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The TED Blog shares interesting news about TED, TED Talks video, the TED Prize and more.



Updated: 2017-07-25T04:09:14Z

 



WordPress.comProsthetics that feel more natural, how mushrooms may help save bees, and more

2017-07-21T21:39:21Z

Please enjoy your roundup of TED-related news: Prosthetics that feel more natural. A study in Science Robotics lays out a surgical technique developed by Shriya Srinivasan, Hugh Herr and others that may help prosthetics feel more like natural limbs. During an amputation, the muscle pairs that allow our brains to sense how much force is […] Please enjoy your roundup of TED-related news: Prosthetics that feel more natural. A study in Science Robotics lays out a surgical technique developed by Shriya Srinivasan, Hugh Herr and others that may help prosthetics feel more like natural limbs. During an amputation, the muscle pairs that allow our brains to sense how much force is applied to a limb and where it is in space are severed, halting sensory feedback to and from the brain and affecting one’s ability to balance, handle objects and move. But nerves that send signals to the amputated limb remain intact in many amputees. Using rats, the scientists connected these nerves with muscles grafted from other parts of the body — a technique that successfully restored the muscle pair relationship and sensory feedback being sent to the brain. Combined with other research on translating nerve signals into instructions for moving the prosthetic limb, the technique could help amputees regain the ability to sense where the prosthetic is in space and the forces applied to it. They plan to begin implementing this technique in human amputees. (Watch Herr’s TED Talk) From mathematician to politician. Emmanuel Macron wants France to be at the forefront of science, and science to be incorporated in global politics, but this is easier said than done. The election of Cédric Villani to the French National Assembly—a mathematician, Fields medalist, and TED speaker—provides a reason for optimism. “Currently, scientific knowledge within French political circles is close to zero,” Villani said in an interview with Science. “It’s important that some scientific expertise is present in the National Assembly.” Villani’s election is a step in that direction. (Watch Villani’s TED Talk) A digital upgrade for the US government. The United States Digital Services, of which Matt Cutts is acting administrator, released its July Report to Congress. Since 2014, the USDS has worked with Silicon Valley engineers and experienced government employees to streamline federal websites and online services. Currently, the USDS is working with seven federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education. Ultimately, the USDS’ digital intervention is not just about reducing cost and increasing efficiency– it’s about restoring people’s trust in government. (Watch Cutts’ TED Talk) Can mushrooms help save bees? Bee populations have been in decline for the past decade, and the consequences could be dire. But in a video for Biographic, produced by Louie Schwartzberg and including mycologist Paul Stamets, scientists discuss an unexpected solution: mushrooms. The spores and extract from Metarhizium anisopliae, a common species of mushroom, are toxic to varroa mites, the vampiric parasite which sucks blood from bees and causes colony collapse disorder. However, bees can tolerate low doses free of harm. Metarhizium anisopliae has even been shown to promote beehive longevity. This could be a step forward in curbing the mortality rate of nature’s most prolific pollinator. (Watch Schwartzberg’s TED Talk and Stamets’ TED Talk) Support for women entrepreneurs. The World Bank Group announced its creation of The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), a facility that will create a $1 billion fund to support and encourage female entrepreneurship. Initiated by the U.S. and Germany, it quickly received support from other nations including Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea. Nearly 70% of small and medium-sized enterprises owned by women in developing countries are denied or unable to receive adequate financial services. We-Fi aims to overcome these [...]



What if? … and other questions that lead to big ideas: The talks of TED@UPS

2017-07-24T16:37:19Z

What if one person could change the world? What if we could harness our collective talent, insight and wisdom? And what if, together, we could spark a movement with positive impact far into the future? For a third year, UPS has partnered with TED to bring experts in business, logistics, design and technology to the stage […]Hosts Bryn Freedman and Kelly Stoetzel welcome us to the show at TED@UPS, July 20, 2017, at SCADshow in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo: Mary Anne Morgan / TED) What if one person could change the world? What if we could harness our collective talent, insight and wisdom? And what if, together, we could spark a movement with positive impact far into the future? For a third year, UPS has partnered with TED to bring experts in business, logistics, design and technology to the stage to share ideas from the forefront of innovation. At this year’s TED@UPS — held on July 20, 2017, at SCADShow in Atlanta, Georgia — 18 speakers and performers showed how daring human imagination can solve our most difficult problems.  After opening remarks from Juan Perez, UPS’s chief information and engineering officer, the talks in Session 1 … Why protectionism isn’t a good deal. We’ve heard a lot of rhetoric lately suggesting that importers, like the US, are losing valuable manufacturing jobs to exporters like China, Mexico and Vietnam. In reality, those manufacturing jobs haven’t disappeared for the reasons you may think, says border and logistics specialist Augie Picado. Automation, not offshoring, is really to blame, he says; in fact, of the 5.7 million manufacturing jobs lost in the US between 2000 and 2010, 87 percent of them were lost to automation. If that trend continues, it means that future protectionist policies would save 1 in 10 manufacturing jobs, at best — but, more likely, they’d lead to tariffs and trade wars. And with the nature of modern manufacturing inexorably trending toward shared production, in which individual products are manufactured using materials produced in many different countries, protectionist policies make even less sense. Shared production allows us to manufacture higher-quality products at prices we can afford, but it’s impossible without efficient cross-border movement of materials and products. As Picado asks: “Does it make more sense to drive up prices to the point where we can’t afford basic goods, for the sake of protecting a job that might be eliminated by automation in a few years anyway?”  Christine Thach shares her experience growing up in a refugee community — and the lessons it taught her about life and business — at TED@UPS. (Photo: Mary Anne Morgan / TED) Capitalism for the collective. Christine Thach was raised within a tight-knit community of Cambodian refugees in the United States. Time after time, she witnessed the triumphs of community-first thinking through her own family’s hardships, steadfast relationships and continuous investment in refugee-owned businesses. “This collective-success mindset we’ve seen in refugees can actually improve the way we do business,” she says. “The self-interested foundations of capitalism, and the refugee collectivist mindset, are not in direct conflict with each other. They’re actually complementary.” Thach thinks an all-for-one, one-for-all mentality may just be able to shake up capitalism in a way that benefits everyone — if companies shift away from the individual and rally for group prosperity. In defense of perfectionism. Some people think perfectionism is a bad thing, that it only leaves us disappointed. Jon Bowers disagrees; he sees perfectionism as “a willingness to do what is difficult to achieve what is right.” Bowers manages a facility where he trains professional delivery drivers. The stakes are high — 100 people in the US die every day in car accidents. So he’s a fan of striving to get as close to perfect as possible. We shouldn’[...]



Our podcast “Sincerely, X” co-produced with Audible now available free worldwide

2017-07-24T15:13:43Z

Last year, TED and Audible co-produced a new audio series that invited speakers to share ideas—anonymously. Our goal was to make room for an entirely new trove of ideas: those that could only be broadcast publicly if the speaker’s identity remained private. The series debuted with a number of powerful stories, and we learned a [](image)

Last year, TED and Audible co-produced a new audio series that invited speakers to share ideas—anonymously. Our goal was to make room for an entirely new trove of ideas: those that could only be broadcast publicly if the speaker’s identity remained private.

