TED Alert

What's up at SpaceX? Engineer Gwynne Shotwell was employee number seven at Elon Musk's pioneering aerospace company and is now its president. In conversation with TED curator Chris Anderson, she discusses SpaceX's race to put people into orbit and the organization's next big project, the BFR (ask her what it stands for). The new giant rocket is designed to take humanity to Mars -- but it has another potential use: space travel for earthlings. Learn More

We get stronger, not weaker, by engaging with ideas and people we disagree with, says Zachary R. Wood. In an important talk about finding common ground, Wood makes the case that we can build empathy and gain understanding by engaging tactfully and thoughtfully with controversial ideas and unfamiliar perspectives. "Tuning out opposing viewpoints doesn't make them go away," Wood says. "To achieve progress in the face of adversity, we need a genuine commitment to gaining a deeper understanding of humanity." Learn More

On any given night, more than 450,000 people in the United States are locked up in jail simply because they don't have enough money to pay bail. The sums in question are often around $500: easy for some to pay, impossible for others. This has real human consequences -- people lose jobs, homes and lives, and it drives racial disparities in the legal system. Robin Steinberg has a bold idea to change this. In this powerful talk, she outlines the plan for The Bail Project -- an unprecedented national revolving bail fund to fight mass incarceration. Learn More

There are about 7,000 languages spoken around the world -- and they all have different sounds, vocabularies and structures. But do they shape the way we think? Cognitive scientist Lera Boroditsky shares examples of language -- from an Aboriginal community in Australia that uses cardinal directions instead of left and right to the multiple words for blue in Russian -- that suggest the answer is a resounding yes. "The beauty of linguistic diversity is that it reveals to us just how ingenious and how flexible the human mind is," Boroditsky says. "Human minds have invented not one cognitive universe, but 7,000."  Learn More

After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017, chef José Andrés traveled to the devastated island with a simple idea: to feed the hungry. Millions of meals served later, Andrés shares the remarkable story of creating the world's biggest restaurant -- and the awesome power of letting people in need know that somebody cares about them. Learn More

In 2009, journalist and screenwriter Drew Philp bought a ruined house in Detroit for $500. In the years that followed, as he gutted the interior and removed the heaps of garbage crowding the rooms, he didn't just learn how to repair a house -- he learned how to build a community. In a tribute to the city he loves, Philp tells us about "radical neighborliness" and makes the case that we have "the power to create the world anew together and to do it ourselves when our governments refuse." Learn More

Irina Kareva translates biology into mathematics and vice versa. She writes mathematical models that describe the dynamics of cancer, with the goal of developing new drugs that target tumors. "The power and beauty of mathematical modeling lies in the fact that it makes you formalize, in a very rigorous way, what we think we know," Kareva says. "It can help guide us to where we should keep looking, and where there may be a dead end." It all comes down to asking the right question and translating it to the right equation, and back. Learn More

Four decades ago, Judith Heumann helped to lead a groundbreaking protest called the Section 504 sit-in -- in which disabled-rights activists occupied a federal building for almost a month, demanding greater accessibility for all. In this personal, inspiring talk, Heumann tells the stories behind the protest -- and reminds us that, 40 years on, there's still work left to do. Learn More

As a humanist, Leo Igwe doesn't believe in divine intervention -- but he does believe in the power of human beings to alleviate suffering, cure disease, preserve the planet and turn situations of poverty into prosperity. In this bold talk, Igwe shares how humanism can free Africans from damaging superstitions and give them the power to rebuild the continent. Learn More

When Ashley Graham first started her modeling career, she was followed everywhere by a label she hates: "plus-size model." Defying such regressive pigeonholing, she explains how she stopped devaluing herself and reclaimed her body as her own. Learn More

Does quitting social media make you an unemployable Luddite? Computer scientist Dr. Cal Newport doesn't think so. In this eye-opening talk, he debunks three objections commonly offered up as rationale for keeping that all-important Facebook account. Learn More

