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TEDTalks (audio)

TEDTalks

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TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. On this feed, you'll find TEDTalks video to inspire, intrigue and stir the imagination from some of the world's leading thinkers and doers, speaking from the stage at TED conferences, TEDx events and partner events around the world. This podcast is also available in high-def video and audio-only formats.
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How+a+long-forgotten+virus+could+help+us+solve+the+antibiotics+crisis+%7C+Alexander+Belcredi
access_time2 days ago
Viruses have a bad reputation -- but some of them could one day save your life, says biotech entrepreneur Alexander Belcredi. In this fascinating talk, he introduces us to phages, naturally-occurring viruses that hunt and kill harmful bacteria with deadly precision, and shows how these once-forgotten organisms could provide new hope against the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
A+librarian%27s+case+against+overdue+book+fines+%7C+Dawn+Wacek
access_time3 days ago
Libraries have the power to create a better world; they connect communities, promote literacy and spark lifelong learners. But there's one thing that keeps people away: the fear of overdue book fines. In this thought-provoking talk, librarian Dawn Wacek makes the case that fines don't actually do what we think they do. What if your library just stopped asking for them altogether?
Is+civility+a+sham%3F+%7C+Teresa+Bejan
access_time4 days ago
What exactly is civility, and what does it require? In a talk packed with historical insights, political theorist Teresa Bejan explains how civility has been used as both the foundation of tolerant societies and as a way for political partisans to silence and dismiss opposing views. Bejan suggests that we should instead try for "mere civility": the virtue of being able to disagree fundamentally with others without destroying the possibility of a common life tomorrow. (This talk contains mature language.)
My+journey+to+thank+all+the+people+responsible+for+my+morning+coffee+%7C+AJ+Jacobs
access_time5 days ago
Author AJ Jacobs embarked on a quest with a deceptively simple idea at its heart: to personally thank every person who helped make his morning cup of coffee. More than one thousand "thank yous" later, Jacobs reflects on the globe-trotting journey that ensued -- and shares the life-altering wisdom he picked up along the way. "I discovered that my coffee would not be possible without hundreds of people I take for granted," Jacobs says.
What+to+trust+in+a+%22post-truth%22+world+%7C+Alex+Edmans
access_time6 days ago
Only if you are truly open to the possibility of being wrong can you ever learn, says researcher Alex Edmans. In an insightful talk, he explores how confirmation bias -- the tendency to only accept information that supports your personal beliefs -- can lead you astray on social media, in politics and beyond, and offers three practical tools for finding evidence you can actually trust. (Hint: appoint someone to be the devil's advocate in your life.)
What+it%27s+like+to+be+Muslim+in+America+%7C+Dalia+Mogahed
access_time8 days ago
When you look at Muslim scholar Dalia Mogahed, what do you see: A woman of faith? A scholar, a mom, a sister? Or an oppressed, brainwashed, potential terrorist? In this personal, powerful talk, Mogahed asks us, in this polarizing time, to fight negative perceptions of her faith in the media -- and to choose empathy over prejudice.
The+case+for+a+decentralized+internet+%7C+Tamas+Kocsis
access_time9 days ago
Who controls the internet? Increasingly, the answer is large corporations and governments -- a trend that's threatening digital privacy and access to information online, says web developer Tamas Kocsis. In this informative talk, Kocsis breaks down the different threats to internet freedom and shares his plan to build an alternative, decentralized network that returns power to everyday users.
The+global+goals+we%27ve+made+progress+on+--+and+the+ones+we+haven%27t+%7C+Michael+Green
access_time10 days ago
Are we delivering on the promises of the Sustainable Development Goals, the collection of 17 objectives set by the United Nations in 2015 that aims to improve the lives of billions by 2030? In this data-packed talk, economist Michael Green shares fresh analysis on the progress each country has (or hasn't) made -- and offers new ideas on how we can move forward significantly. "We are living in a world that is tantalizingly close to ensuring that no one need die of hunger or malaria or diarrhea," Green says.
