What good is a sophisticated piece of medical equipment to people in Africa if it can't handle the climate there? Biomedical engineer Tania Douglas shares stories of how we're often blinded to real needs in our pursuit of technology -- and how a deeper understanding of the context where it's used can lead us to better solutions.
Each year, the world loses enough food to feed half a billion people to fungi, the most destructive pathogens of plants. Mycologist and TED Fellow Mennat El Ghalid explains how a breakthrough in our understanding of the molecular signals fungi use to attack plants could disrupt this interaction -- and save our crops.
Comic books and graphic novels belong in every teacher's toolkit, says cartoonist and educator Gene Luen Yang. Set against the backdrop of his own witty, colorful drawings, Yang explores the history of comics in American education -- and reveals some unexpected insights about their potential for helping kids learn.
By expanding boundaries, exploring possibilities and conveying truth, films have helped change Africa's reality (even before "Black Panther"). Dayo Ogunyemi invites us to imagine Africa's future through the lens of inspiring filmmakers from across the continent, showing us how they can inspire Africa to make a hundred-year leap.
Ocean expert Nancy Rabalais tracks the ominously named "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico -- where there isn't enough oxygen in the water to support life. The Gulf has the second largest dead zone in the world; on top of killing fish and crustaceans, it's also killing fisheries in these waters. Rabalais tells us about what's causing it -- and how we can reverse its harmful effects and restore one of America's natural treasures.
Malika Whitley is the founder of ChopArt, an organization for homeless teens focused on mentorship, dignity and opportunity through the arts. In this moving, personal talk, she shares her story of homelessness and finding her voice through arts -- and her mission to provide a creative outlet for others who have been pushed to the margins of society.
There's no such thing as throwing something away, says Andrew Dent -- when you toss a used food container, broken toy or old pair of socks into the trash, those things inevitably end up in ever-growing landfills. But we can get smarter about the way we make, and remake, our products. Dent shares exciting examples of thrift -- the idea of using and reusing what you need so you don't have to purchase anything new -- as well as advances in material science, like electronics made of nanocellulose and enzymes that can help make plastic infinitely recyclable.
In the US, your taxes fund academic research at public universities. Why then do you need to pay expensive, for-profit journals for the results of that research? Erica Stone advocates for a new, open-access relationship between the public and scholars, making the case that academics should publish in more accessible media. "A functioning democracy requires that the public be well-educated and well-informed," Stone says. "Instead of research happening behind paywalls and bureaucracy, wouldn't it be better if it was unfolding right in front of us?"
From Beyoncé to Drake and beyond, the world is rocking to the rhythm of Afrobeat. Feel the music as Kenyan afro-pop superstars Sauti Sol take the TED stage to perform three songs: "Live and Die in Afrika," "Sura Yako" and "Kuliko Jana."
Still invisible and often an afterthought, indigenous peoples are uniting to protect the world's water, lands and history -- while trying to heal from genocide and ongoing inequality. Tribal attorney and Couchiching First Nation citizen Tara Houska chronicles the history of attempts by government and industry to eradicate the legitimacy of indigenous peoples' land and culture, including the months-long standoff at Standing Rock which rallied thousands around the world. "It's incredible what you can do when you stand together," Houska says. "Stand with us -- empathize, learn, grow, change the conversation."
In this perspective-shifting talk, Danny Hillis prompts us to approach global issues like climate change with creative scientific solutions. Taking a stand for solar geoengineering, he looks at controversial solutions with open-minded curiosity.
There are about 7,000 languages spoken around the world -- and they all have different sounds, vocabularies and structures. But do they shape the way we think? Cognitive scientist Lera Boroditsky shares examples of language -- from an Aboriginal community in Australia that uses cardinal directions instead of left and right to the multiple words for blue in Russian -- that suggest the answer is a resounding yes. "The beauty of linguistic diversity is that it reveals to us just how ingenious and how flexible the human mind is," Boroditsky says. "Human minds have invented not one cognitive universe, but 7,000."
In 2009, journalist and screenwriter Drew Philp bought a ruined house in Detroit for $500. In the years that followed, as he gutted the interior and removed the heaps of garbage crowding the rooms, he didn't just learn how to repair a house -- he learned how to build a community. In a tribute to the city he loves, Philp tells us about "radical neighborliness" and makes the case that we have "the power to create the world anew together and to do it ourselves when our governments refuse."
As quantum computing matures, it's going to bring unimaginable increases in computational power along with it -- and the systems we use to protect our data (and our democratic processes) will become even more vulnerable. But there's still time to plan against the impending data apocalypse, says encryption expert Vikram Sharma. Learn more about how he's fighting quantum with quantum: designing security devices and programs that use the power of quantum physics to defend against the most sophisticated attacks.
How can we make AI that people actually want to interact with? Raphael Arar suggests we start by making art. He shares interactive projects that help AI explore complex ideas like nostalgia, intuition and conversation -- all working towards the goal of making our future technology just as much human as it is artificial.
Four decades ago, Judith Heumann helped to lead a groundbreaking protest called the Section 504 sit-in -- in which disabled-rights activists occupied a federal building for almost a month, demanding greater accessibility for all. In this personal, inspiring talk, Heumann tells the stories behind the protest -- and reminds us that, 40 years on, there's still work left to do.
As a humanist, Leo Igwe doesn't believe in divine intervention -- but he does believe in the power of human beings to alleviate suffering, cure disease, preserve the planet and turn situations of poverty into prosperity. In this bold talk, Igwe shares how humanism can free Africans from damaging superstitions and give them the power to rebuild the continent.
We're all against hate, right? We agree it's a problem -- their problem, not our problem, that is. But as Sally Kohn discovered, we all hate -- some of us in subtle ways, others in obvious ones. As she confronts a hard story from her own life, she shares ideas on how we can recognize, challenge and heal from hatred in our institutions and in ourselves.
We use rituals to mark the early stages of our lives, like birthdays and graduations -- but what about our later years? In this meditative talk about looking both backward and forward, Bob Stein proposes a new tradition of giving away your things (and sharing the stories behind them) as you get older, to reflect on your life so far and open the door to whatever comes next.
In 2014, as a newly trained physician, Soka Moses took on one of the toughest jobs in the world: treating highly contagious patients at the height of Liberia's Ebola outbreak. In this intense, emotional talk, he details what he saw on the frontlines of the crisis -- and reveals the challenges and stigma that thousands of survivors still face.
Ndidi Nwuneli has advice for Africans who believe in God -- and Africans who don't. To the religious, she advises against using God to outsource responsibility for what happens in their lives. To the non-religious, she asks that they keep an open mind and work with faith-based organizations, especially on issues like health care and education. "There's so much potential that can be realized when we walk across the divide of faith and, hand in hand, try to solve many of our problems," Nwuneli says.