The series debuted with a number of powerful stories, and we learned a lot in the process (read about producer Cloe Shasha’s personal experience here).

Now, we’re bringing that first season for free to Apple Podcasts, the TED Android app, or wherever you get your podcasts.

We begin with our first episode, “Dr. Burnout,” featuring a doctor who says she committed a fatal mistake with a patient, leading her to a disturbing diagnosis: the medical field pushes for professional burnout. She unveils a powerful perspective on how doctors must deepen their self-awareness.

We’ll be releasing new episodes every Thursday for the next 10 weeks.

Fans can also access all the episodes today at audible.com/sincerelyx

 


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Anonymous ideas worth spreading — and the surprising discoveries behind their curation

2017-07-20T22:37:51Z

The intimacy of listening: Producer Cloe Shasha shares a few surprising insights that her team learned while producing TED and Audible's audio series, "Sincerely, X."The intimacy of listening: Producer Cloe Shasha shares what she and her team learned while producing TED and Audible’s original audio series “Sincerely, X.” In the spring of 2016, we put out a call for submissions for anonymous talks from around the world for the first season of our new podcast, Sincerely, X. We received hundreds of ideas — stories touching on a broad range of topics. As we read through them, we found ourselves flooded by tragedy, comedy, intrigue and surprise. Stories of victims of abuse, struggles with mental health, lessons from prison, insider secrets within companies and governmental organizations, and so much more. >> Sincerely, X was co-produced with Audible. Episode 1, “Dr. Burnout,” is available now on Apple Podcasts and the TED Android app. << The premise of the podcast Sincerely, X felt simple at first: sharing important ideas, anonymously. The episodes would include speakers who need to separate their professional ideas from their personal lives; those who want to share an idea, but fear it would hurt someone in their family if they did so publicly; and quiet idealists whose solutions could transform lives. Why anonymous? Our theory was that inviting people to share ideas without having to reveal their identity might allow for an entirely new category of talks. We dove into this pool of submissions to figure out who would make a great speaker for the show, and started interviewing people by phone. We were looking for compelling stories that had a strong need for anonymity while also considering them through the lens that we use for TED Talk submissions. In other words, did each story have an idea worth spreading? Throughout the process of creating Sincerely, X season 1, we realized that we had to think about these talks quite differently from TED Talks on a stage, and we adapted along the way. Signposting in an audio talk When you’re watching a speaker on a stage, context and sentiment are communicated through the speaker’s body language, facial expressions and images (if they have slides). In audio, with only one of our senses engaged, a lot more information has to be transmitted through a speaker’s voice alone. This came up when we worked with the speaker in episode 2, “Pepper Spray.” It’s the story of a woman who lived a normal-seeming life — until one day she lashed out in a department store and began pepper-spraying strangers. There are a lot of details that she shares about her life in that episode — both before and after the pepper spray incident. If she were telling this story on a stage, the audience would experience visual cues that would indicate whether she were reflecting on the far past versus the recent past, or whether she felt shameful or justified in her actions. (Watch a TED Talk with the sound off sometime, and you’ll be surprised at how much context you can pick up!) But when we shared the audio with colleagues for their feedback, they were at times confused by the sequence of events in the story. So we worked with the speaker to help her find places to include signposting sentences such as, “But I want to come back to the hero of the story.” In other words, phrases that could ground the listener in what’s about to come.   The intimacy of listening In the same way that hearing a ghost story around a campfire conjures up scary visualizations, hearing a difficult story on a podcast can build intense images in your mind. Drawing the line between deeply moving content and manipulative content can be tricky and nuanced. In the case of some Sincerely, X episodes, a few of the early drafts of talks contained details that felt disturbingly intimate — details that might have packed an emotional punch from the distance of a stage, but that felt too inti[...]



TEDGlobal 2017: Announcing the speaker lineup for our Arusha conference

2017-07-24T15:13:47Z

TEDGlobal 2017 kicks off August 27–30, 2017, in Arusha, Tanzania. Ten years after the last TEDGlobal in Arusha, we’ll again gather a community from across the continent and around the world to explore ideas that may propel Africa’s next leap — in business, politics and justice, creativity and entrepreneurship, science and tech. Today, we’re thrilled […]TEDGlobal 2017 kicks off August 27–30, 2017, in Arusha, Tanzania. Ten years after the last TEDGlobal in Arusha, we’ll again gather a community from across the continent and around the world to explore ideas that may propel Africa’s next leap — in business, politics and justice, creativity and entrepreneurship, science and tech. Today, we’re thrilled to announce our speaker lineup for TEDGlobal 2017! It’s a powerful list you can skim here — to dive into speaker bios and learn about the 8 themed sessions of TEDGlobal 2017, visit our full Program Guide. OluTimehin Adegbeye, Writer and activist: Writing on gender justice, sexual and reproductive rights, urban poverty and media OluTimehin Adegbeye shares her (often very strong) opinions on Twitter and in long-form work. @OhTimehin Oshiorenoya Agabi, Neurotechnology entrepreneur: Oshiorenoya Agabi is engineering neurons to express synthetic receptors which give them an unprecedented ability to become aware of surroundings. koniku.io Nabila Alibhai, Place-maker: Nabila Alibhai leads inCOMMONS, a new organization focused on civic engagement, public spaces, and building collective responsibility for our shared places.@NabilaAlibhai Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, Publisher: Bibi Bakare-Yusuf is co-founder and publishing director of one of Africa’s leading publishing houses, Cassava Republic Press. cassavarepublic.biz Christian Benimana, Architect: Christian Benimana is co-founder of the African Design Center, a training program for young architects. massdesigngroup.org Gus Casely-Hayford, Cultural historian: Gus Casely-Hayford writes, lectures, curates and broadcasts widely about African culture. In Session 5, Repatterning, speakers will talk about the worlds we create — in fiction, fashion, design, music. Natsai Audrey Chieza, Designer: Natsai Audrey Chieza is a design researcher whose fascinating work crosses boundaries between technology, biology, design and cultural studies. @natsaiaudrey Tania Douglas, Biomedical engineer: Tania Douglas imagines how biomedical engineering can help address some of Africa’s health challenges. @tania_douglas Touria El Glaoui, Art fair curator: To showcase vital new art from African nations and the diaspora, Touria El Glaoui founded the powerhouse 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair. @154artfair Meron Estefanos, Refugee activist: Meron Estefanos is the executive director of the Eritrean Initiative on Refugee Rights, advocating for refugees and victims of trafficking and torture. @meronina Chika Ezeanya-Esiobu, Indigenous knowledge expert: Working across disciplines, Chika Ezeanya-Esiobu explores indigenous knowledge, homegrown and grassroots approaches to the sustainable advancement of Sub-Saharan Africa. chikaforafrica.com Kamau Gachigi, Technologist: At Gearbox, Kamau Gachigi empowers Kenya’s next generation of creators to prototype and fabricate their visions. @kamaufablab Ameenah Gurib-Fakim: President of Mauritius: Ameenah Gurib-Fakim is the 6th president of the island of Mauritius. As a biodiversity scientist as well, she explores the medical and nutrition secrets of her home. @aguribfakim Leo Igwe, Human rights activist: Leo Igwe works to end a variety of human rights violations that are rooted in superstition, including witchcraft accusations, anti-gay hate, caste discrimination and ritual killing. @leoigwe Joel Jackson, Transport entrepreneur: Joel Jackson is the founder and CEO of Mobius Motors, set to launch a durable, low-cost SUV made in Africa. mobiusmotors.com Tunde Jegede, Composer, cellist, kora virtuoso:[...]



