Education / Career News

TED Theme: What's Next in Tech The contemplation and, often, introduction of new technology is integral to TED: you might say it's embedded in our genetic code. Computer scientist Jeff Han intends to reinvent computing by replacing traditional point-click user interfaces with dynamic touch screens. Robert Full wants to enhance transit and robotics by studying the motion of animals whose system of locomotion can adapt to nearly any surface. And Juan Enriquez discusses oil energy -- derived, ultimately, from ancient plants -- and wonders why we can't develop methods to "grow" energy as efficiently as we grow wheat. Blaise Aguera y Arcas demonstrates his powerful new software, Photosynth, which fuses digital photographs from unrelated sources into fluid, three-dimensional tapestries of real environments. Alan Russell wants to use bioengineered tissue to regenerate damaged body parts. And Chris Anderson of WIRED discusses how emerging technologies -- matched with the right business model -- can make an impact of perhaps surprising magnitude.

  • How the mysterious dark net is going mainstream | Jamie Bartlett
    on September 2, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    There's a parallel Internet you may not have run across yet -- accessed by a special browser and home to a freewheeling collection of sites for everything from anonymous activism to illicit activities. Jamie Bartlett reports from the dark net. […]

  • This app knows how you feel -- from the look on your face | Rana el Kaliouby
    on June 15, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    Our emotions influence every aspect of our lives -- how we learn, how we communicate, how we make decisions. Yet they're absent from our digital lives; the devices and apps we interact with have no way of knowing how we feel. Scientist Rana el Kaliouby aims to change that. She demos a powerful new technology that reads your facial expressions and matches them to corresponding emotions. This "emotion engine" has big implications, she says, and could change not just how […]

  • New video technology that reveals an object's hidden properties | Abe Davis
    on May 5, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Subtle motion happens around us all the time, including tiny vibrations caused by sound. New technology shows that we can pick up on these vibrations and actually re-create sound and conversations just from a video of a seemingly still object. But now Abe Davis takes it one step further: Watch him demo software that lets anyone interact with these hidden properties, just from a simple video. […]

  • How to control someone else's arm with your brain | Greg Gage
    on April 28, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    Greg Gage is on a mission to make brain science accessible to all. In this fun, kind of creepy demo, the neuroscientist and TED Senior Fellow uses a simple, inexpensive DIY kit to take away the free will of an audience member. It's not a parlor trick; it actually works. You have to see it to believe it. […]

  • How we're teaching computers to understand pictures | Fei-Fei Li
    on March 23, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    When a very young child looks at a picture, she can identify simple elements: "cat," "book," "chair." Now, computers are getting smart enough to do that too. What's next? In a thrilling talk, computer vision expert Fei-Fei Li describes the state of the art -- including the database of 15 million photos her team built to "teach" a computer to understand pictures -- and the key insights yet to come. […]

  • Think your email's private? Think again | Andy Yen
    on March 5, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Sending an email message is like sending a postcard, says scientist Andy Yen in this thought-provoking talk: Anyone can read it. Yet encryption, the technology that protects the privacy of email communication, does exist. It's just that until now it has been difficult to install and a hassle to use. Showing a demo of an email program he designed with colleagues at CERN, Yen argues that encryption can be made simple to the point of becoming the default option, providing true email privacy to all. […]

  • The problem with "trickle-down techonomics" | Jon Gosier
    on March 2, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    Hooray for technology! It makes everything better for everyone!! Right? Well, no. When a new technology, like ebooks or health trackers, is only available to some people, it has unintended consequences for all of us. Jon Gosier, a TED Fellow and tech investor, calls out the idea of "trickle-down techonomics," and shares powerful examples of how new tech can make things actually worse if it's not equally distributed. As he says, "the real innovation is in finding ways to include everyone." […]

