What if we could use the cold darkness of outer space to cool buildings on earth? In this mind-blowing talk, physicist Aaswath Raman details the technology he's developing to harness "night-sky cooling" -- a natural phenomenon where infrared light escapes earth and heads to space, carrying heat along with it -- which could dramatically reduce the energy used by our cooling systems (and the pollution they cause). Learn more about how this approach could lead us towards a future where we intelligently tap into the energy of the universe.
In this joyful, heartfelt talk featuring demos of her wonderfully wacky creations, Simone Giertz shares her craft: making useless robots. Her inventions -- designed to chop vegetables, cut hair, apply lipstick and more -- rarely (if ever) succeed, and that's the point. "The true beauty of making useless things [is] this acknowledgment that you don't always know what the best answer is," Giertz says. "It turns off that voice in your head that tells you that you know exactly how the world works. Maybe a toothbrush helmet isn't the answer, but at least you're asking the question."
Trust is the foundation for everything we do. But what do we do when it's broken? In an eye-opening talk, Harvard Business School professor Frances Frei gives a crash course in trust: how to build it, maintain it and rebuild it -- something she worked on during a recent stint at Uber. "If we can learn to trust one another more, we can have unprecedented human progress," Frei says.
Children who live in rural areas can have a hard time getting to the doctor -- much less to an audiologist's clinic for expensive, complex tests to check their hearing. The result for too many kids is hearing loss caused by ear infections and other curable or preventable problems. That's why ear surgeon and TED Fellow Susan Emmett is working with 15 communities in rural Alaska to create a simple, low-cost test that only requires a cell phone. Learn more about her work and how it could change the lives of children who don't have access to hearing care.
In a poetic, personal talk, TED Fellow Katlego Kolanyane-Kesupile examines the connection between her modern queer lifestyle and her childhood upbringing in a rural village in Botswana. "In a time where being brown, queer, African and seen as worthy of space means being everything but rural, I fear that we're erasing the very struggles that got us to where we are now," she says. "Indigenizing my queerness means bridging the many exceptional parts of myself."
Gardens are mirrors of our lives, says environmental artist tobacco brown, and we must cultivate them with care to harvest their full beauty. Drawing on her experience bringing natural public art installations to cities around the world, brown reveals what gardening can teach us about creating lives of compassion, connection and grace.
In this fascinating look at the "alpha male," primatologist Frans de Waal explores the privileges and costs of power while drawing surprising parallels between how humans and primates choose their leaders. His research reveals some of the unexpected capacities of alpha males -- generosity, empathy, even peacekeeping -- and sheds light on the power struggles of human politicians. "Someone who is big and strong and intimidates and insults everyone is not necessarily an alpha male," de Waal says.
Public libraries have always been about more than just books -- and their mission of community support has taken on new urgency during the current opioid epidemic. After witnessing overdoses at her library in Philadelphia, Chera Kowalski learned how to administer naloxone, a drug that reverses the effects of narcotics, and she's put it to use to save patrons' lives. In this personal talk, she shares the day-to-day reality of life on the frontline of the opioid crisis and advocates for each of us to find new ways to keep our communities safe and healthy.
Michael Rain is on a mission to tell the stories of first-generation immigrants, who have strong ties both to the countries they grew up in and their countries of origin. In a personal talk, he breaks down the mischaracterizations and limited narratives of immigrants and shares the stories of the worlds they belong to. "We're walking melting pots of culture," Rain says. "If something in that pot smells new or different to you, don't turn up your nose. Ask us to share."
"You do not mess with something so fundamental, so precious, as science," says Kirsty Duncan, Canada's first Minister of Science. In a heartfelt, inspiring talk about pushing boundaries, she makes the case that researchers must be free to present uncomfortable truths and challenge the thinking of the day -- and that we all have a duty to speak up when we see science being stifled or suppressed.
Was 2017 really the "worst year ever," as some would have us believe? In his analysis of recent data on homicide, war, poverty, pollution and more, psychologist Steven Pinker finds that we're doing better now in every one of them when compared with 30 years ago. But progress isn't inevitable, and it doesn't mean everything gets better for everyone all the time, Pinker says. Instead, progress is problem-solving, and we should look at things like climate change and nuclear war as problems to be solved, not apocalypses in waiting. "We will never have a perfect world, and it would be dangerous to seek one," he says. "But there's no limit to the betterments we can attain if we continue to apply knowledge to enhance human flourishing."
Digital creator Dylan Marron has racked up millions of views for projects like "Every Single Word" and "Sitting in Bathrooms With Trans People" -- but he's found that the flip side of success online is internet hate. Over time, he's developed an unexpected coping mechanism: calling the people who leave him insensitive comments and asking a simple question: "Why did you write that?" In a thoughtful talk about how we interact online, Marron explains how sometimes the most subversive thing you can do is actually speak with people you disagree with, not simply at them.
To make accountability the norm after gender violence in the United States, we need to change tactics, says victims' rights attorney and TED Fellow Laura L. Dunn. Instead of going institution by institution, fighting for reform, we need to go to the Constitution and finally pass the Equal Rights Amendment, which would require states to address gender inequality and violence. By ushering in sweeping change, Dunn says, "our legal system can become a system of justice, and #MeToo can finally become 'no more.'"
What's up at SpaceX? Engineer Gwynne Shotwell was employee number seven at Elon Musk's pioneering aerospace company and is now its president. In conversation with TED curator Chris Anderson, she discusses SpaceX's race to put people into orbit and the organization's next big project, the BFR (ask her what it stands for). The new giant rocket is designed to take humanity to Mars -- but it has another potential use: space travel for earthlings.
