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.
Christian Rodríguez is a photographer and filmmaker -- and the son of a teenage mother. For the past five years, he has documented teen pregnancy in Latin America, creating intimate and dignified portraits of mothers as young as 12 years old. In this moving, visual talk, he shares his work and explores how young motherhood traps girls in a cycle of poverty and exploitation.
In an unmissable talk about race and politics in America, Theo E.J. Wilson tells the story of becoming Lucius25, white supremacist lurker, and the unexpected compassion and surprising perspective he found from engaging with people he disagrees with. He encourages us to let go of fear, embrace curiosity and have courageous conversations with people who think differently from us. "Conversations stop violence, conversations start countries and build bridges," he says.
More than 100 years after Albert Einstein predicted gravitational waves -- ripples in space-time caused by violent cosmic collisions -- LIGO scientists confirmed their existence using large, extremely precise detectors in Louisiana and Washington. Astrophysicist Gabriela González of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration tells us how this incredible, Nobel-winning discovery happened -- and what it might mean for our understanding of the universe. (In Spanish with English subtitles)
Photographer Levon Biss was looking for a new, extraordinary subject when one afternoon he and his young son popped a ground beetle under a microscope and discovered the wondrous world of insects. Applying his knowledge of photography to subjects just five millimeters long, Biss created a process for shooting insects in unbelievable microscopic detail. He shares the resulting portraits -- each comprised of 8- to 10,000 individual shots -- and a story about how inspiration can come from the most unlikely places.
Divisions along religious lines are deepening, and we're doubting more and more how much we have in common. How can we stand boldly and visibly together? Inspired by an idea from her collaborator Yazmany Arboleda, place-maker Nabila Alibhai and her colleagues created "Colour in Faith," a social practice art project that unites people of different religions by getting them to paint each other's houses of worship yellow, in a show of solidarity. "We've proven that the human family can come together and send a message far brighter and more powerful than the voices of those that wish to do us harm," Alibhai says.
For the past 70 years, scientists in Britain have been studying thousands of children through their lives to find out why some end up happy and healthy while others struggle. It's the longest-running study of human development in the world, and it's produced some of the best-studied people on the planet while changing the way we live, learn and parent. Reviewing this remarkable research, science journalist Helen Pearson shares some important findings and simple truths about life and good parenting.
With more than half of the world population living in cities, one thing is undeniable: we are an urban species. Part game, part urban planning sketching tool, "Cities: Skylines" encourages people to use their creativity and self-expression to rethink the cities of tomorrow. Designer Karoliina Korppoo takes us on a tour through some extraordinary places users have created, from futuristic fantasy cities to remarkably realistic landscapes. What does your dream city look like?
How can Africa, the home to some of the largest bodies of water in the world, be said to have a water crisis? It doesn't, says Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò -- it has a knowledge crisis. Táíwò suggests that lack of knowledge on important topics like water and food is what stands between Africa's current state and a future of prosperity. In a powerful talk, he calls for Africa to make the production of knowledge within the continent rewarding and reclaim its position as a locus of learning on behalf of humanity.
In the century-old statues that occupy Cape Town, Sethembile Mzesane didn't see anything that looked like her own reality. So she became a living sculpture herself, standing for hours on end in public spaces dressed in symbolic costumes, to reclaim the city and its public spaces for her community. In this powerful, tour-de-force talk, she shares the stories and motivation behind her mesmerizing performance art.
Between 2008 and 2016, the United States deported more than three million people. What happens to those left behind? Journalist Duarte Geraldino picks up the story of deportation where the state leaves off. Learn more about the wider impact of forced removal as Geraldino explains how the sudden absence of a mother, a local business owner or a high school student ripples outward and wreaks havoc on the relationships that hold our communities together.
"There are a lot of resources given by nature for free -- all we need is our sensitivity to see them and our creativity to use them," says architect Anna Heringer. Heringer uses low-tech materials like mud and bamboo to create structures from China to Switzerland, Bangladesh and beyond. Visit an awe-inspiring school, an elegant office and cozy social spaces -- all built from natural materials -- in this delightful talk.
Don't believe predictions that say the future is trending towards city living. Urbanization is actually reaching the end of its cycle, says logistics expert Julio Gil, and soon more people will be choosing to live (and work) in the countryside, thanks to rapid advances in augmented reality, autonomous delivery, off-the-grid energy and other technologies. Think outside city walls and consider the advantages of country living with this forward-thinking talk.