  • The wonderful and terrifying implications of computers that can learn | Jeremy Howard
    on December 16, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    What happens when we teach a computer how to learn? Technologist Jeremy Howard shares some surprising new developments in the fast-moving field of deep learning, a technique that can give computers the ability to learn Chinese, or to recognize objects in photos, or to help think through a medical diagnosis. (One deep learning tool, after watching hours of YouTube, taught itself the concept of "cats.") Get caught up on a field that will change the way the computers around you behave ... sooner […]

  • A 30-year history of the future | Nicholas Negroponte
    on July 8, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte takes you on a journey through the last 30 years of tech. The consummate predictor highlights interfaces and innovations he foresaw in the 1970s and 1980s that were scoffed at then but are ubiquitous today. And he leaves you with one last (absurd? brilliant?) prediction for the coming 30 years. […]

  • What’s wrong with your pa$$w0rd? | Lorrie Faith Cranor
    on June 24, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Lorrie Faith Cranor studied thousands of real passwords to figure out the surprising, very common mistakes that users -- and secured sites -- make to compromise security. And how, you may ask, did she study thousands of real passwords without compromising the security of any users? That's a story in itself. It's secret data worth knowing, especially if your password is 123456 ... […]

  • And for my next trick, a robot | Marco Tempest
    on May 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Marco Tempest uses charming stagecraft to demo EDI, the multi-purpose robot designed to work very closely with humans. Less a magic trick than an intricately choreographed performance, Tempest shows off the robot’s sensing technology, safety features and strength, and makes the case for a closer human-robot relationship. (Okay, there’s a little magic, too.) […]

  • The best computer interface? Maybe ... your hands | James Patten
    on April 24, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    "The computer is an incredibly powerful means of creative expression," says designer and TED Fellow James Patten. But right now, we interact with computers, mainly, by typing and tapping. In this nifty talk and demo, Patten imagines a more visceral, physical way to bring your thoughts and ideas to life in the digital world, taking the computer interface off the screen and putting it into your hands. […]

  • Welcome to the age of the industrial internet | Marco Annunziata
    on December 17, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Everyone's talking about the "Internet of Things," but what exactly does that mean for our future? In this thoughtful talk, economist Marco Annunziata looks at how technology is transforming the industrial sector, creating machines that can see, feel, sense and react -- so they can be operated far more efficiently. Think: airplane parts that send an alert when they need to be serviced, or wind turbines that communicate with one another to generate more electricity. It's a future with exciting […]

  • No roads? There's a drone for that | Andreas Raptopoulos
    on November 21, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    A billion people in the world lack access to all-season roads. Could the structure of the internet provide a model for how to reach them? Andreas Raptopoulos of Matternet thinks so. He introduces a new type of transportation system that uses electric autonomous flying machines to deliver medicine, food, goods and supplies wherever they are needed. […]

  • How technology allowed me to read | Ron McCallum
    on September 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Months after he was born, in 1948, Ron McCallum became blind. In this charming, moving talk, he shows how he reads -- and celebrates the progression of clever tools and adaptive computer technologies that make it possible. With their help, and the help of volunteers, he's become a lawyer, an academic, and, most of all, a voracious reader. Welcome to the blind reading revolution. […]

  • The interspecies internet? An idea in progress | Vint Cerf
    on July 10, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Apes, dolphins and elephants are animals with remarkable communication skills. Could the internet be expanded to include sentient species like them? A new and developing idea from a panel of four great thinkers -- dolphin researcher Diana Reiss, musician Peter Gabriel, internet of things visionary Neil Gershenfeld and Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the internet. […]

  • Why we will rely on robots | Rodney Brooks
    on June 28, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Scaremongers play on the idea that robots will simply replace people on the job. In fact, they can become our essential collaborators, freeing us up to spend time on less mundane and mechanical challenges. Rodney Brooks points out how valuable this could be as the number of working-age adults drops and the number of retirees swells. He introduces us to Baxter, the robot with eyes that move and arms that react to touch, which could work alongside an aging population -- and learn to help them at […]

  • Hack a banana, make a keyboard! | Jay Silver
    on May 16, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Why can't two slices of pizza be used as a slide clicker? Why shouldn't you make music with ketchup? In this charming talk, inventor Jay Silver talks about the urge to play with the world around you. He shares some of his messiest inventions, and demos MaKey MaKey, a kit for hacking everyday objects. […]