10 books from TEDWomen for your summer reading list — and beyond

2017-07-20T00:03:02Z

There’s no doubt that the speakers we invite to TEDWomen each year have amazing stories to tell. And many of them are published authors (or about to be!) whose work is worth exploring beyond their brief moments in the TED spotlight. So, if you’re looking for some inspiring, instructive and provocative books to add to your […] There’s no doubt that the speakers we invite to TEDWomen each year have amazing stories to tell. And many of them are published authors (or about to be!) whose work is worth exploring beyond their brief moments in the TED spotlight. So, if you’re looking for some inspiring, instructive and provocative books to add to your summer reading list, these recent books from 2016 TEDWomen speakers are worthy additions. src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/brittney_cooper_the_racial_politics_of_time" width="586" height="330" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen> 1. Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women by Brittney Cooper Brittney Cooper wowed us at TEDWomen with her presentation on the racial politics of time. And in her new book, Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women, released in May, she doesn’t disappoint. Brittney says she got started studying black women intellectuals in graduate school. Although she learned a lot about the histories of black male intellectuals as an undergrad at Howard University, she “somehow managed not to learn anything about” the storied history of black women intellectuals in her four years there. In her book, Brittney looks at the far-reaching intellectual achievements of female thinkers and activists like Ida B. Wells, Anna Julia Cooper, Mary Church Terrell, Fannie Barrier Williams, Pauli Murray and Toni Cade Bambara. NPR’s Genevieve Valentine writes that Brittney’s book is “a work of crucial cultural study … [that] lays out the complicated history of black woman as intellectual force, making clear how much work she has done simply to bring that category into existence.” src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/thordis_elva_tom_stranger_our_story_of_rape_and_reconciliation" width="586" height="330" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen> 2. South of Forgiveness by Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger One of the most intensely personal talks in San Francisco came from Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger. In 1996, 16-year-old Thordis shared a teenage romance with Tom, an exchange student from Australia. After a school dance, Tom raped Thordis. They didn’t speak for many years. Then, in her twenties, Thordis wrote to Tom, wanting to talk about what he did to her, and remarkably, he responded. For the first time, in front of the TEDWomen audience, Thordis and Tom talked openly about what happened and why she wanted to talk to him, and he to her. South of Forgiveness: A True Story of Rape and Responsibility is a profoundly moving, open-chested and critical book. It is an exploration into sexual violence and self-knowledge that shines a healing light into the shrouded corners of our universal humanity. There is a disarming power in these pages that has the potential to change our language, shift our divisions, and invite us to be brave in discussing this pressing, global issue. src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/peggy_orenstein_what_young_women_believe_about_their_own_sexual_pleasure" width="586" height="330" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen> 3. Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein In a TED Talk that has already been viewed over 1.5 million times, author and journalist Peggy Orenstein, shared some of the things she learned about young girls and how they think about sex while researching her 2016 book, Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape. [...]



The TED2018 Fellows application is open. Apply now!

2017-07-18T13:00:29Z

TED is looking for early-career, visionary thinkers from around the world to join the Fellows program at the upcoming TED2018 conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. Do you have an original approach to your work that’s worth sharing with the world? Are you working to uplift and empower your local community through innovative science, art or […] TED is looking for early-career, visionary thinkers from around the world to join the Fellows program at the upcoming TED2018 conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. Do you have an original approach to your work that’s worth sharing with the world? Are you working to uplift and empower your local community through innovative science, art or entrepreneurship? Are you ready to take full advantage of the TED platform and the support of a dynamic global community of innovators? If yes, you should apply to be a TED Fellow. TED Fellows are a multidisciplinary group of remarkable individuals who are chosen through an open and rigorous application process. For each TED conference, we select a class of 20 Fellows based on their exceptional achievement and an innovative approach to tackling the world’s toughest problems, as well as on their character, grit and collaborative spirit. Apply by September 10 at go.ted.com/tedfellowsapply. TED2018 — themed “The Age of Amazement” — will take a deep-dive into the key developments driving our future, from jaw-dropping AI to glorious new forms of creativity to courageous advocates of radical social change. If selected, you will attend the TED2018 conference and participate in a Fellows-only pre-conference designed especially to inspire, empower and support your work. Fellows also deliver a TED Talk at the conference, filmed and considered for publication on TED.com.   The TED Fellows program is designed to catapult your career through transformational support like coaching and mentorship, public relations guidance for sharing your latest projects, hands on speaker training — and, most importantly, access to the vibrant global network of more than 400 Fellows from over 90 countries. The online application includes general biographical questions, short essays on your work and three references. Only those aged 18 and older can apply. If selected, Fellows must reserve April 10 – April 15, 2018 on their calendars for the TED2018 conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. Think you have what it takes to be a TED Fellow? Apply now. More information Questions?: ted.com/participate/ted-fellows-program Visit: ted.com/fellows Follow: @TEDFellow Like: facebook.com/TEDFellow Read: fellowsblog.ted.com [...]



Why TED takes two weeks off every summer

2017-06-23T18:17:15Z

TED.com is about to go quiet for two weeks. No new TED Talks will be posted on the web until Monday, July 10, 2017, while most of the TED staff takes our annual two-week vacation. Yes, we all (or almost all) go on vacation at the same time. No, we don’t all go to the same place. We’ve been doing it this […]TED.com is about to go quiet for two weeks. No new TED Talks will be posted on the web until Monday, July 10, 2017, while most of the TED staff takes our annual two-week vacation. Yes, we all (or almost all) go on vacation at the same time. No, we don’t all go to the same place. We’ve been doing it this way now for eight years. Our summer break is a little lifehack that solves the problem of a company in perpetual-startup mode where something new is always going on and everyone has raging FOMO. We avoid the fear of missing out on emails and new projects and blah blah blah … by making sure that nothing is going on. I love how the inventor of this holiday, TED’s founding head of media June Cohen, once explained it: “When you have a team of passionate, dedicated overachievers, you don’t need to push them to work harder, you need to help them rest. By taking the same two weeks off, it makes sure everyone takes vacation,” she said. “Planning a vacation is hard — most of us still feel a little guilty to take two weeks off, and we’d be likely to cancel when something inevitably comes up. This creates an enforced rest period, which is so important for productivity and happiness.” Bonus: “It’s efficient,” she said. “In most companies, people stagger their vacations through the summer. But this means you can never quite get things done all summer long. You never have all the right people in the room.” So, as the bartender said: You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. We won’t post new TED Talks on the web for the next two weeks. (Though — check out audio talks on iTunes, where we’re curating two weeks of talks on the theme of Journeys.) The office is three-quarters empty. And we stay off email. The whole point is that vacation time should be truly restful, and we should be able to recharge without having to check in or worry about what we’re missing back at the office. See you on Monday, July 10! Note: This piece was first posted on July 17, 2014. It was updated on July 27, 2015, again on July 20, 2016, and again on June 23, 2017. [...]