How+kids+can+help+design+cities+%7C+Mara+Mintzer
access_time11 days ago
Adults tend to think of kids as "future citizens" -- their ideas and opinions will matter someday, just not today. But kids make up a quarter of the population, so shouldn't they have a say in what the world they'll inherit will look like? Urban planner Mara Mintzer shares what happened when she and her team asked kids to help design a park in Boulder, Colorado -- and how it revealed an important blind spot in how we construct the built environment. "If we aren't including children in our planning, who else aren't we including?" Mintzer asks.
How+I+accidentally+changed+the+way+movies+get+made+%7C+Franklin+Leonard
access_time11 days ago
How does Hollywood choose what stories get told on-screen? Too often, it's groupthink informed by a narrow set of ideas about what sells at the box office. As a producer, Franklin Leonard saw too many great screenplays never get made because they didn't fit the mold. So he started the Black List, an anonymous email that shared his favorite screenplays and asked: Why aren't we making these movies? Learn the origin story of some of your favorite films with this fascinating insider view of the movie business.
Why+I+have+coffee+with+people+who+send+me+hate+mail+%7C+%C3%96zlem+Cekic
access_time12 days ago
Özlem Cekic's email inbox has been full of hate mail since 2007, when she won a seat in the Danish Parliament -- becoming the first female Muslim to do so. At first she just deleted the emails, dismissing them as the work of fanatics, until one day a friend made an unexpected suggestion: to reach out to the hate mail writers and invite them to meet for coffee. Hundreds of "dialogue coffee" meetings later, Cekic shares how face-to-face conversation can be one of the most powerful forces to disarm hate -- and challenges us all to engage with people we disagree with.
The+case+for+curiosity-driven+research+%7C+Suzie+Sheehy
access_time13 days ago
Seemingly pointless scientific research can lead to extraordinary discoveries, says physicist Suzie Sheehy. In a talk and tech demo, she shows how many of our modern technologies are tied to centuries-old, curiosity-driven experiments -- and makes the case for investing in more to arrive at a deeper understanding of the world.
Science+can+answer+moral+questions+%7C+Sam+Harris
access_time15 days ago
Questions of good and evil, right and wrong are commonly thought unanswerable by science. But Sam Harris argues that science can -- and should -- be an authority on moral issues, shaping human values and setting out what constitutes a good life.
A+memory+scientist%27s+advice+on+reporting+harassment+and+discrimination+%7C+Julia+Shaw
access_time16 days ago
How do you turn a memory, especially one of a traumatic event, into hard evidence of a crime? Julia Shaw is working on this challenge, combining tools from memory science and artificial intelligence to change how we report workplace harassment and bias. She shares three lessons to apply if you've been harassed or discriminated against -- and introduces Spot: a free, anonymous, online reporting tool that helps empower victims.
How+to+let+go+of+being+a+%22good%22+person+--+and+become+a+better+person+%7C+Dolly+Chugh
access_time17 days ago
What if your attachment to being a "good" person is holding you back from actually becoming a better person? In this accessible talk, social psychologist Dolly Chugh explains the puzzling psychology of ethical behavior -- like why it's hard to spot your biases and acknowledge mistakes -- and shows how the path to becoming better starts with owning your mistakes. "In every other part of our lives, we give ourselves room to grow -- except in this one, where it matters most," Chugh says.
How+tech+companies+deceive+you+into+giving+up+your+data+and+privacy+%7C+Finn+Myrstad
access_time18 days ago
Have you ever actually read the terms and conditions for the apps you use? Finn Myrstad and his team at the Norwegian Consumer Council have, and it took them nearly a day and a half to read the terms of all the apps on an average phone. In a talk about the alarming ways tech companies deceive their users, Myrstad shares insights about the personal information you've agreed to let companies collect -- and how they use your data at a scale you could never imagine.
Is+war+between+China+and+the+US+inevitable%3F+%7C+Graham+Allison
access_time19 days ago
Taking lessons from a historical pattern called "Thucydides's Trap," political scientist Graham Allison shows why a rising China and a dominant United States could be headed towards a violent collision no one wants -- and how we can summon the common sense and courage to avoid it.