How do you get on the road to being happier? Start by setting your alarm for 30 minutes earlier than usual and not hitting the snooze button. The effort required to leave that warm bed and enter the world is the same amount of effort needed to shake up your life and make that elusive change. In this humorous and provocative talk, Mel Robbins explains how turning off our brain's autopilot and demolishing our comfort zones is key to a rewarding life. Learn More

In the U.S., your taxes fund academic research at public universities. Why then do you need to pay expensive, for-profit journals for the results of that research? Erica Stone advocates for a new, open-access relationship between the public and scholars, making the case that academics should publish in more accessible media. "A functioning democracy requires that the public be well-educated and well-informed," Stone says. "Instead of research happening behind paywalls and bureaucracy, wouldn't it be better if it was unfolding right in front of us?" Learn More

What if we incentivized doctors to keep us healthy instead of paying them only when we're already sick? Matthias Müllenbeck explains how this radical shift from a sick care system to a true health care system could save us from unnecessary costs and risky procedures -- and keep us healthier for longer. Learn More

Amishi Jha studies how we pay attention: the process by which our brain decides what's important out of the constant stream of information it receives. Both external distractions (like stress) and internal ones (like mind-wandering) diminish our attention's power, Jha says -- but some simple techniques can boost it. "Pay attention to your attention," Jha says. Learn More

"Where do great ideas come from?" Starting with this question in mind, Vittorio Loreto takes us on a journey to explore a possible mathematical scheme that explains the birth of the new. Learn more about the "adjacent possible" -- the crossroads of what's actual and what's possible -- and how studying the math that drives it could explain how we create new ideas. Learn More

We use rituals to mark the early stages of our lives, like birthdays and graduations -- but what about our later years? In this meditative talk about looking both backward and forward, Bob Stein proposes a new tradition of giving away your things (and sharing the stories behind them) as you get older, to reflect on your life so far and open the door to whatever comes next. Learn More

We're all against hate, right? We agree it's a problem -- their problem, not our problem, that is. But as Sally Kohn discovered, we all hate -- some of us in subtle ways, others in obvious ones. As she confronts a hard story from her own life, she shares ideas on how we can recognize, challenge and heal from hatred in our institutions and in ourselves. Learn More

The arts bring meaning to our lives and spirit to our culture -- so why do we expect artists to struggle to make a living? Hadi Eldebek is working to create a society where artists are valued through an online platform that matches artists with grants and funding opportunities -- so they can focus on their craft instead of their side hustle. Learn More

Sometimes, a single decision can change the course of history. Join journalist and author Isabel Wilkerson as she tells the story of the Great Migration, the outpouring of six million African Americans from the Jim Crow South to cities in the North and West between World War I and the 1970s. This was the first time in American history that the lowest caste people signaled they had options and were willing to take them -- and the first time they had a chance to choose for themselves what they would do with their innate talents. Learn More

"Down down, baby, down down the roller coaster..." Hip-hop owes a lot of the queens of double dutch. Kyra Gaunt takes us on a tour of the fascinating history of the jump rope. Learn More

Why are pencils shaped like hexagons, and how did they get their iconic yellow color? Pencil shop owner Caroline Weaver takes us inside the fascinating history of the pencil.  Learn More

"Will machines replace humans?" This question is on the mind of anyone with a job to lose. Daniel Susskind confronts this question and three misconceptions we have about our automated future, suggesting we ask something else: How will we distribute wealth in a world when there will be less -- or even no -- work? Learn More

A 24-hour helpline in the UK known as Samaritans helped Sophie Andrews become a survivor of abuse rather than a victim. Now she's paying the favor back as the founder of The Silver Line, a helpline that supports lonely and isolated older people. In a powerful, personal talk, she shares why the simple act of listening (instead of giving advice) is often the best way to help someone in need. Learn More