The global collection of women's experiences can no longer be ignored, says actress and activist Tracee Ellis Ross. In a candid, fearless talk, she delivers invitations to a better future to both men and women.
We get stronger, not weaker, by engaging with ideas and people we disagree with, says Zachary R. Wood. In an important talk about finding common ground, Wood makes the case that we can build empathy and gain understanding by engaging tactfully and thoughtfully with controversial ideas and unfamiliar perspectives. "Tuning out opposing viewpoints doesn't make them go away," Wood says. "To achieve progress in the face of adversity, we need a genuine commitment to gaining a deeper understanding of humanity."
Diane Wolk-Rogers teaches history at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, site of a horrific school shooting on Valentine's Day 2018. How can we end this senseless violence? In a stirring talk, Wolk-Rogers offers three ways Americans can move forward to create more safety and responsibility around guns -- and invites people to come up with their own answers, too. Above all, she asks us to take a cue from the student activists at her school, survivors whose work for change has moved millions to action. "They shouldn't have to do this on their own," Wolk-Rogers says. "They're asking you to get involved."
When we talk about greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide gets the most attention -- but methane, which often escapes unseen from pipes and wells, has a far greater immediate impact on global warming. Environmentalist Fred Krupp has an idea to fix the problem: launch a satellite that tracks global methane emissions, and openly share the data it collects with the public. Learn more about how simple fixes to cut down on this invisible pollutant can help us put the brakes on climate change. (This ambitious plan is one of the first ideas of The Audacious Project, TED's new initiative to inspire global change.)
What will we find in the twilight zone: the vast, mysterious, virtually unexplored realm hundreds of meters below the ocean's surface? Heidi M. Sosik of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution wants to find out. In this wonder-filled talk, she shares her plan to investigate these uncharted waters, which may hold a million new species and 90 percent of the world's fish biomass, using submersible technology. What we discover there won't just astound us, Sosik says -- it will help us be better stewards of the world's oceans. (This ambitious plan is one of the first ideas of The Audacious Project, TED's new initiative to inspire global change.)
Thousands of years ago, ancient Nubians drew pictures on tomb walls of a terrible disease that turns the eyelids inside out and causes blindness. This disease, trachoma, is still a scourge in many parts of the world today -- but it's also completely preventable, says Caroline Harper. Armed with data from a global mapping project, Harper's organization Sightsavers has a plan: to focus on countries where funding gaps stand in the way of eliminating the disease and ramp up efforts where the need is most severe. Learn more about their goal of consigning trachoma to the history books -- and how you can help. (This ambitious plan is one of the first ideas of The Audacious Project, TED's new initiative to inspire global change.)
On any given night, more than 450,000 people in the United States are locked up in jail simply because they don't have enough money to pay bail. The sums in question are often around $500: easy for some to pay, impossible for others. This has real human consequences -- people lose jobs, homes and lives, and it drives racial disparities in the legal system. Robin Steinberg has a bold idea to change this. In this powerful talk, she outlines the plan for The Bail Project -- an unprecedented national revolving bail fund to fight mass incarceration. (This ambitious plan is one of the first ideas of The Audacious Project, TED's new initiative to inspire global change.)
In the early days of digital culture, Jaron Lanier helped craft a vision for the internet as public commons where humanity could share its knowledge -- but even then, this vision was haunted by the dark side of how it could turn out: with personal devices that control our lives, monitor our data and feed us stimuli. (Sound familiar?) In this visionary talk, Lanier reflects on a "globally tragic, astoundingly ridiculous mistake" companies like Google and Facebook made at the foundation of digital culture -- and how we can undo it. "We cannot have a society in which, if two people wish to communicate, the only way that can happen is if it's financed by a third person who wishes to manipulate them," he says.
In the ongoing debate over refugees, we hear from everyone -- from politicians who pledge border controls to citizens who fear they'll lose their jobs -- everyone, that is, except migrants themselves. Why are they coming? Journalist and TED Fellow Yasin Kakande explains what compelled him and many others to flee their homelands, urging a more open discussion and a new perspective. Because humanity's story, he reminds us, is a story of migration: "There are no restrictions that could ever be so rigorous to stop the wave of migration that has determined our human history," he says.
You don't have to work on Broadway to design a set, says creative director David Korins -- you can be the set designer of any space in your life. Sharing insights from his work on hits like "Hamilton" and "Dear Evan Hansen," Korins offers a three-step process to start creating the world you want to live in.
Andrologist John Amory is developing innovative male contraception that gives men a new option for taking responsibility to prevent unintended pregnancy. He details the science in development -- and why the world needs a male pill.
Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when the Rwandan Civil War forced her and her sister to flee their home in Kigali, leaving their parents and everything they knew behind. In this deeply personal talk, she tells the story of how she became a refugee, living in camps in seven countries over the next six years -- and how she's tried to make sense of what came after.
Qudus Onikeku and The QTribe summon a downpour with a poetic, powerful dance performance. Set to a composition of singing, drums and strings, the dancers radiate energy -- moving in circles, in shapes and in unison as they consume the TED stage.
Over the last year, Priya Vulchi and Winona Guo traveled to all 50 US states, collecting personal stories about race and intersectionality. Now they're on a mission to equip every American with the tools to understand, navigate and improve a world structured by racial division. In a dynamic talk, Vulchi and Guo pair the personal stories they've collected with research and statistics to reveal two fundamental gaps in our racial literacy -- and how we can overcome them.
After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017, chef José Andrés traveled to the devastated island with a simple idea: to feed the hungry. Millions of meals served later, Andrés shares the remarkable story of creating the world's biggest restaurant -- and the awesome power of letting people in need know that somebody cares about them.