What+everyday+citizens+can+do+to+claim+power+on+the+internet+%7C+Fadi+Chehad%C3%A9+and+Bryn+Freedman
access_time19 days ago
Technology architect Fadi Chehadé helped set up the infrastructure that makes the internet work -- essential things like the domain name system and IP address standards. Today he's focused on finding ways for society to benefit from technology. In a crisp conversation with Bryn Freedman, curator of the TED Institute, Chehadé discusses the ongoing war between the West and China over artificial intelligence, how tech companies can become stewards of the power they have to shape lives and economies and what everyday citizens can do to claim power on the internet.
How+isolation+fuels+opioid+addiction+%7C+Rachel+Wurzman
access_time20 days ago
What do Tourette syndrome, heroin addiction and social media obsession all have in common? They converge in an area of the brain called the striatum, says neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman -- and this critical discovery could reshape our understanding of the opioid crisis. Sharing insights from her research, Wurzman shows how social isolation contributes to relapse and overdose rates and reveals how meaningful human connection could offer a potentially powerful source of recovery.
Chemical+scum+that+dream+of+distant+quasars+%7C+David+Deutsch
access_time22 days ago
Legendary scientist David Deutsch puts theoretical physics on the back burner to discuss a more urgent matter: the survival of our species. The first step toward solving global warming, he says, is to admit that we have a problem.
How+will+we+survive+when+the+population+hits+10+billion%3F+%7C+Charles+C.+Mann
access_time23 days ago
By 2050, an estimated 10 billion people will live on earth. How are we going to provide everybody with basic needs while also avoiding the worst impacts of climate change? In a talk packed with wit and wisdom, science journalist Charles C. Mann breaks down the proposed solutions and finds that the answers fall into two camps -- wizards and prophets -- while offering his own take on the best path to survival.
My+quest+to+defy+gravity+and+fly+%7C+Elizabeth+Streb
access_time24 days ago
Over the course of her fearless career, extreme action specialist Elizabeth Streb has pushed the limits of the human body. She's jumped through broken glass, toppled from great heights and built gizmos to provide a boost along the way. Backed by footage of her work, Streb reflects on her lifelong quest to defy gravity and fly the only way a human can -- by mastering the landing.
Let%27s+call+%22revenge+porn%22+what+it+is%3A+digital+domestic+violence+%7C+Darieth+Chisolm
access_time25 days ago
What can you do if you're the victim of revenge porn or cyberbullying? Shockingly little, says journalist and activist Darieth Chisolm, who found herself living the nightmare scenario of having explicit photos taken without her knowledge or consent posted online. She describes how she's working to help victims and outlines the current state of legislation aimed at punishing perpetrators.
How+we+can+help+young+people+build+a+better+future+%7C+Henrietta+Fore
access_time25 days ago
A massive generation of young people is about to inherit the world, and it's the duty of everyone to give them a fighting chance for their futures, says UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore. In this forward-looking talk, she explores the crises facing them and details an ambitious new global initiative, Generation Unlimited, which aims to ensure every young person is in school, training or employed by 2030.
You+may+be+accidentally+investing+in+cigarette+companies+%7C+Bronwyn+King
access_time4 months ago
Tobacco causes more than seven million deaths every year -- and many of us are far more complicit in the problem than we realize. In a bold talk, oncologist Dr. Bronwyn King tells the story of how she uncovered the deep ties between the tobacco industry and the entire global finance sector, which invests our money in cigarette companies through big banks, insurers and pension funds. Learn how Dr. King has ignited a worldwide movement to create tobacco-free investments and how each of us can play a role in ending this epidemic.
How+to+stop+swiping+and+find+your+person+on+dating+apps+%7C+Christina+Wallace
access_time4 months ago
Let's face it, online dating can suck. So many potential people, so much time wasted -- is it even worth it? Podcaster and entrepreneur Christina Wallace thinks so, if you do it right. In a funny, practical talk, Wallace shares how she used her MBA skill set to invent a "zero date" approach and get off swipe-based apps -- and how you can, too.