"Hold your breath," says inventor Tom Zimmerman. "This is the world without plankton." These tiny organisms produce two-thirds of our planet's oxygen -- without them, life as we know it wouldn't exist. In this talk and tech demo, Zimmerman and cell engineer Simone Bianco hook up a 3D microscope to a drop of water and take you scuba diving with plankton. Learn about these mesmerizing creatures and get inspired to protect them against ongoing threats from climate change. Learn More

Experimental psychologist Petter Johansson researches choice blindness -- a phenomenon where we convince ourselves that we're getting what we want, even when we're not. In an eye-opening talk, he shares experiments (designed in collaboration with magicians!) that aim to answer the question: Why do we do what we do? The findings have big implications for the nature of self-knowledge and how we react in the face of manipulation. You may not know yourself as well as you think you do. Learn More

Want to connect with a depressed friend but not sure how to relate to them? Comedian and storyteller Bill Bernat has a few suggestions. Learn some dos and don'ts for talking to people living with depression -- and handle your next conversation with grace and maybe a bit of humor. Learn More

Shameem Akhtar posed as a boy during her early childhood in Pakistan so she could enjoy the privileges Pakistani girls are rarely afforded: to play outside and attend school. In an eye-opening, personal talk, Akhtar recounts how the opportunity to get an education altered the course of her life -- and ultimately changed the culture of her village, where today every young girl goes to school. Learn More

Growing up as a comic book fan, artist Shawn Martinbrough rarely saw people of color depicted positively (or at all) in the stories he loved. So he headed over to New York Comic Con to wrangle himself his first assignment for Marvel Comics. Now, as a successful artist who has worked on "Black Panther" and "Hellboy," he shares the importance of diversity -- for creative teams and character stables alike. Learn More

What's the most transformative thing that you can do for your brain today? Exercise! says neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki. Get inspired to go to the gym as Suzuki discusses the science of how working out boosts your mood and memory -- and protects your brain against neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's. Learn More

Do human emotions have a role to play in science and research? Material researcher Ilona Stengel suggests that instead of opposing each other, emotions and logic complement and reinforce each other. She shares a case study on how properly using emotions (like the empowering feeling of being dedicated to something meaningful) can boost teamwork and personal development -- and catalyze scientific breakthroughs and innovation. Learn More

Driving in Johannesburg one day, Tapiwa Chiwewe noticed an enormous cloud of air pollution hanging over the city. He was curious and concerned but not an environmental expert -- so he did some research and discovered that nearly 14 percent of all deaths worldwide in 2012 were caused by household and ambient air pollution. With this knowledge and an urge to do something about it, Chiwewe and his colleagues developed a platform that uncovers trends in pollution and helps city planners make better decisions. "Sometimes just one fresh perspective, one new skill set, can make the conditions right for something remarkable to happen," Chiwewe says. "But you need to be bold enough to try." Learn More

The prevailing image of where refugees live is of temporary camps in isolated areas -- but in reality, nearly 60 percent of them worldwide end up in urban areas. TED Fellow Robert Hakiza takes us inside the lives of urban refugees -- and shows us how organizations like the one that he started can provide them with the skills they need to ultimately become self-sufficient. Learn More

Very few of us hold jobs that line up directly with our past experiences or what we studied in college. Take TED Resident Jason Shen; he studied biology but later became a product manager at a tech company. In this quick, insightful talk about human potential, Shen shares some new thinking on how job seekers can make themselves more attractive -- and why employers should look for ability over credentials. Learn More

Throughout history, humans have ascribed value to the tools and processes that made their tasks easier and faster to complete. Countering the old saying that "time is money," Will Jenkins says that the most valuable currency is actually time. Learn More

AI will take our jobs-and that is a good thing, argues Tomer Garzberg. He tells how intelligent robots are already supplanting people, freeing us to imagine new roles for ourselves, and also surveys endeavors that are likely to remain human for some time to come. Learn More