An updated design for TED Talks

2017-06-22T17:29:50Z

It’s been a few years since the TED Talks video page was last updated, but a new design begins rolling out this week. The update aims to provide a more straightforward viewing experience for mobile devices, improve performance, and surface more ideas we think you'll like. It’s been a few years since the TED Talks video page was last updated, but a new design begins rolling out this week. The update aims to provide a simple, straightforward viewing experience for you while surfacing other ideas worth spreading that you might also like. A few changes to highlight … More talks to watch Today there are about 2,500 TED Talks in the catalog, and each is unique. However, most of them are connected to other talks in some way — on similar topics, or given by the same speaker. Think of it as part of a conversation. That’s why, in our new design, it’s easier to see other talks you might be interested in. Those smart recommendations are shown along the right side of the screen. As our library of talks grows, the updated design will help you discover the most relevant talks. Beyond the video: More brain candy Most ideas are rich in nuanced information far beyond what an 18 minute talk can contain. That’s why we collected deeper content around the idea for you to explore— like books by the speaker, articles relating to the talk, and ways to take action and get involved — in the Details section. Many speakers provide annotations for viewers (now with clickable time codes that take you right to the relevant moment in the video) as well as their own resources and personal recommendations. You can find all of that extra content in the Footnotes and Reading list sections. Transcripts, translations, and subtitling Reaching a global community has always been a foundation of TED’s mission, so working to improve the experience for our non-English speaking viewers is an ongoing effort. This update gives you one-click access to our most requested subtitles (when available), displayed in their native endonyms. We’ve also improved the subtitles themselves, making the text easier for you to read across languages. What’s next? While there are strong visual differences, this update is but one mark in a series of improvements we plan on making for how you view TED Talks on TED.com. We’d appreciate your feedback to measure our progress and influence our future changes! [...]



TEDWomen update: Black Lives Matter wins Sydney Peace Prize

2017-06-23T16:32:12Z

Cross-posted from TEDWomen curator Pat Mitchell’s blog on the Huffington Post. Last month, the Black Lives Matter movement was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize, a global prize that honors those who pursue “peace with justice.” Past honorees include South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Irish President Mary Robinson. The prize “recognizes the vital contributions of […]Founders of the Black Lives Matter movement — from left, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, interviewed onstage by TEDWomen cohost Mia Birdsong at TEDWomen 2016 in San Francisco. Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED Cross-posted from TEDWomen curator Pat Mitchell’s blog on the Huffington Post. Last month, the Black Lives Matter movement was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize, a global prize that honors those who pursue “peace with justice.” Past honorees include South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Irish President Mary Robinson. The prize “recognizes the vital contributions of leading global peacemakers, creates a platform so that their voices are heard, and supports their vital work for a fairer world.” Winners receive $50,000 to help them continue their work. One of the highlights of last year’s TEDWomen was a conversation with Black Lives Matter founders Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi. They spoke with Mia Birdsong about the movement and their commitment to working collaboratively for change. As Tometi told Birdsong: “We need to acknowledge that different people contribute different strengths, and that in order for our entire team to flourish, we have to allow them to share and allow them to shine.” src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/alicia_garza_patrisse_cullors_and_opal_tometi_an_interview_with_the_founders_of_black_lives_matter" width="585" height="329" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen> This year’s TEDWomen conference (registration is open), which will be held in New Orleans November 1–3, 2017, will expand on many of the themes Garza, Cullors, Tometi and Birdsong touched on during their conversation last year. This year’s conference theme is Bridges — and we’ll be looking at how individuals and organizations create bridges between races, cultures, people, and places — and, as modeled by the Black Lives Matter movement, how we build bridges to a more equal and just world. In announcing the award, the Sydney Peace Foundation said, “This is the first time that a movement and not a person has been awarded the peace prize — a timely choice. Climate change is escalating fast, increasing inequality and racism are feeding divisiveness, and we are in the middle of the worst refugee crisis since World War II. Yet many establishment leaders across the world stick their heads in the sand or turn their backs on justice, fairness and equality.” Founders Garza, Cullors and Tometi will travel to Australia later this year to formally accept the prize. Congratulations to them! [...]



5 TED Radio Hour episodes that explore what it’s like to be human

2017-06-17T12:45:10Z

TED Radio Hour started in 2013, and while I’ve only been working on the show for about a year, it’s one of my favorite parts of my job. We work with an incredibly creative team over at NPR, and helping them weave different ideas into a narrative each week adds a whole new dimension to […] TED Radio Hour started in 2013, and while I’ve only been working on the show for about a year, it’s one of my favorite parts of my job. We work with an incredibly creative team over at NPR, and helping them weave different ideas into a narrative each week adds a whole new dimension to the talks. On Friday, the podcast published its 100th episode. The theme is A Better You, and in the hour we explore the many ways we as humans try to improve ourselves. We look at the role of our own minds when it comes to self-improvement, and the tension in play between the internal and the external in this struggle. New to the show, or looking to dip back into the archive? Below are five of my favorite episodes so far that explore what it means to be human. The Hero’s Journey What makes a hero? Why are we so drawn to stories of lone figures, battling against the odds? We talk about space and galaxies far, far away a lot at TED, but in this episode we went one step further and explored the concept of the Hero’s Journey relates to the Star Wars universe – and the ideas of TED speakers. Dame Ellen MacArthur shares the transformative impact of her solo sailing trip around the world. Jarrett J. Krosoczka pays homage to the surprising figures that formed his path in life. George Takei tells his powerful story of being held in a Japanese-American internment camp during WWII, and how he managed to forgive, and even love, the country that treated him this way. We finish up the hour with Ismael Nazario’s story of spending 300 days in solitary confinement before he was even convicted of a crime, and how this ultimately set him on a journey to help others. Anthropocene In this episode, four speakers make the case that we are now living in a new geological age called the Anthropocene, where the main force impacting the earth – is us. Kenneth Lacovara opens the show by taking us on a tour of the earth’s ages so far. Next Emma Marris calls us to connect with nature in a new way so we’ll actually want to protect it. Then, Peter Ward looks at what past extinctions can tell us about the earth – and ourselves. Finally Cary Fowler takes us deep within a vault in Svalbard, where a group of scientists are storing seeds in an attempt to ultimately preserve our species. While the subject could easily be a ‘doom and gloom’ look at the state of our planet, ultimately it left me hopeful and optimistic for our ability to solve some of these monumental problems. If you haven’t yet heard of the Anthropocene, I promise that after this episode you’ll start coming across it everywhere. The Power of Design Doing an episode on design seemed like an obvious choice, and we were excited about the challenge of creating an episode about such a visual discipline for radio. We looked at the ways good or bad design affects us, and the ways we can make things more elegant and beautiful. Tony Fadell starts out the episode by bringing us back to basics, calling out the importance of noticing design flaws in the world around us in order to solve problems. Marc Kushner predicts how architectural design is going to be increasingly shaped by public perception and social media. Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia takes us inside the design process that helped people establish enough trust to open up their homes to complete strangers. Next we take an insightful design history lesson with Alice Rawsthorn to pay homage to bold and innovative design thinkers of the past, and their impact on the present[...]



