before she turned 61, writer Anne Lamott decided to write down everything she knew for sure. She dives into the nuances of being a human who lives in a confusing, beautiful, emotional world, offering her characteristic life-affirming wisdom and humor on family, writing, the meaning of God, death and more.
Meet Sharon Terry, a former college chaplain and stay-at-home mom who took the medical research world by storm when her two young children were diagnosed with a rare disease known as pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE). In this knockout talk, Terry explains how she and her husband became citizen scientists, working midnight shifts at the lab to find the gene behind PXE and establishing mandates that require researchers to share biological samples and work together.
The hard choices -- what we most fear doing, asking, saying -- are very often exactly what we need to do. How can we overcome self-paralysis and take action? Tim Ferriss encourages us to fully envision and write down our fears in detail, in a simple but powerful exercise he calls "fear-setting." Learn more about how this practice can help you thrive in high-stress environments and separate what you can control from what you cannot.
Attention isn't just about what we focus on -- it's also about what our brains filter out. By investigating patterns in the brain as people try to focus, computational neuroscientist Mehdi Ordikhani-Seyedlar hopes to build computer models that can be used to treat ADHD and help those who have lost the ability to communicate. Hear more about this exciting science in this brief, fascinating talk.
There's a creepy transformation taking over our cities, says architecture critic Justin Davidson. From Houston, Texas to Guangzhou, China, shiny towers of concrete and steel covered with glass are cropping up like an invasive species. Rethink your city's anatomy as Davidson explains how the exteriors of building shape the urban experience -- and what we lose when architects stop using the full range of available materials.
The more we read and watch online, the harder it becomes to tell the difference between what's real and what's fake. It's as if we know more but understand less, says philosopher Michael Patrick Lynch. In this talk, he dares us to take active steps to burst our filter bubbles and participate in the common reality that actually underpins everything.