Drawing upon both her military and corporate careers, Rach Ranton explores a central principle in group dynamics: As long as we all know what we're trying to accomplish, it doesn't matter exactly how we get there. Armed with a stockpile of lessons, she encourages leaders to adopt the best practices of a well-oiled unit. Ranton asks: If you as a leader were absent from the scene, would your team still know what to do ... and why they were doing it? Learn More

Michael Mieni is the first-ever Indigenous IT honours student at the University of Technology Sydney, and he wants to make sure he isn't the last: By using Aboriginal traditions to bridge the digital divide in Indigenous communities, he says, we can reveal untapped brilliance. Learn More

If you could guarantee that your child would avoid inheriting a serious condition, such as blindness, would you do it? Alastair O'Neill describes the wrenching decisions people have made now that science can pre-screen healthy embryos. Learn More

What is it about unfairness? Whether it's not being invited to a friend's wedding or getting penalized for bad luck or an honest mistake, unfairness often makes us so upset that we can't think straight. And it's not just a personal issue -- it's also bad for business, says Marco Alverà. He explains how his company works to create a culture of fairness -- and how tapping into our innate sense of what's right and wrong makes for happier employees and better results. Learn More

Join Phil Tetlow on a mind-bending journey to understand how we organize endless data into relevant information. Our minds, he says, use tools like pattern-matching and simplifying to make sense of the world around us. He explores the concept of network theory, detailing how vast amounts of information tend to be delivered through relatively small central hubs. Tetlow suggests, understanding the nature of information and how it connects, might give us a clue as to the nature of life, the universe and why we're even here at all. Learn More

Natalie Gunn makes a case for thinking of our minds and bodies as a continuum rather than a duality. She's especially intrigued by how this continuum may relate to cancer and whether our mindset impacts the disease. Natalie argues that we have to take the question seriously: "We need to investigate how a disease of the body could be impacted by our mind." She explores where the body ends and the mind begins and investigates where the two connect. Learn More

What if we could form meaningful relationships with AI? IBM designer Adam Cutler argues that we're already doing this -- we name our cars and mourn our iPhones when they break -- but imagine if we could develop a deeper emotional bond with our machines. By interpreting intent through language and pairing it with tone and semantic analysis in real time, Cutler shares a vision of the future where AI can predict what you want based only on the smallest, most human of hints. Learn More

Can a computer crack a joke? Can it even have a sense of humor? For computer engineer and aspiring comedian Vinith Misra, this is not just a curiosity. By analyzing data sets in social media, Misra discovers ways to help us connect with each other, and make our often frustrating relationship with machines funnier and friendlier. Learn More

Does food talk? And if so, what is it saying? Microbe researcher Robert Prill decodes the messages sent by microorganisms to discover the telltale and potentially deadly signs of contaminated foods. Prill says that by paying closer attention we can save lives and better protect our food supply from adulteration. Learn More

How can an established company maintain a startup mentality? Intrapreneur Shoel Perelman argues that first it must retain its internal rebels. To do so, Perelman suggests a system inspired by online dating that matches rebels from big companies with small companies that need their skills and keeps the entrepreneurial spirit alive in the biggest organizations. Learn More

About 40% of what you do, day in and day out, is done purely out of habit. Nir Eyal decodes how technology companies -- the masters of "habit-forming" products -- design the tech products we can't put down. But it isn't all negative manipulation, he says. It can and should be used for good. Learn More

Lloyd Treinish has his head and his supercomputers in the clouds. On a mission to regain public trust in weather forecasting,Treinish shares how better data modeling can do everything from reduce flight delays to save lives in the face of natural disaster.  Learn More

Plastics advocate Jeannette Garcia's accidental invention of a super-strong and fully biodegradable polymer could make today's environmental curse tomorrow's sustainable answer. The implications? Recyclable airplanes, dissolvable water bottles and dramatically diminished landfills. Learn More

