Have you ever misplaced something you were just holding? Completely blanked on a famous actor's name? Walked into a room and immediately forgot why? Neuroscientist Lisa Genova digs into two types of memory failures we regularly experience -- and reassures us that forgetting is totally normal. Stay tuned for a conversation with TED science curator David Biello, where Genova describes the difference between common moments of forgetting and possible signs of Alzheimer's, debunks a widespread myth about brain capacity and shares what you can do to keep your brain healthy and your memory sharp. (This virtual conversation was part of an exclusive TED Membership event. Visit ted.com/membership to become a TED Member.)
Every environment on the planet -- from forested mountaintops to scorching deserts and even the human gut -- has a microbiome that keeps it healthy and balanced. Ecologist Steven Allison explores how these extraordinarily adaptable, diverse collections of microorganisms could help solve big global problems like climate change and food insecurity -- and makes the case for getting to know Earth's original inhabitants in fascinating ways.
Animals are communicating -- but what are they saying? And can we talk back? Marine biologist David Gruber introduces Project CETI: a team of scientists, linguists and AI specialists hoping to decode sperm whale language. Using noninvasive robots and a machine-learning algorithm to collect and analyze millions of sperm whale vocalizations known as coda, the team aims to demystify the communication structures and dialects of these majestic creatures -- and possibly even crack the interspecies communication code. (This ambitious plan is a part of the Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)
Why corporate diversity programs fail -- and how small tweaks can have big impact | Joan C. Williams
Companies in the US spend billions of dollars each year on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, but subtle (and not so subtle) workplace biases often cost these initiatives -- and the people they're meant to help -- big time by undermining their goals. DEI expert Joan C. Williams identifies five common patterns of bias that cause these programs to fail -- and offers a data-driven approach to pinpoint where things go wrong and how to make progress instead.
How does an astronaut prepare physically and mentally to launch into space? NASA astronaut Megan McArthur, who traveled to the International Space Station in April 2021 as part of the SpaceX Crew-2 mission, shares stellar life lessons on how to cultivate the resolve to do incredible things through preparation -- and a dash of bravery. A rare glimpse at what it takes to literally shoot for the stars. (This virtual conversation, hosted by TEDWomen curator Pat Mitchell, was recorded in November 2020.)
Business in Africa is booming -- but international companies are missing out, says emerging markets expert Nomava Zanazo. Rushing in without knowing their customers, businesses underestimate Africans and make costly assumptions about their diversity, preferences and buying power. Sharing the basics about what companies need to know to succeed on the continent, Zanazo debunks four myths and misunderstandings about Africa and its citizens -- and invites businesses from overseas to share in its wealth ... once they've done their research.
Thousands of languages thrive across the globe, yet modern speech technology -- with all of its benefits -- supports just over a hundred. Computational linguist Kalika Bali dreams of a day when technology acts as a bridge instead of a barrier, working passionately to build new and inclusive systems for the millions who speak low-resource languages. In this perspective-shifting talk, she outlines what happens when a language is omitted from the digital landscape -- and what can be gained when communities keep pace with the future.
Would you pay two percent more for the carbon-neutral version of the products you buy and use every day? In this innovative talk, climate pathfinder Jens Burchardt walks us through the costs and considerations of producing planet-friendly products -- from creation to purchase -- and explains why curbing climate change doesn't have to break the bank. It's an inspiring demonstration of how the barriers to a greener world may not be as insurmountable as we think.
How do you effectively regulate stress? Therapist Esther Perel discusses the importance of creating routines, rituals and boundaries to deal with pandemic-related loss and uncertainty -- both at home and at work -- and offers some practical tools and techniques to help you regain your sense of self. (This conversation, hosted by TED's Helen Walters, was recorded February 2021.)
The "broken" US political system is actually working exactly as designed, says business leader and activist Katherine Gehl. Examining the system through a nonpartisan lens, she makes the case for voting innovations, already implemented in parts of the country, that give citizens more choice and incentivize politicians to work towards progress and solutions instead of just reelection.
Colleges and universities in the US make billions of dollars each year from sports, compromising the health and education of athletes -- who are disproportionately Black -- in the name of money, power and pride. Sports lawyer and former NCAA investigator Tim Nevius exposes how the system exploits young talent and identifies fundamental reforms needed to protect players.
With candor and cunning, sex historian Kate Lister chronicles the curious journey of an ancient, honest word with innocent origins and a now-scandalous connotation in this uproarious love letter to etymology, queens, cows and all things "cunt." (This talk contains mature language.)
DNA isn't the only builder in the biological world -- there's also a mysterious bioelectric layer directing cells to work together to grow organs, systems and bodies, says biologist Michael Levin. Sharing unforgettable and groundbreaking footage of two-headed worms, he introduces us to xenobots -- the world's first living robots, created in his lab by cracking the electrical code of cells -- and discusses what this discovery may mean for the future of medicine, the environment and even life itself. (This conversation, hosted by TED's Chris Anderson, was recorded June 2020.)
Dictionaries and grammar "rules" don't have the final word on language -- and believing they do can harm more than help, especially for the trans community. Sociolinguist Archie Crowley deconstructs three common myths around language, demonstrating how it's a fluid system that naturally evolves in the direction of inclusion.
Farmers stand at the center of the world, says Andrew Youn, cofounder of One Acre Fund, an agricultural organization that's empowering sub-Saharan farm families with the loans, seeds, fertilizer and training needed to increase crop yields and end hunger. Meet Therese Niyonsaba, a Rwandan farmer who shares how the program helped her family prosper, and learn more about One Acre Fund's goal to lead a farmer-focused green revolution and reach 6.8 million families by 2026. (This ambitious plan is a part of the Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)
From hours-long lines and limited polling locations to confusing and discriminatory registration policies, why is it so hard to vote in the US? Voting rights expert Amber McReynolds offers a proven alternative: a new process, already happening in parts of the country, that could bring accountability, transparency and equity to the outdated and sputtering system that American democracy currently relies on.
The only thing as powerful as our grief is the love we have for those we've lost, says photographer Caroline Catlin. In this meditation on the intersection of life and death, Catlin shares how her personal journey with loss drove her to capture the elusive moments of grace and beauty that exist even in the hardest moments imaginable.
Biodesigner Natsai Audrey Chieza prototypes the future, imagining a world where people and nature can thrive together. In this wildly imaginative talk, she shares the vision behind her innovation lab, which works at the intersection of nature, technology and society to create sustainable materials and models for the future. Chieza invites us to consider what kind of world we wish for -- and what systemic changes and collaborations need to happen for it to exist.
The single most important thing for avoiding a climate disaster is cutting carbon pollution from the current 51 billion tons per year to zero, says philanthropist and technologist Bill Gates. Introducing the concept of the "green premium" -- the higher price of zero-emission products like electric cars, artificial meat or sustainable aviation fuel -- Gates identifies the breakthroughs and investments we need to reduce the cost of clean tech, decarbonize the economy and create a pathway to a clean and prosperous future for all. (This virtual conversation, hosted by TED Global curator Bruno Giussani, was recorded in March 2021.)
Higher education remains rooted in rigid, traditional structures and tracks -- and it's at risk of getting left behind in favor of expanded access, greater flexibility and tailored learning. Educator Tyler DeWitt explains how innovations in digital content and virtual reality are ushering in the future of learning, emphasizing why academia must adapt to this new reality and embrace an approach to education that works with students' needs -- not against them.