How+AI+is+making+it+easier+to+diagnose+disease+%7C+Pratik+Shah
access_time4 months ago
Today's AI algorithms require tens of thousands of expensive medical images to detect a patient's disease. What if we could drastically reduce the amount of data needed to train an AI, making diagnoses low-cost and more effective? TED Fellow Pratik Shah is working on a clever system to do just that. Using an unorthodox AI approach, Shah has developed a technology that requires as few as 50 images to develop a working algorithm -- and can even use photos taken on doctors' cell phones to provide a diagnosis. Learn more about how this new way to analyze medical information could lead to earlier detection of life-threatening illnesses and bring AI-assisted diagnosis to more health care settings worldwide.
Why+doctors+are+offering+free+tax+prep+in+their+waiting+rooms+%7C+Lucy+Marcil
access_time4 months ago
More than 90 percent of children in the US see a doctor at least once a year, which means countless hours spent in waiting rooms for parents. What if those hours could be used for something productive -- like saving money? Through her organization StreetCred, pediatrician and TED Fellow Lucy Marcil is offering free tax prep to parents right in the waiting room, reimagining what a doctor's visit can look like and helping to lift families out of poverty. Learn more about how free tax prep and guidance could be the best poverty prescription we have in the US.
How+to+train+employees+to+have+difficult+conversations+%7C+Tamekia+MizLadi+Smith
access_time4 months ago
It's time to invest in face-to-face training that empowers employees to have difficult conversations, says Tamekia MizLadi Smith. In a witty, provocative talk, Smith shares a workplace training program called "I'm G.R.A.C.E.D." that will inspire bosses and employees alike to communicate with compassion and respect. Bottom line: always let people know why their work matters.
Where+are+all+the+aliens%3F+%7C+Stephen+Webb
access_time4 months ago
The universe is incredibly old, astoundingly vast and populated by trillions of planets -- so where are all the aliens? Astronomer Stephen Webb has an explanation: we're alone in the universe. In a mind-expanding talk, he spells out the remarkable barriers a planet would need to clear in order to host an extraterrestrial civilization -- and makes a case for the beauty of our potential cosmic loneliness. "The silence of the universe is shouting, 'We're the creatures who got lucky,'" Webb says.
What+the+Russian+Revolution+would+have+looked+like+on+social+media+%7C+Mikhail+Zygar
access_time4 months ago
History is written by the victors, as the saying goes -- but what would it look like if it was written by everyone? Journalist and TED Fellow Mikhail Zygar is on a mission to show us with Project1917, a "social network for dead people" that posts the real diaries and letters of more than 3,000 people who lived during the Russian Revolution. By showing the daily thoughts of the likes of Lenin, Trotsky and many less celebrated figures, the project sheds new light on history as it once was -- and as it could have been. Learn more about this digital retelling of the past as well as Zygar's latest project about the transformative year of 1968.
What+your+smart+devices+know+%28and+share%29+about+you+%7C+Kashmir+Hill+and+Surya+Mattu
access_time4 months ago
Once your "smart" appliances can talk to you, who else are they talking to? Kashmir Hill and Surya Mattu wanted to find out -- so they outfitted Hill's apartment with 18 different internet-connected devices and built a special router to track how often the devices contacted their servers and see what they were reporting back. The results were surprising -- and more than a little bit creepy. Learn more about what the data from your smart devices is telling companies about your sleep schedule, TV binges and even your tooth-brushing habits -- and how tech companies could use it to target and profile you. (This talk contains mature language.)
The+power+of+diversity+within+yourself+%7C+Rebeca+Hwang
access_time4 months ago
Rebeca Hwang has spent a lifetime juggling identities -- Korean heritage, Argentinian upbringing, education in the United States -- and for a long time she had difficulty finding a place in the world to call home. Yet along with these challenges came a pivotal realization: that a diverse background is a distinct advantage in today's globalized world. In this personal talk, Hwang reveals the endless benefits of embracing our complex identities -- and shares her hopes for creating a world where identities aren't used to alienate but to bring people together instead.