Dubbed the millennial whisperer, 19-year-old author and CEO Jared Kleinert has spent thousands of hours studying the millennial mind. Kleinert explains why young people hold more power today than at any other time in history and explores what sets this group apart. Learn More

In business today, the need for innovation and rapid decision-making trumps yesterday's drive for efficiency. How does this influence what it means to be an effective leader? Charlene Li explains that it's less about control and more about empowerment: enabling employees to acquire the information they need, so they can make their own decisions. Learn More

An algorithm diagnosed the 2014 Ebola outbreak nine days before the World Health Organization. This is just one example of potentially game-changing big data applications in healthcare. Monika Blaumueller explores how earlier detection could have a significant impact on containing the next healthcare crisis. Learn More

What does the future look like from the eyes of the most prolific female inventor in IBM's history? Think: 3D printers building last-minute umbrellas at the office and toilet paper that automatically reorders itself when the last roll sits empty. Lisa Seacrat DeLuca envisions a radically reinvented world that surprisingly doesn't appear too different from today. Learn More

Technology can be dehumanizing. Even our day-to-day personal interactions conducted in digital bursts risk losing the heart of who are. Kareem Yusuf shows how people have aimed to embed emotional "tone" into their digital lives, from text-messages to data. He explores why, in today's fully digitized and globalized world, we must strive to incorporate tone into everything we do. Learn More

Bryan Kramer believes that social media is so popular because it allows us to control our personal brand: aligning the perceptions others have of us with our perception of ourselves. Concluding with a live Twitter experiment to test the true reach that sharing can have, he makes a case for the use of social media, and -- in the process -- illuminates the reason over 700 million photos and videos are processed on Snapchat every day. Learn More

Beset by plunging biodiversity, pathogens and skyrocketing populations, our global food supply is at risk - but solutions that rely on chemicals and GMOs come with their own problems. Laxmi Parida proposes an organic solution instead: math. Learn More

What if you could consult Winston Churchill on a looming international crisis? Or ask Einstein what he thinks about the latest scientific breakthrough? National security expert Juliane Gallina is working on a way to harness the best thinking strategies of all time. Learn More

If you're diagnosed with Huntington's disease, your treatment would be no more effective today than on the day of its discovery ... in 1872. Why has progress treating brain diseases been so slow? After 20 years of research, neuroscientist James Kozloski has come to a startling conclusion: Scientists are thinking too small. He looks past the usual genes that cause the diseases with a new brain model that maps the brain's core components and connects them into a single circuit. The implications of his research carry weight for Huntington's, and far beyond. Learn More

By now, we all know that people make lousy decisions and behave badly. We eat the cake, wait until the last minute to do our taxes, and generally work against our own self-interest no matter how much we want to succeed. So...what can we do to fight it? Behavioral scientist Bob Nease shares some tricks to align our good intentions with our actions. Learn More

As a lawyer, Andrew Arruda too often saw the scales of justice tip in favor of the wealthy and partnered with a computer scientist to create the world's first artificially intelligent legal assistant, ROSS. By speeding up legal research, Arruda wants ROSS to make the practice of law cheaper and fulfill the original promise of "justice for all." Learn More

In the course of a career studying the limits of athletic performance, John Brenkus kept encountering one persistent myth: that physical strength is the best measure of success. In this passionate talk, he takes on an insidious effect of that myth, the idea that boys shouldn't compete with girls. He makes a bold call for kids to play together on the same teams -- and celebrates the many factors that make up athletic greatness, from teamwork to mental toughness to leadership on and off the field. Learn More

The internet can be an ugly place, but you won't find bullies or trolls on Stuart Duncan's Minecraft server, AutCraft. Designed for children with autism and their families, AutCraft creates a safe online environment for play and self-expression for kids who sometimes behave a bit differently than their peers (and who might be singled out elsewhere). Learn more about one of the best places on the internet with this heartwarming talk. Learn More