A noninvasive method for deep brain stimulation, a new class of Emerging Explorers, and much more

2017-06-20T16:42:53Z

As usual, the TED community has lots of news to share this week. Below, some highlights. Surface-level brain stimulation. The delivery of an electric current to the part of the brain involved in movement control, known as deep brain stimulation, is sometimes used to treat people with Parkinson’s disease, depression, epilepsy and obsessive compulsive disorder. […] As usual, the TED community has lots of news to share this week. Below, some highlights. Surface-level brain stimulation. The delivery of an electric current to the part of the brain involved in movement control, known as deep brain stimulation, is sometimes used to treat people with Parkinson’s disease, depression, epilepsy and obsessive compulsive disorder. However, the process isn’t risk-free — and there are few people who possess the skill set to open a skull and implant electrodes in the brain. A new study, of which MIT’s Ed Boyden was the senior author, has found a noninvasive method: placing electrodes on the scalp rather than in the skull. This may make deep brain stimulation available to more patients and allow the technique to be more easily adapted to treat other disorders. (Watch Boyden’s TED Talk) Rooms for refugees. Airbnb unveiled a new platform, Welcome, which provides housing to refugees and evacuees free of charge. Using its extensive network, Airbnb is partnering with global and local organizations that will have access to Welcome in order to pair refugees with available lodging. The company aims to provide temporary housing for 100,000 displaced persons over the next five years. Airbnb co-founder, Joe Gebbia, urges anybody with a spare room to “play a small role in tackling this global challenge”; so far, 6,000 people have answered his call. (Watch Gebbia’s TED Talk) A TEDster joins The Shed. Kevin Slavin has been named Chief Science and Technology Officer of The Shed. Set to open in 2019, The Shed is a uniquely-designed space in New York City that will bring together leading thinkers in the arts, the humanities and the sciences to create innovative art. Slavin’s multidisciplinary—or, as he puts it, anti-disciplinary—mindset seems a perfect fit for The Shed’s mission of “experimentation, innovation, and collaboration.” Slavin, who was behind the popular game Drop 7, has run a research lab at MIT’s Media Lab, and has showcased his work in MoMA, among other museums. The Shed was designed by TEDsters Liz Diller and David Rockwell. (Watch Slavin’s TED Talk, Diller’s TED Talk and Rockwell’s TED Talk) Playing with politics. Designing a video to feel as close to real life as possible often means intricate graphics and astutely crafted scripts. For game development studio Klang, it also means replicating politics. That’s why Klang has brought on Lawrence Lessig to build the political framework for their new game, Seed. Described as “a boundless journey for human survival, fuelled by discovery, collaboration and genuine emotion,” Seed is a vast multiplayer game whose simulation continues even after a player has logged off. Players are promised “endless exploration of a living, breathing exoplanet” and can traverse this new planet forming colonies, developing relationships, and collaborating with other players. Thanks to Lessig, they can also choose their form of government and appointed officials. While the game will not center on politics, Lessig’s contributions will help the game evolve to more realistically resemble real life. (Watch Lessig’s TED Talk) A new class of explorers. National Geographic has announced this year’s Emerging Explorers. TED Speaker Anand Varma and TED Fellows Keolu Fox and Danielle N, Lee are among them. Varma is a photographer who uses the medium to turn science into[...]



Sneak preview lineup unveiled for Africa’s next TED Conference

2017-07-18T14:09:10Z

On August 27, an extraordinary group of people will gather in Arusha, Tanzania, for TEDGlobal 2017, a four-day TED Conference for “those with a genuine interest in the betterment of the continent,” says curator Emeka Okafor. As Okafor puts it: “Africa has an opportunity to reframe the future of work, cultural production, entrepreneurship, agribusiness. We […] On August 27, an extraordinary group of people will gather in Arusha, Tanzania, for TEDGlobal 2017, a four-day TED Conference for “those with a genuine interest in the betterment of the continent,” says curator Emeka Okafor. As Okafor puts it: “Africa has an opportunity to reframe the future of work, cultural production, entrepreneurship, agribusiness. We are witnessing the emergence of new educational and civic models. But there is, on the flip side, a set of looming challenges that include the youth bulge and under-/unemployment, a food crisis, a risky dependency on commodities, slow industrializations, fledgling and fragile political systems. There is a need for a greater sense of urgency.” He hopes the speakers at TEDGlobal will catalyze discussion around “the need to recognize and amplify solutions from within the Africa and the global diaspora.” Who are these TED speakers? A group of people with “fresh, unique perspectives in their initiatives, pronouncements and work,” Okafor says. “Doers as well as thinkers — and contrarians in some cases.” The curation team, which includes TED head curator Chris Anderson, went looking for speakers who take “a hands-on approach to solution implementation, with global-level thinking.” Here’s the first sneak preview — a shortlist of speakers who, taken together, give a sense of the breadth and topics to expect, from tech to the arts to committed activism and leadership. Look for the long list of 35–40 speakers in upcoming weeks. The TEDGlobal 2017 conference happens August 27–30, 2017, in Arusha, Tanzania. Apply to attend >> Kamau Gachigi, Maker “In five to ten years, Kenya will truly have a national innovation system, i.e. a system that by its design audits its population for talented makers and engineers and ensures that their skills become a boon to the economy and society.” — Kamau Gachigi on Engineering for Change Dr. Kamau Gachigi is the executive director of Gearbox, Kenya’s first open makerspace for rapid prototyping, based in Nairobi. Before establishing Gearbox, Gachigi headed the University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park, where he founded a Fab Lab full of manufacturing and prototyping tools in 2009, then built another one at the Riruta Satellite in an impoverished neighborhood in the city. At Gearbox, he empowers Kenya’s next generation of creators to build their visions. @kamaufablab Mohammed Dewji, Business leader “My vision is to facilitate the development of a poverty-free Tanzania. A future where the opportunities for Tanzanians are limitless.” — Mohammed Dewji Mohammed Dewji is a Tanzanian businessman, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and former politician. He serves as the President and CEO of MeTL Group, a Tanzanian conglomerate operating in 11 African countries. The Group operates in areas as diverse as trading, agriculture, manufacturing, energy and petroleum, financial services, mobile telephony, infrastructure and real estate, transport, logistics and distribution. He served as Member of Parliament for Singida-Urban from 2005 until his retirement in 2015. Dewji is also the Founder and Trustee of the Mo Dewji Foundation, focused on health, education and community development across Tanzania. @moodewji Meron Estefanos, Refugee act[...]



