What kinds of stories move us to act? To answer this question, creative technologist Heidi Boisvert is measuring how people's brains and bodies unconsciously respond to different media. She shows how she's using this data to determine the specific narrative ingredients that inspire empathy and justice -- and spark large-scale social change.
Ever wondered how your smartphone works? Take a journey down to the atomic level with scientist Cathy Mulzer, who reveals how almost every component of our high-powered devices exists thanks to chemists -- and not the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs that come to most people's minds. As she puts it: "Chemistry is the hero of electronic communications."
In this glimpse into our technological future, cryptographer Craig Costello discusses the world-altering potential of quantum computers, which could shatter the limits set by today's machines -- and give code breakers a master key to the digital world. See how Costello and his fellow cryptographers are racing to reinvent encryption and secure the internet.
Social media has become our new home. Can we build it better? Taking design cues from urban planners and social scientists, technologist Eli Pariser shows how the problems we're encountering on digital platforms aren't all that new -- and shares how, by following the model of thriving towns and cities, we can create trustworthy online communities.
Millions of images and videos are uploaded to the internet each day, yet we rarely see shocking and disturbing content in our social media feeds. Who's keeping the internet "clean" for us? In this eye-opening talk, documentarians Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck take us inside the shadowy world of online content moderators -- the people contracted by major platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google to rid the internet of toxic material. Learn more about the psychological impact of this kind...
Energy poverty, or the lack of access to electricity and other basic energy services, affects nearly two-thirds of Sub-Saharan Africa. As the region's population continues to increase, so will the need to build a new energy system to grow with it, says Rose M. Mutiso. In a bold talk, she discusses how a balanced mix of solutions like solar, wind farms, geothermal power and modern grids could create a high-energy future for Africa -- providing reliable electricity, creating jobs and raising...
How can we stop the spread of misleading, sometimes dangerous content while maintaining an internet with freedom of expression at its core? Misinformation expert Claire Wardle explores the new challenges of our polluted online environment and maps out a plan to transform the internet into a place of trust -- with the help everyday users. "Together, let's rebuild our information commons," she says.
Nearly 800 million people worldwide depend on cassava for survival -- but this critical food source is under attack by entirely preventable viruses, says computational biologist and TED Senior Fellow Laura Boykin. She takes us to the farms in East Africa where she's working with a diverse team of scientists to help farmers keep their crops healthy using a portable DNA lab and mini supercomputer that can identify viruses in hours, instead of months.
A full third of the world's population -- 2.6 billion people -- play video games, plugging into massive networks of interaction that have opened up opportunities well beyond entertainment. In a talk about the future of the medium, entrepreneur Herman Narula makes the case for a new understanding of gaming -- one that includes the power to create new worlds, connect people and shape the economy.
To study a system as complex as the entire universe, astrophysicists need to be experts at extracting simple solutions from large data sets. What else could they do with this expertise? In an interdisciplinary talk, TED Fellow and astrophysicist Federica Bianco explains how she uses astrophysical data analysis to solve urban and social problems -- as well as stellar mysteries.
The use of deepfake technology to manipulate video and audio for malicious purposes -- whether it's to stoke violence or defame politicians and journalists -- is becoming a real threat. As these tools become more accessible and their products more realistic, how will they shape what we believe about the world? In a portentous talk, law professor Danielle Citron reveals how deepfakes magnify our distrust -- and suggests approaches to safeguarding the truth.
Humans have been studying the stars for thousands of years, but astrophysicist Juna Kollmeier is on a special mission: creating the most detailed 3-D maps of the universe ever made. Journey across the cosmos as she shares her team's work on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, imaging millions of stars, black holes and galaxies in unprecedented detail. If we maintain our pace, she says, we can map every large galaxy in the observable universe by 2060. "We've gone from arranging clamshells to...
TED Fellow and astronomer Erika Hamden leads the team building FIREBall, a telescope that hangs from a giant balloon at the very edge of space and looks for clues about how stars are created. She takes us inside the roller-coaster, decade-long journey to get the telescope from an idea into orbit -- and shows how failure is inevitable when you're pushing the limits of knowledge.
In a story of scientific discovery, chemical biologist David R. Liu shares a breakthrough: his lab's development of base editors that can rewrite DNA. This crucial step in genome editing takes the promise of CRISPR to the next level: if CRISPR proteins are molecular scissors, programmed to cut specific DNA sequences, then base editors are pencils, capable of directly rewriting one DNA letter into another. Learn more about how these molecular machines work -- and their potential to treat or...
Keith Kirkland is developing wearable tech that communicates information using only the sense of touch. He's trying to figure out: What gestures and vibration patterns could intuitively communicate ideas like "stop" or "go"? Check out his team's first product, a navigation device for the blind and visually impaired, and learn more about the entirely new "haptic language" he's creating to power it.
AI algorithms make important decisions about you all the time -- like how much you should pay for car insurance or whether or not you get that job interview. But what happens when these machines are built with human bias coded into their systems? Technologist Kriti Sharma explores how the lack of diversity in tech is creeping into our AI, offering three ways we can start making more ethical algorithms.
From floppy disks to thumb drives, every method of storing data eventually becomes obsolete. What if we could find a way to store all the world's data forever? Bioinformatician Dina Zielinski shares the science behind a solution that's been around for a few billion years: DNA.
The transistors that power the phone in your pocket are unimaginably small: you can fit more than 3,000 of them across the width of a human hair. But to keep up with innovations in fields like facial recognition and augmented reality, we need to pack even more computing power into our computer chips -- and we're running out of space. In this forward-thinking talk, technology developer Karl Skjonnemand introduces a radically new way to create chips. "This could be the dawn of a new era of...
Roy Bahat was worried. His company invests in new technology like AI to make businesses more efficient -- but, he wondered, what was AI doing to the people whose jobs might change, go away or become less fulfilling? The question sent him on a two-year research odyssey to discover what motivates people, and why we work. In this conversation with curator Bryn Freedman, he shares what he learned, including some surprising insights that will shape the conversation about the future of our jobs.
The path to skill around the globe has been the same for thousands of years: train under an expert and take on small, easy tasks before progressing to riskier, harder ones. But right now, we're handling AI in a way that blocks that path -- and sacrificing learning in our quest for productivity, says organizational ethnographer Matt Beane. What can be done? Beane shares a vision that flips the current story into one of distributed, machine-enhanced mentorship that takes full advantage of AI's...