Danielle Wood leads the Space Enabled research group at the MIT Media Lab, where she works to tear down the barriers that limit the benefits of space exploration to only the few, the rich or the elite. She identifies six technologies developed for space exploration that can contribute to sustainable development across the world -- from observation satellites that provide information to aid organizations to medical research on microgravity that can be used to improve health care on Earth. "Space truly is useful for sustainable development for the benefit of all peoples," Wood says. Learn More

How deep into the Earth can we go and still find life? Marine microbiologist Karen Lloyd introduces us to deep-subsurface microbes: tiny organisms that live buried meters deep in ocean mud and have been on Earth since way before animals. Learn more about these mysterious microbes, which refuse to grow in the lab and seem to have a fundamentally different relationship with time and energy than we do. Learn More

When you work for a corporation, confronted with negotiations and deals, what can fiction teach you? Christian Wickert believes writing fiction can sharpen your perceptions, help you understand others' motivations and ultimately make you better at your job. In this fascinating talk, he explains three ways creative writing improved his business skills and positively impacted his career. Learn More

Scientist Bijan Zakeri started studying Streptococcus pyogenes -- the pathogen responsible for diseases from strep throat to scarlet fever -- in the hopes of creating a new generation of antibodies to treat cancer. What he developed instead was completely unexpected: a molecular superglue made from its stone-strong chemical bonds that may change the way we address scientific and medical needs. Learn More

What do we really know about mosquitoes? Fredros Okumu catches and studies these disease-carrying insects for a living -- with the hope of crashing their populations. Join Okumu for a tour of the frontlines of mosquito research, as he details some of the unconventional methods his team at the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania have developed to target what has been described as the most dangerous animal on earth. Learn More

"The only way we're going to make substantial progress on the challenging problems of our time is for business to drive the solutions," says social impact strategist Wendy Woods. In a data-packed talk, Woods shares a fresh way to assess the impact all parts of business can have on all parts of society, and then adjust them to not only do less harm but actually improve things. Learn more about how executives can move beyond corporate social responsibility to "total societal impact" -- for the benefit of both a company's bottom line and society at large. Learn More

What does it look like when someone in Sweden brushes their teeth or when someone in Rwanda makes their bed? Anna Rosling Rönnlund wants all of us to find out, so she sent photographers to 264 homes in 50 countries (and counting!) to document the stoves, bed, toilets, toys and more in households from every income bracket around the world. See how families live in Latvia or Burkina Faso or Peru as Rosling Rönnlund explains the power of data visualization to help us better understand the world. Learn More

In 1988, Matt Goldman co-founded Blue Man Group, an off-Broadway production that became a sensation known for its humor, blue body paint, and wild stunts. The show works on the premise that certain conditions can create "aha moments", moments of surprise, learning, and exuberance, frequent and intentional rather than random and occasional. Now Goldman is working to apply the lessons learned from Blue Man Group to education, creating Blue School, a school that balances academic mastery, creative thinking and self, and social intelligence. "We need to cultivate safe and conducive conditions for new and innovative ideas to evolve and thrive," Goldman says. Learn More

Millennials are frequently stereotyped as entitled or lazy for moving from one job to the next. Millennial Daniela Zamudio believes quitting is sorely misjudged, and can be a sign of strength and ultimately a path to happiness. Over the last decade, she has discovered the secret to personal success and introduces the TED@Tommy audience to what she calls "conscious quitting." Zamudio shares how to weigh the pros and cons of our decisions when we listen to our heart (and ignore society's antiquated expectations) in order to achieve success. Learn More

Nicole Wilson was 5 years old when she first realized that her father, a former professional football player and grade school teacher, gave bad advice. While she steered clear of his words of "wisdom" as a kid, as an adult she began to see an upside. In this fun, personal talk, she explains how a lifetime of bad advice taught her how to trust her own instincts. Learn More