Two surprising strategies for effective innovation

2017-06-09T15:07:39Z

Picture this: Three kids are given a LEGO set with the pieces to build a fire department. All of them want to build as many new toys as possible. The first kid goes straight for the easy wins. He puts a tiny red hat on a tiny minifig: presto, a firefighter! In this way, he […] Picture this: Three kids are given a LEGO set with the pieces to build a fire department. All of them want to build as many new toys as possible. The first kid goes straight for the easy wins. He puts a tiny red hat on a tiny minifig: presto, a firefighter! In this way, he quickly makes several simple toys. The second kid goes by intuition. He chooses the pieces he’s drawn to and imagines how he could combine them. The third takes a different strategy altogether: She picks up axles, wheels, base plates; pieces she can’t use now but knows she’ll need later if she wants to build complex toys. By the time they’re finished playing, which kid will have created the most new toys? Common lore favors the second kid’s strategy — innovation by intuition or visionary foresight. “Innovation has been more of an art than a science,” says Martin Reeves (TED Talk: How to build a business that lasts 100 years), a senior partner and managing director at BCG, and global director of BCG’s think tank. “We think it’s dependent on intuition or personality or luck.” A new study, led by Reeves and Thomas Fink from the London Institute of Mathematical Sciences, shows that’s not the case. “Innovation is an unpredictable process, but one with predictable features,” says Reeves. “It’s not just a matter of luck. It’s possible to have a strategy of innovation.” The study found that the second kid, guided only by intuition and vision, is the least likely to succeed. The other two are the ones to emulate, but the secret is knowing how and when to use each of their tactics.    The Impatient Strategy Let’s go back to the first kid, the one who started by putting hats on the figurines. His strategy is familiar to entrepreneurs: he’s creating the minimum viable product, or the simplest, fastest version of a finished product. Reeves calls that an “impatient strategy.” It’s fast, iterative, and bare bones.   When you’re breaking into a market that’s fairly new, an impatient strategy is the best way to go. “Look for simple solutions,” says Reeves.     For example, that’s what Uber did when it first launched. The industry was young and easy to disrupt, so the app combined technologies that already existed to create a simple black-car service. Only later did it become the sprawling company it is today, looking ahead to things like the future of self-driving cars.    The Patient Strategy An impatient strategy might be effective early on, but eventually, it stops working. Enter the third kid from our LEGO story. She’s not worried about speed; she’s focused on the end point she wants to reach. It’ll take her longer to build a toy, but she’s more likely to create a toy that’s elaborate (think: a fire truck) and more sophisticated than the first kid’s firefighters in hats.  Reeves calls this a “patient strategy.” It’s complex, forward-looking, and relatively slow.    A patient strategy is too costly for most startups. It requires resources and access, and it risks investing a lot in a product that doesn’t take off. “It becomes a big company game,” says Reeves.   For example, Apple is known to make investments in technologies that often pay off later, many years after acquisition or initial patenting. That’s the hallmark of a patient strategy.     When to Switch Your Strategy   The most successful entrepreneurs use both strategies.[...]



Listen in on couples therapy with Esther Perel, Tabby’s star dims again, and more

2017-06-20T16:43:38Z

Behold, your recap of TED-related news: The truth about couples. Ever wonder what goes on in couples therapy? You may want to tune in to Esther Perel’s new podcast “Where Should We Begin?” Each episode invites the reader to listen to a real session with a real couple working out real issues, from a Christian […] Behold, your recap of TED-related news: The truth about couples. Ever wonder what goes on in couples therapy? You may want to tune in to Esther Perel’s new podcast “Where Should We Begin?” Each episode invites the reader to listen to a real session with a real couple working out real issues, from a Christian couple bored with their sex life to a couple dealing with the aftermath of an affair, learning how to cope and communicate, express and excite. Perel hopes her audience will walk away with a sense of “truth” surrounding relationships — and maybe take away something for their own relationships. As she says: “You very quickly realize that you are standing in front of the mirror, and that the people that you are listening to are going to give you the words and the language for the conversations you want to have.” The first four episodes of “Where Should We Begin?” are available on Audible, with new episodes added every Friday. (Watch Perel’s TED Talk) Three TEDsters join the Media Lab. MIT’s Media Lab has chosen its Director’s Fellows for 2017, inviting nine extraordinary people to spend two years working with each other, MIT faculty and students to move their work forward. Two of the new Fellows are TED speakers — Adam Foss and Jamila Raqib — and a third is a TED Fellow, activist Esra’a Al Shafei. In a press release, Media Lab Director (and fellow TED speaker) Joi Ito said the new crop of fellows “aligns with our mission to create a better future for all,” with an emphasis on “civic engagement, social change, education, and creative disruption.” (Watch Foss’ TED Talk and Raqib’s TED Talk) The mystery of KIC 8462852 deepens. Tabby’s Star, notorious for “dipping,” is making headlines again with a dimming event that started in May. Astronomer Tabetha Boyajian, the star’s namesake, has been trying to crack the mystery since the flickering was noticed in 2011. The star’s dimming is erratic—sometimes losing up to 20 percent of its brightness—and has prompted a variety of potential explanations. Some say it’s space debris, others say it’s asteroids. Many blame aliens. Nobody knows for sure, still, but you can follow Boyajian on Twitter for updates. (Watch Boyajian’s TED talk) AI: friend or foe? The big fear with AI is that humanity will be replaced or overrun, but Nicholas Christakis has been entertaining an alternative view: how can AI complement human beings? In a new study conducted at Yale, Christakis experimented with human and AI interaction. Subjects worked with anonymous AI bots in a collaborative color-coordination game, and the bots were programmed with varying behavioral randomness — in other words, they made mistakes. Christakis’ findings showed that even when paired with error-prone AI, human performance still improved. Groups solved problems 55.6% faster when paired with bots—particularly when faced with difficult problems. “The bots can help humans to help themselves,” Christakis said. (Watch Christakis’ TED Talk) A bundle of news from TED architects. Alejandro Aravena’s Chile-based design team, Elemental, won the competition to design the Art Mill, a new museum in Doha, Qatar. The museum site is now occupied by Qatar Flour Mills, and Elemental’s design pays homage to the large grain silos it will replace. Meanwhile, The [...]