  • Why we need strangeness | Maria Bezaitis
    on May 14, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    In our digital world, social relations have become mediated by data. Without even realizing it, we're barricading ourselves against strangeness -- people and ideas that don't fit the patterns of who we already know, what we already like and where we've already been. Maria Bezaitis makes a bold call for technology to deliver us to what and who we need, even if it's unfamiliar and strange. […]

  • If cars could talk, accidents might be avoidable | Jennifer Healey
    on April 25, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    When we drive, we get into a glass bubble, lock the doors and press the accelerator, relying on our eyes to guide us -- even though we can only see the few cars ahead of and behind us. But what if cars could share data with each other about their position and velocity, and use predictive models to calculate the safest routes for everyone on the road? Jennifer Healey imagines a world without car accidents. […]

  • One very dry demo | Mark Shaw
    on March 26, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Mark Shaw demos Ultra-Ever Dry, a liquid-repellent coating that acts as an astonishingly powerful shield against water and water-based materials. At the nano level, the spray covers a surface with an umbrella of air so that water bounces right off. Watch for an exciting two-minute kicker. […]

  • The Internet could crash. We need a Plan B | Danny Hillis
    on March 18, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    The Internet connects billions of people and machines; it's the backbone of modern life. But tech pioneer Danny Hillis thinks the Internet just wasn't designed to grow this big -- and he fears that one big cyber-attack or glitch could shut it down and take civilization with it. To head off a digital dark age, he sounds a clarion call to develop a Plan B: a parallel system to fall back on if -- or when -- the Internet crashes. […]

  • Online video -- annotated, remixed and popped | Ryan Merkley
    on October 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Videos on the web should work like the web itself: dynamic, full of links, maps and information that can be edited and updated live, says Ryan Merkley. On the TED stage he demos Mozilla's Popcorn Maker, a web-based tool for easy video remixing. […]

  • Imaging at a trillion frames per second | Ramesh Raskar
    on July 26, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Ramesh Raskar presents femto-photography, a new type of imaging so fast it visualizes the world one trillion frames per second, so detailed it shows light itself in motion. This technology may someday be used to build cameras that can look “around” corners or see inside the body without X-rays. […]

  • I listen to color | Neil Harbisson
    on July 20, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Artist Neil Harbisson was born completely color blind, but these days a device attached to his head turns color into audible frequencies. Instead of seeing a world in grayscale, Harbisson can hear a symphony of color -- and yes, even listen to faces and paintings. […]

  • The future race car -- 150mph, and no driver | Chris Gerdes
    on July 11, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Autonomous cars are coming -- and they're going to drive better than you. Chris Gerdes reveals how he and his team are developing robotic race cars that can drive at 150 mph while avoiding every possible accident. And yet, in studying the brainwaves of professional racing drivers, Gerdes says he has gained a new appreciation for the instincts of professional drivers […]

  • The levitating superconductor | Boaz Almog
    on July 2, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    How can a super-thin 3-inch disk levitate something 70,000 times its own weight? In a riveting demonstration, Boaz Almog shows how a phenomenon known as quantum locking allows a superconductor disk to float over a magnetic rail -- completely frictionlessly and with zero energy loss. Experiment: Prof. Guy Deutscher, Mishael Azoulay, Boaz Almog, of the High Tc Superconductivity Group, School of Physics and Astronomy, Tel Aviv University. […]

  • Tracking our online trackers | Gary Kovacs
    on May 3, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    As you surf the Web, information is being collected about you. Web tracking is not 100% evil -- personal data can make your browsing more efficient; cookies can help your favorite websites stay in business. But, says Gary Kovacs, it's your right to know what data is being collected about you. He unveils a Firefox add-on, Collusion, to do just that. (Update: Collusion is now called Lightbeam.) […]