Irene Mora credits her own ambition and drive to her mother, the successful CEO of a multinational company. From her unique childhood -- hopping around the world and being exposed to new environments -- Mora learned valuable skills that later informed and helped her excel in business, including adaptability, authenticity, and independence. Mora encourages mothers to pursue a family and a career -- their kids may just thank them for it. Learn More

Dissenters are often dismissed as disruptive, disrespectful and annoying. But when it comes to business, challenging the status quo can bring much needed change to any organization. Andrew Millar defends the dissenters of the world, arguing that these stalwarts are arguing out of compassion with an aim to improve ideas. In this impassioned talk, Millar shares lessons that any company or loyal objector can use to work strengthen their organization. Learn More

The treatment of HIV has significantly advanced over the past three decades -- why hasn't our perception of people with the disease advanced along with it? After being diagnosed with HIV, Arik Hartmann chose to live transparently, being open about his status, in an effort to educate people. In this candid, personal talk, he shares what it's like to live with HIV -- and calls on us to dismiss our misconceptions about the disease. Learn More

In 2012, Colorado legalized cannabis and added to what has fast become a multibillion-dollar global industry for all things weed-related: from vape pens to brownies and beyond. But to say that we've legalized marijuana is subtly misleading -- what we've really done is commercialized THC, says educator Ben Cort, and that's led to products that are unnaturally potent. In an eye-opening talk, Cort examines the often unseen impacts of the commercial cannabis industry -- and calls on us to question those who are getting rich off of it. Learn More

According to the UN, nearly one in three people worldwide live in a country facing a water crisis, and less than five percent of the world lives in a country that has more water today than it did 20 years ago. Lana Mazahreh grew up in Jordan, a state that has experienced absolute water scarcity since 1973, where she learned how to conserve water as soon as she was old enough to learn how to write her name. In this practical talk, she shares three lessons from water-poor countries on how to save water and address what's fast becoming a global crisis. Learn More

Can you look at someone's face and know what they're feeling? Does everyone experience happiness, sadness and anxiety the same way? What are emotions anyway? For the past 25 years, psychology professor Lisa Feldman Barrett has mapped facial expressions, scanned brains and analyzed hundreds of physiology studies to understand what emotions really are. She shares the results of her exhaustive research -- and explains how we may have more control over our emotions than we think. Learn More

Talent is universal, but opportunity isn't, says TED Fellow Christopher Ategeka. In this charming, hopeful talk, Ategeka tells his story of being orphaned at a young age -- and how being adopted gave him the chance to experience a new culture, acquire an education and live up to his full potential. "We may not be able to solve the bigotry and the racism of this world today," Ategeka says, "But certainly we can raise children to create a positive, inclusive, connected world full of empathy, love and compassion." Learn More

Heather Lanier's daughter Fiona has Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, a genetic condition that results in developmental delays -- but that doesn't make her tragic, angelic or any of the other stereotypes about kids like her. In this talk about the beautiful, complicated, joyful and hard journey of raising a rare girl, Lanier questions our assumptions about what makes a life "good" or "bad," challenging us to stop fixating on solutions for whatever we deem not normal, and instead to take life as it comes. Learn More

Could smartphones and cameras be our most powerful weapons for social justice? Through her organization Witness, Yvette Alberdingk Thijm is developing strategies and technologies to help activists use video to protect and defend human rights. She shares stories of the growing power of distant witnesses -- and a call to use the powerful tools at our disposal to capture incidents of injustice. Learn More

We'd all like to believe we're self-aware, but in reality, the facts point to a more sobering truth. Organizational psychologist Tasha Eurich has spent the last 4 years researching what it truly means to be self-aware, and in the process, has made a surprising discovery about human perception. In this illuminating talk, Eurich dissects common misbeliefs about introspective thinking and provides a simple way we can get to know ourselves just a little bit better. Learn More

The words we use to describe our emotions affect how we feel, says historian Tiffany Watt Smith, and they've often changed (sometimes very dramatically) in response to new cultural expectations and ideas. Take nostalgia, for instance: first defined in 1688 as an illness and considered deadly, today it's seen as a much less serious affliction. In this fascinating talk about the history of emotions, learn more about how the language we use to describe how we feel continues to evolve -- and pick up some new words used in different cultures to capture those fleeting feelings in words. Learn More