Meet the TEDGlobal 2017 Fellows

2017-05-23T20:42:04Z

Meet the new class of TEDGlobal 2017 Fellows! Representing 18 countries — including, for the first time in our program, Somalia, Uruguay, Liberia and Zimbabwe — this class clears a high bar of talent, creativity and eccentricity. Among those selected, you’ll find a Somali computer scientist catalyzing the tech scene in Somalia and Somaliland; a […] Meet the new class of TEDGlobal 2017 Fellows! Representing 18 countries — including, for the first time in our program, Somalia, Uruguay, Liberia and Zimbabwe — this class clears a high bar of talent, creativity and eccentricity. Among those selected, you’ll find a Somali computer scientist catalyzing the tech scene in Somalia and Somaliland; a policy influencer working to make healthcare Deaf-friendly; the founder of Botswana’s first and only LGBT-themed theater festival, and many more. Below, get to know the new group of Fellows who will join us at TEDGlobal 2017, August 27–30, in Arusha, Tanzania. Nighat Dad (Pakistan) Digital rights activist Pakistani founder of the Digital Rights Foundation, a research and advocacy NGO that protects women and minorities from cyber harassment and defends their online freedom of expression. Kyle DeCarlo (USA) Policy influencer + healthcare entrepreneur US co-founder of the Deaf Health Initiative (DHI), an organization working to make healthcare Deaf-friendly through advocacy, policy changes and the creation of new medical devices. Abdigani Diriye (USA) Tech entrepreneur + inventor Somali computer scientist catalyzing the tech scene in Somalia and Somaliland through coding camps, incubators and accelerator programs. An inventor and advocate for innovation and research in Africa. With Moving and Passing, a multidisciplinary project that combines performance, sports and culture, artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph invites immigrant youth to join soccer clinics and writing workshops. (Photo: Joan Osato) Susan Emmett (USA) Ear surgeon US public health expert and ear surgeon studying global hearing health disparities in 15 countries and Indigenous groups around the world, in an effort to fight preventable hearing loss Mennat El Ghalid (France | Egypt) Mycologist Egyptian microbiologist studying fungal infections in humans, in an effort to discover their causes and develop new treatments and cofounder of ConScience, a nonprofit dedicated to science education. Victoria Forster (UK | Canada) Cancer researcher UK scientist researching new treatments for pediatric cancer, drawing on her own experience with leukemia to investigate the devastating side effects of current therapies Mike Gil (USA) Marine biologist + science advocate US marine biologist who studies the way reef fish communicate — and what these social interactions mean for the future of our coral reefs. Robert Hakiza (DRC | Uganda) Urban refugee expert Congolese cofounder of the Young African Refugees for Integral Development (YARID), which empowers refugees and builds community through vocational education, English classes, access to sports and computer literacy skills. Miho Janvier (France) Solar storm scientist French astrophysicist who works to predict “space weather” by studying the nature of solar flares and space storms, and how they impact planetary environments in our solar system and beyond. Astrophysicist Miho Janvier researches solar flares — the extreme bursts of radiation from the sun’s surface pictured here — and what they might mean for possible interstellar travel. (Photo: Solar Dynamics Observatory, NASA) Saran Kaba Jones (Liberia | USA) Clean water advocate Liberian f[...]



TED Prize winner Sarah Parcak unearths ancient mysteries on “60 Minutes”

2017-05-25T14:56:39Z

What’s the best way to find something lost on the ground, like a historical site from a civilization lost to time? For archaeologist Sarah Parcak, the answer’s obvious — from way up above, using satellites, of course. As a space archaeologist, she’s mapped the lost city of Tanis (of Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark […]What’s the best way to find something lost on the ground, like a historical site from a civilization lost to time? For archaeologist Sarah Parcak, the answer’s obvious — from way up above, using satellites, of course. As a space archaeologist, she’s mapped the lost city of Tanis (of Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark fame) and identified thousands of other potential ancient sites in Iceland, Europe and across North Africa — and now she’s letting everyone in on the fun with her $1 million TED Prize wish, GlobalXplorer. To get an up-close introduction to the revolutionary techniques of space archaeology, 60 Minutes joined Parcak at her tomb excavation site in Lisht, Egypt, a village 40 minutes south of Cairo with a history dating back more than 4,000 years. When they arrived, the biggest find of the season had just been unearthed — a hand, and a piece of stone tablet describing a powerful man, inscribed with one name: Intef. Interestingly, the slab is damaged in a way that hints it might have been intentionally desecrated. “Did he step on too many people on his way to the top?” Parcak speculates. “Who was this guy? What did he do?” “But that’s what makes archeology interesting,” says Parcak. “It’s like you’re reading the ancient version of the National Enquirer in slow time.” Yet, ironically, archaeologists like Sarah are in a perpetual race against time — hoping to find and secure ancient sites before they can be looted.   So far, less than 10% of the Earth has been explored and secured by archeologists, leaving many sites vulnerable to looting. For instance, after the Arab Spring in 2011, hundreds of ancient sites and antiquities in Egypt were left unprotected and open for pillage. Looking at satellite images, Parcak was able to identify some 800 places where looters were digging into unprotected tombs to bring out antiquities for sale. When they saw the satellite evidence of looting, the Egyptian government asked Parcak to excavate Intef’s tomb at Lisht, to preserve and protect what remains. This isn’t a new development — looting, says Parcak, has been going on for thousands of years, at a cost to history that’s priceless. “The most important thing for archeological discovery is context,” she tells 60 Minutes. “That’s why for us, as archeologists, looting is such a huge problem. Because when an object is taken out of its original context, we don’t know where it comes from. We can’t tell you anything about it aside from, ‘Well, it’s a mummy, or, ‘It’s a statue.’ But that’s kind of it. The story doesn’t get told.” Which is why Parcak is so excited about GlobalXplorer, which lets thousands of people help pore over satellite maps together to find potentially historic sites — which local governments can then help secure for future generations to learn from. Join her and thousands of other citizen scientists (now scouring Peru) in the fight to protect history and our global heritage. src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/sarah_parcak_help_discover_ancient_ruins_before_it_s_too_late" width="585" height="329" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen> [...]



Filmmaker Jen Brea gets a Sundance fellowship, Pamela Ronald makes the case for engineered rice, and more

