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...
A quantum computer isn't just a more powerful version of the computers we use today; it's something else entirely, based on emerging scientific understanding -- and more than a bit of uncertainty. Enter the quantum wonderland with TED Fellow Shohini Ghose and learn how this technology holds the potential to transform medicine, create unbreakable encryption and even teleport information.
Electric cars are extremely quiet, offering some welcome silence in our cities. But they also bring new dangers, since they can easily sneak up on unsuspecting pedestrians. What kind of sounds should they make to keep people safe? Get a preview of what the future may sound like as acoustic engineer and musician Renzo Vitale shows how he's composing a voice for electric cars.
India has the second largest population of any country in the world -- yet it has only 50 decent bookstores, says publisher Chiki Sarkar. So she asked herself: How do we get more people reading books? Find out how Sarkar is tapping into India's smartphone revolution to create a new generation of readers and writers in this fun talk about a fresh kind of storytelling.
Humans are no longer valued for our creativity, says media theorist Douglas Rushkoff -- in a world dominated by digital technology, we're now just valued for our data. In a passionate talk, Rushkoff urges us to stop using technology to optimize people for the market and start using it to build a future centered on our pre-digital values of connection, creativity and respect. "Join 'Team Human.' Find the others," he says. "Together let's make the future that we always wanted."
Imagine your company hires a new employee and then everyone just ignores them, day in and day out, while they sit alone at their desk getting paid to do nothing. This situation actually happens all the time -- when companies invest millions of dollars in new tech tools only to have frustrated employees disregard them, says Nadjia Yousif. In this fun and practical talk, she offers advice on how to better collaborate with the technologies in your workplace -- by treating them like colleagues.
Tech that can decode your brain activity and reveal what you're thinking and feeling is on the horizon, says legal scholar and ethicist Nita Farahany. What will it mean for our already violated sense of privacy? In a cautionary talk, Farahany warns of a society where people are arrested for merely thinking about committing a crime (like in "Minority Report") and private interests sell our brain data -- and makes the case for a right to cognitive liberty that protects our freedom of thought...
Our oceans are unexplored and undersampled -- today, we still know more about other planets than our own. How can we get to a better understanding of this vast, important ecosystem? Explorer Sebastien de Halleux shares how a new fleet of wind- and solar-powered drones is collecting data at sea in unprecedented detail, revealing insights into things like global weather and the health of fish stocks. Learn more about what a better grasp of the ocean could mean for us back on land.
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.
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.
Have you ever actually read the terms and conditions for the apps you use? Finn Lützow-Holm 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.
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...