Home: TEDTalks

My mother's final wish -- and the right to die with dignity | Elaine Fong After a terminal cancer diagnosis upended 12 years of remission, all Elaine Fong's mother wanted was a peaceful end of life. What she received instead became a fight for the right to decide when. Fong shares the heart-rending journey to honor her mother's choice for a death with dignity -- and reflects on the need to explore our relationship to dying so that we may redesign this final and most universal of human experiences.
How compassion could save your strained relationships | Betty Hart When personal relationships and ideological differences collide, the result can lead to strained relations -- or even years of silence and distance. Actor Betty Hart offers an alternative to cold shoulders and haughty hellos: compassion, and a chance for growth and change instead of losing important time with loved ones.
How video game skills can get you ahead in life | William Collis What does it take to be a pro gamer? Esports expert William Collis charts the rise of the multibillion-dollar competitive gaming industry and breaks down three skills needed to master video games like Fortnite, League of Legends and Rocket League. And watch out, Collis says: these skills can set you up for crushing it at work, too.
The value of your humanity in an automated future | Kevin Roose To futureproof your job against robots and AI, you should learn how to code, brush up on your math skills and crack open an engineering textbook, right? Wrong. In this surprisingly comforting talk, tech journalist Kevin Roose makes the case that rather than trying to compete with the machines, we should instead focus on what makes us uniquely human.
The people who caused the climate crisis aren't the ones who will fix it | Angela Mahecha Adrar Corporations and big business have wrecked the environment, but disadvantaged communities living in "sacrifice zones" -- urban areas heavily polluted and poisoned by industry -- are paying the price, says climate justice leader Angela Mahecha Adrar. Explaining why racial and economic justice must be at the center of climate action, she takes us to the frontline communities that are leading the world to clean, innovative and just climate solutions -- like Cooperativa Tierra y Libertad, a local farm co-op in Washington that's disrupting the multibillion-dollar berry business.
Why there's no such thing as objective reality | Greg Anderson In the grand scheme of history, modern reality is a bizarre exception when compared to the worlds of ancient, precolonial and Indigenous civilizations, where myths ruled and gods roamed, says historian Greg Anderson. So why do Westerners today think they're right about reality and everybody else is wrong? Anderson tears into the fabric of objective reality to reveal the many universes that lie beyond -- and encourages a healthy reimagining of what other possible ways of being human could look like.
You don't need aliens to make history interesting | Sarah Kurnick Aliens have invaded ancient history: they've cropped up in humanity's past through popular television and movies, displacing facts with absurd yet commonplace beliefs like "aliens built the pyramids." Archaeologist Sarah Kurnick illustrates why these misconceptions perpetuate racist and xenophobic notions of history and culture -- and demonstrates how you can help debunk these dangerous, outlandish myths.
The US is back in the Paris Agreement. What's next? | John Kerry and Al Gore On his first day as president, Joe Biden signed a letter of acceptance that set in motion the 30-day process for the United States to re-join the Paris Agreement on climate. On the day the US returns to the accord, John Kerry, the US Special Envoy for Climate, sits down with Nobel Laureate Al Gore to discuss the make-or-break decade ahead of us. Listen as Kerry lays out how the US fits into the global plan to get to net-zero emissions, explains why the COP26 UN climate conference could be humanity's "last best hope" to build international momentum and explores the role of business and youth activists in promoting environmental justice. (This interview features an introduction from Christiana Figueres, the principal architect of the Paris Agreement.)
Meditations on the intersection of humanity and technology | Olivia Arthur Documentary photographer Olivia Arthur has been exploring a new frontier: the evolution of the blurring line between humanity and technology. In this meditative talk, she shows her work documenting the remarkable ways humans have merged with machines -- from bionics and motorized limbs to synthetic muscles and strikingly realistic robots -- and offers wisdom on the complexity, adaptability and resilience of the human body.
How theater weathers wars, outlasts empires and survives pandemics | Cara Greene Epstein When catastrophe strikes, art prevails -- and has done so for centuries. In this fascinating talk, writer and director Cara Greene Epstein places the closing of theaters during the coronavirus pandemic in a historical context, exploring how we can use this intermission to imagine a more just, representative and beautiful world, onstage and off.
I let algorithms randomize my life for two years | Max Hawkins What if everything in your life was randomized: from the food you ate to the things you did and the places you traveled? Computer scientist Max Hawkins created algorithms to make decisions like these for him -- and got hooked on the experience for two years. He shares how relinquishing choice sent him across the world and opened him up to the beautiful complexity and richness of life. It makes you wonder: What lies just outside your comfort zone?
The hidden history found in your teeth | Carolyn Freiwald Your teeth carry secrets: centuries of history about your ancestors, from where they lived to what they ate and where they traveled. Bioarchaeologist Carolyn Freiwald traces the story of human migration across the Americas -- from Mayan royalty and Belizean buccaneers to rural Appalachian farmers -- to illustrate what ancient teeth can reveal about you.
Technology can't fix inequality -- but training and opportunities could | 'Gbenga Sesan Centuries of inequality can't be solved with access to technology alone -- we need to connect people with training and support too, says tech inclusionist 'Gbenga Sesan. Sharing the work behind the Paradigm Initiative, a social enterprise in Nigeria that's empowering young people with digital resources and skills, Sesan details a vision for creating life-changing opportunities for generations of people across Africa.
The promise of quantum computers | Matt Langione What if tiny microparticles could help us solve the world's biggest problems in a matter of minutes? That's the promise -- and magic -- of quantum computers, says Matt Langione. Speaking next to an actual IBM quantum computer, he explains how these machines solve complex challenges like developing vaccines and calculating financial risk in an entirely new way that's exponentially faster than the best supercomputers -- and shares why industries should prepare now for this new leap in computing.
How to get everyone to care about a green economy | Angela Francis How do you get the environment to the top of everyone's priority list? You can't, says climate advocate Angela Francis -- but you can get them to care about improving their lives. In this pragmatic talk, she shares her playbook for helping even the most skeptical among us see the benefits of a greener economy on their health, wealth and well-being.