2017-05-19T17:27:28Z

Behold, your recap of TED-related news: A new Sundance grant helps indie films get seen. Making a film is hard enough — but getting the film seen by an audience can be just as difficult, especially in this era of non-stop media shifts. To help, Sundance just launched the Creative Distribution Fellowship — and among […] Behold, your recap of TED-related news: A new Sundance grant helps indie films get seen. Making a film is hard enough — but getting the film seen by an audience can be just as difficult, especially in this era of non-stop media shifts. To help, Sundance just launched the Creative Distribution Fellowship — and among the first recipients is TED Fellow Jennifer Brea, whose documentary Unrest premiered at Sundance in January 2017. The fellowship offers resources, support and mentorship to find creative new ways to reach audiences. In the press release, Keri Putnam, executive director of Sundance, said: “This entrepreneurial approach to marketing, distribution and audience building empowers independent filmmakers to release their own films, on their own terms, while retaining their rights.” (Watch Jen’s TED Talk) Dance that’s accessible to all. Wayne McGregor has partnered with Sense, a charity that supports people who are deafblind or have sensory impairments, to create an “educational dance resource … to make dance and movement classes accessible to people with disabilities.” Making Sense of Dance, available free online, is a downloadable booklet and videos with lessons, ideas and games to help people lead movement sessions for people of all abilities. (Watch Wayne’s TED Talk) The case for engineering rice. Growing rice can be a gamble, especially in the face of climate change-induced droughts. That’s why Pamela Ronald and her lab at UC Davis are engineering rice to be more resilient, in hopes of safeguarding the crop against droughts while protecting food security and the livelihood of farmers who could be devastated by climate change in southeast Asia and sub-saharan Africa. Ronald continues to emphasize the importance of using genetic tools to protect both crops and people. “This focus on genes in our food is a distraction from the really, really important issues,” she told the MIT Technology Review. “We need to make policy based on evidence, and based on a broader understanding of agriculture. There are real challenges for farmers, and we need to be united in using all appropriate technologies to tackle these challenges.” (Watch Pamela’s TED Talk) How to prepare workers for global trade. As trade becomes more globalized, with production scattered across many countries, how should we educate our kids in the skills they will need? That’s the focus of the OECD’s Skills Outlook 2017 report: it suggests that nations around the world should focus on diversifying their population’s skills, to gain advantage in globalized industries. “Countries increasingly compete through the skills of their workers. When workers have a mix of skills that fit with the needs of technologically advanced industries, specialising in those industries means a comparative advantage,” explains the OECD’s Andreas Schleicher. (Watch Andreas’ TED Talk) New additions to the Academy of Sciences. Three of our TEDsters have just been elected to the National Academy of Sciences! Sangeeta Bhatia, Esther Duflo and Gabriela González have all been recognized for “distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.” Bhatia is the director of MIT’s Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies, whic[...]



We asked 3 experts: How will AI change our lives in the near future?

2017-05-17T11:43:30Z

Imagine a world where your car drives itself, your fridge does the grocery shopping, and robots work alongside you. Rapid advances in artificial intelligence are turning that world into a near-future possibility. But what will that future really look like, and how will it change our lives? We spoke with three artificial intelligence experts at […] Imagine a world where your car drives itself, your fridge does the grocery shopping, and robots work alongside you. Rapid advances in artificial intelligence are turning that world into a near-future possibility. But what will that future really look like, and how will it change our lives? We spoke with three artificial intelligence experts at TED2017 in Vancouver, at a dinner on the future of AI, hosted by Toyota. Here are their thoughts on how AI will change our lives in the coming years: When we talk about AI transforming our lives, what will that really look like? How will it change life as we know it? One of the more transformative changes I see coming is the mobility network: an internet of “physical” things, if you will. Everything is going to be able to move around the world autonomously, and we’re going to see an incredible number of different services running on this network. — Michael Hanuschik, CEO of a stealth-mode startup AI will continue to provide a set of tools to people that expand their horizons and enhance their ability to work and play. — Janet Baker, founder of Dragon Systems Do you think AI will help people make decisions and enhance our lives, or are we basically programming ourselves into oblivion? What will the role of humans become in the future? I certainly don’t believe we’ll program ourselves into oblivion any time soon. AIs are specialized tools. Very powerful tools, but tools nonetheless. AIs are great at making statistical guesses based on enormous data sets, but they have no real understanding or comprehension of the tasks they are performing. — Hanuschik Powerful technologies will be used and abused. Sophisticated AI-based technology for pattern recognition can be used to recognize the words we speak, faces in crowds, cancer cells in images, or protective radar signal analysis. It can also enable the automated surveillance of vast quantities of audio and visual materials, and unprecedented profiling and tracking through the collection and convergence of personal data. We must be aware and take active roles in advancing our capabilities and protecting ourselves from harm––including the harm from escalating prejudices we foster by isolating ourselves from differing ideas (e.g., with polarized news feeds) and productive discourse about them.  — Baker AI will enhance and augment the human experience. Historically, humans have formed strong bonds — even relationships — with their automobiles (machines). The bond between humans and human-support robots may well prove to be even stronger. — James Kuffner, roboticist and CTO at Toyota Research Institute There’s a lot of talk about how AI will affect the workplace. Do you think robots will take our jobs, or free us to perform new ones? Jobs based on fairly simple and repetitive tasks will probably continue to disappear, but anything more complex is likely to be around for quite some time. I haven’t seen evidence that a true AI, with the ability to understand and reason, will be seen in our lifetimes. — Hanuschik This is not a dichotomy. AI will replace workers, including many presently highly paid professionals, and it will provide a means for new jobs.[...]



In memory of Benjamin Barber

2017-05-09T19:15:05Z

Nation states are failing miserably on some of the more urgent global challenges of the modern age — especially climate change, predatory capitalism, terrorism and forced migration. Nations are increasingly closed, parochial and outdated, slow to respond to the pressures of a fast changing world. The three and a half long century experiment is rapidly coming […]Benjamin Barber spoke at TED Global 2013. Photo by James Duncan Davidson. Nation states are failing miserably on some of the more urgent global challenges of the modern age — especially climate change, predatory capitalism, terrorism and forced migration. Nations are increasingly closed, parochial and outdated, slow to respond to the pressures of a fast changing world. The three and a half long century experiment is rapidly coming to an end. The good news is that cities are stepping-up to fill the gap. And not a moment too soon. Mayors of some of the world’s largest cities are agitating for a new urban agenda. And while many nation states succumb to reactionary nationalism and dangerous populism, more and more cities are calling for openness, interdependency and pluralism. Every once in a while a scholar comes along who predicts the big trends before the rest of us. Benjamin Barber was such a person. His 2013 TED talk — Why Mayors Should Rule the World — was a clarion call to action. It also led, late last year, to the creation of the world’s first Global Parliament of Mayors which today empowers city leaders from around the world not just to talk about our problems, but to deliver solutions. Benjamin was a democratic futurist. His thinking was big, bold, and bombastic. His 1984 Strong Democracy: Politics for a New Age — urged readers to embrace the politics of the local. His celebrated Jihad versus McWorld came out six years before 9/11. And his most recent books — If Mayors Ruled the World (2013) and Cool Cities (2017) — are manifestos for a progressive politics of urban governance. Benjamin was an indefatigable urban activist. He did more than shout from the rooftops. He got down into the trenches and led the way. Benjamin spent the better part of the past decade recruiting mayors to the cause. He convinced them that cities don’t just have the responsibility to confront our most urgent global challenges, but the right to do so. He radiated optimism and suffered no fools. Benjamin was a fighter to the end. His last tweet in April ended with a reference to #globalcities and #localresistance to Trump. His life embodies all that is great about TED — the sharing of transformation ideas and the conviction to see them put into the service of the public good. He will be dearly missed, though his tireless efforts to build a better world will live on in his words and deeds. Benjamin Barber died of pancreatic cancer at age 77 on April 24, 2017.  [...]