The+mission+to+create+a+searchable+database+of+Earth%27s+surface+%7C+Will+Marshall
access_time4 months ago
What if you could search the surface of the Earth the same way you search the internet? Will Marshall and his team at Planet use the world's largest fleet of satellites to image the entire Earth every day. Now they're moving on to a new project: using AI to index all the objects on the planet over time -- which could make ships, trees, houses and everything else on Earth searchable, the same way you search Google. He shares a vision for how this database can become a living record of the immense physical changes happening across the globe. "You can't fix what you can't see," Marshall says. "We want to give people the tools to see change and take action.
How+to+have+better+political+conversations+%7C+Robb+Willer
access_time4 months ago
Robb Willer studies the forces that unite and divide us. As a social psychologist, he researches how moral values -- typically a source of division -- can also be used to bring people together. Willer shares compelling insights on how we might bridge the ideological divide and offers some intuitive advice on ways to be more persuasive when talking politics.
An+honest+look+at+the+personal+finance+crisis+%7C+Elizabeth+White
access_time4 months ago
Millions of baby boomers are moving into their senior years with empty pockets and declining choices to earn a living. And right behind them is a younger generation facing the same challenges. In this deeply personal talk, author Elizabeth White opens up an honest conversation about financial trouble and offers practical advice for how to live a richly textured life on a limited income.
A+new+way+to+monitor+vital+signs+%28that+can+see+through+walls%29+%7C+Dina+Katabi
access_time4 months ago
At MIT, Dina Katabi and her team are working on a bold new way to monitor patients' vital signs in a hospital (or even at home), without wearables or bulky, beeping devices. Bonus: it can see through walls. In a mind-blowing talk and demo, Katabi previews a system that captures the reflections of signals like Wi-Fi as they bounce off people, creating a reliable record of vitals for healthcare workers and patients. And in a brief Q&A with TED curator Helen Walters, Katabi discusses safeguards being put in place to prevent people from using this tech to monitor somebody without their consent.
How+to+build+synthetic+DNA+and+send+it+across+the+internet+%7C+Dan+Gibson
access_time4 months ago
Biologist Dan Gibson edits and programs DNA, just like coders program a computer. But his "code" creates life, giving scientists the power to convert digital information into biological material like proteins and vaccines. Now he's on to a new project: "biological transportation," which holds the promise of beaming new medicines across the globe over the internet. Learn more about how this technology could change the way we respond to disease outbreaks and enable us to download personalized prescriptions in our homes.
How+we+study+the+microbes+living+in+your+gut+%7C+Dan+Knights
access_time4 months ago
There are about a hundred trillion microbes living inside your gut -- protecting you from infection, aiding digestion and regulating your immune system. As our bodies have adapted to life in modern society, we've started to lose some of our normal microbes; at the same time, diseases linked to a loss of diversity in microbiome are skyrocketing in developed nations. Computational microbiologist Dan Knights shares some intriguing discoveries about the differences in the microbiomes of people in developing countries compared to the US, and how they might affect our health. Learn more about the world of microbes living inside you -- and the work being done to create tools to restore and replenish them.
How+farming+could+employ+Africa%27s+young+workforce+--+and+help+build+peace+%7C+Kola+Masha
access_time4 months ago
Africa's youth is coming of age rapidly, but job growth on the continent isn't keeping up. The result: financial insecurity and, in some cases, a turn towards insurgent groups. In a passionate talk, agricultural entrepreneur Kola Masha details his plan to bring leadership and investment to small farmers in Africa -- and employ a rising generation.
The+rapid+growth+of+the+Chinese+internet+--+and+where+it%27s+headed+%7C+Gary+Liu
access_time4 months ago
The Chinese internet has grown at a staggering pace -- it now has more users than the combined populations of the US, UK, Russia, Germany, France and Canada. Even with its imperfections, the lives of once-forgotten populations have been irrevocably elevated because of it, says South China Morning Post CEO Gary Liu. In a fascinating talk, Liu details how the tech industry in China has developed -- from the innovative, like AI-optimized train travel, to the dystopian, like a social credit rating that both rewards and restricts citizens.