How do we improve in the face of complexity? Atul Gawande has studied this question with a surgeon's precision. He shares what he's found to be the key: having a good coach to provide a more accurate picture of our reality, to instill positive habits of thinking, and to break our actions down and then help us build them back up again. "It's not how good you are now; it's how good you're going to be that really matters," Gawande says. Learn More

China is a huge laboratory of innovation, says retail expert Angela Wang, and in this lab, everything takes place on people's phones. Five hundred million Chinese consumers -- the equivalent of the combined populations of the US, UK and Germany -- regularly make purchases via mobile platforms, even in brick-and-mortar stores. What will this transformation mean for the future of shopping? Learn more about the new business-as-usual, where everything is ultra-convenient, ultra-flexible and ultra-social. Learn More

Since the widespread use of antibiotics began in the 1940s, we've tried to develop new drugs faster than bacteria can evolve -- but this strategy isn't working. Drug-resistant bacteria known as superbugs killed nearly 700,000 people last year, and by 2050 that number could be 10 million -- more than cancer kills each year. Can physics help? In a talk from the frontiers of science, radiation scientist David Brenner shares his work studying a potentially life-saving weapon: a wavelength of ultraviolet light known as far-UVC, which can kill superbugs safely, without penetrating our skin. Learn More

Joan Blades and John Gable want you to make friends with people who vote differently than you do. A pair of political opposites, the two longtime pals know the value of engaging in honest conversations with people you don't immediately agree with. Join them as they explain how to bridge the gaps in understanding between people on opposite sides of the political spectrum -- and create opportunities for mutual listening and consideration (and, maybe, lasting friendships). Learn More

If our cells are the hardware and our genetic material the operating system, what if we could change a few lines of code? In this cutting-edge science talk, oncologist Dr. Tal Zaks reviews the future of personalized medicine, which may lie with gene-editing vaccines tailored to each patient's immune system, teaching it to overcome the genetic mutations that trigger diseases like cancer. Learn More

If you're undergoing surgery, you want the best surgical team to collaborate on your case, no matter where they are. Surgeon and entrepreneur Nadine Hachach-Haram is developing a new system that helps surgeons operate together and train one another on new techniques -- from remote locations using low-cost augmented reality tools. Watch the system in action as she joins a surgeon in Minnesota performing knee surgery, live on her laptop from the TED stage in New Orleans. This talk contains graphic images of surgery. Learn More

What's the secret to making content people love? Join BuzzFeed's Publisher Dao Nguyen for a glimpse at how her team creates their tempting quizzes, lists, and videos -- and learn more about how they've developed a system to understand how people use content to connect and create culture. Learn More

What's the harm in buying a knock-off purse or a fake designer watch? According to counterfeit investigator Alastair Gray, fakes like these fund terrorism and organized crime. Learn more about the trillion-dollar underground economy of counterfeiting -- from the criminal organizations that run it to the child labor they use to produce its goods -- as well as measures you can take to help stop it. "Let's shine a light on the dark forces of counterfeiting that are hiding in plain sight," Gray says. Learn More

There's nothing quite like a good night's sleep. What if technology could help us get more out of it? Dan Gartenberg is working on tech that stimulates deep sleep, the most regenerative stage which (among other wonderful things) might help us consolidate our memories and form our personalities. Find out more about how playing sounds that mirror brain waves during this stage might lead to deeper sleep -- and its potential benefits on our health, memory and ability. Learn More

The bad news: the best ideas live outside of your organization. The good news: they don't have to stay there. Innovation instigator Michael Ringel has consulted for major corporations about the best ways to bring innovation into their companies and has a collaborative solution that any company -- if done the right way -- can tap into: external innovation. Learn More