A+crash+course+in+organic+chemistry+%7C+Jakob+Magolan
access_time5 months ago
Jakob Magolan is here to change your perception of organic chemistry. In an accessible talk packed with striking graphics, he teaches us the basics while breaking the stereotype that organic chemistry is something to be afraid of.
A+new+way+to+remove+CO2+from+the+atmosphere+%7C+Jennifer+Wilcox
access_time5 months ago
Our planet has a carbon problem -- if we don't start removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, we'll grow hotter, faster. Chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox previews some amazing technology to scrub carbon from the air, using chemical reactions that capture and reuse CO2 in much the same way trees do but at a vast scale. This detailed talk reviews both the promise and the pitfalls.
How+we%27re+saving+one+of+Earth%27s+last+wild+places+%7C+Steve+Boyes
access_time5 months ago
Navigating territorial hippos and active minefields, TED Fellow Steve Boyes and a team of scientists have been traveling through the Okavango Delta, Africa's largest remaining wetland wilderness, to explore and protect this near-pristine habitat against the rising threat of development. In this awe-inspiring talk packed with images, he shares his work doing detailed scientific surveys in the hopes of protecting this enormous, fragile wilderness.
Why+teens+confess+to+crimes+they+didn%27t+commit+%7C+Lindsay+Malloy
access_time5 months ago
Why do juveniles falsely confess to crimes? What makes them more vulnerable than adults to this shocking, counterintuitive phenomenon? Through the lens of Brendan Dassey's interrogation and confession (as featured in Netflix's "Making a Murderer" documentary), developmental psychology professor and researcher Lindsay Malloy breaks down the science underlying false confessions and calls for change in the way kids are treated by a legal system designed for adults.
The+tiny+creature+that+secretly+powers+the+planet+%7C+Penny+Chisholm
access_time5 months ago
Oceanographer Penny Chisholm introduces us to an amazing little being: Prochlorococcus, the most abundant photosynthetic species on the planet. A marine microbe that has existed for billions of years, Prochlorococcus wasn't discovered until the mid-1980s -- but its ancient genetic code may hold clues to how we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
How+autonomous+flying+taxis+could+change+the+way+you+travel+%7C+Rodin+Lyasoff
access_time5 months ago
Flight is about to get a lot more personal, says aviation entrepreneur Rodin Lyasoff. In this visionary talk, he imagines a new golden age of air travel in which small, autonomous air taxis allow us to bypass traffic jams and fundamentally transform how we get around our cities and towns. "In the past century, flight connected our planet," Lyasoff says. "In the next, it will reconnect our local communities.
The+agony+of+opioid+withdrawal+--+and+what+doctors+should+tell+patients+about+it+%7C+Travis+Rieder
access_time5 months ago
The United States accounts for five percent of the world's population but consumes almost 70 percent of the total global opioid supply, creating an epidemic that has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths each year. How did we get here, and what can we do about it? In this personal talk, Travis Rieder recounts the painful, often-hidden struggle of opioid withdrawal and reveals how doctors who are quick to prescribe (and overprescribe) opioids aren't equipped with the tools to eventually get people off the meds.
The+story+of+%27Oumuamua%2C+the+first+visitor+from+another+star+system+%7C+Karen+J.+Meech
access_time5 months ago
In October 2017, astrobiologist Karen J. Meech got the call every astronomer waits for: NASA had spotted the very first visitor from another star system. The interstellar comet -- a half-mile-long object eventually named `Oumuamua, from the Hawaiian for "scout" or "messenger" -- raised intriguing questions: Was it a chunk of rocky debris from a new star system, shredded material from a supernova explosion, evidence of alien technology or something else altogether? In this riveting talk, Meech tells the story of how her team raced against the clock to find answers about this unexpected gift from afar.
Bridges+should+be+beautiful+%7C+Ian+Firth
access_time5 months ago
Bridges need to be functional, safe and durable, but they should also be elegant and beautiful, says structural engineer Ian Firth. In this mesmerizing tour of bridges old and new, Firth explores the potential for innovation and variety in this essential structure -- and how spectacular ones reveal our connectivity, unleash our creativity and hint at our identity.
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