  • Connected, but alone? | Sherry Turkle
    on April 3, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? Sherry Turkle studies how our devices and online personas are redefining human connection and communication -- and asks us to think deeply about the new kinds of connection we want to have. […]

  • Building blocks that blink, beep and teach | Ayah Bdeir
    on March 29, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Imagine a set of electronics as easy to play with as Legos. TED Fellow Ayah Bdeir introduces littleBits, a set of simple, interchangeable blocks that make programming as simple and important a part of creativity as snapping blocks together. […]

  • The $8 billion iPod | Rob Reid
    on March 15, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Comic author Rob Reid unveils Copyright Math (TM), a remarkable new field of study based on actual numbers from entertainment industry lawyers and lobbyists. […]

  • All your devices can be hacked | Avi Rubin
    on February 25, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Could someone hack your pacemaker? Avi Rubin shows how hackers are compromising cars, smartphones and medical devices, and warns us about the dangers of an increasingly hack-able world. […]

  • Back to the future (of 1994) | Danny Hillis
    on February 3, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    From deep in the TED archive, Danny Hillis outlines an intriguing theory of how and why technological change seems to be accelerating, by linking it to the very evolution of life itself. The presentation techniques he uses may look dated, but the ideas are as relevant as ever. […]

  • Three types of online attack | Mikko Hypponen
    on January 18, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Cybercrime expert Mikko Hypponen talks us through three types of online attack on our privacy and data -- and only two are considered crimes. "Do we blindly trust any future government? Because any right we give away, we give away for good." […]

  • Thorium, an alternative nuclear fuel | Kirk Sorensen
    on January 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Kirk Sorensen shows us the liquid fuel thorium reactor -- a way to produce energy that is safer, cleaner and more efficient than current nuclear power. […]

  • 6 ways to save the internet | Roger McNamee
    on November 12, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    The next big shift is now, and it's not what you think: Facebook is the new Windows; Google must be sacrificed. Tech investor Roger McNamee presents 6 bold ways to prepare for the next internet. […]

  • A map of the brain | Allan Jones
    on November 10, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    How can we begin to understand the way the brain works? The same way we begin to understand a city: by making a map. In this visually stunning talk, Allan Jones shows how his team is mapping which genes are turned on in each tiny region, and how it all connects up. […]

  • We can recycle plastic | Mike Biddle
    on October 6, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Less than 10% of plastic trash is recycled -- compared to almost 90% of metals -- because of the massively complicated problem of finding and sorting the different kinds. Frustrated by this waste, Mike Biddle has developed a cheap and incredibly energy efficient plant that can, and does, recycle any kind of plastic. […]

  • Unintended consequences | Edward Tenner
    on September 6, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Every new invention changes the world -- in ways both intentional and unexpected. Historian Edward Tenner tells stories that illustrate the under-appreciated gap between our ability to innovate and our ability to foresee the consequences. […]

  • Can we make things that make themselves? | Skylar Tibbits
    on September 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    MIT researcher Skylar Tibbits works on self-assembly -- the idea that instead of building something (a chair, a skyscraper), we can create materials that build themselves, much the way a strand of DNA zips itself together. It's a big concept at early stages; Tibbits shows us three in-the-lab projects that hint at what a self-assembling future might look like. […]

  • Wireless data from every light bulb | Harald Haas
    on August 2, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    What if every light bulb in the world could also transmit data? At TEDGlobal, Harald Haas demonstrates, for the first time, a device that could do exactly that. By flickering the light from a single LED, a change too quick for the human eye to detect, he can transmit far more data than a cellular tower -- and do it in a way that's more efficient, secure and widespread. […]

  • After your final status update | Adam Ostrow
    on August 1, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Many of us have a social media presence -- a virtual personality made up of status updates, tweets and connections, stored in the cloud. Adam Ostrow asks a big question: What happens to that personality after you've died? Could it ... live on? […]

  • A robot that flies like a bird | Markus Fischer
    on July 22, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Plenty of robots can fly -- but none can fly like a real bird. That is, until Markus Fischer and his team at Festo built SmartBird, a large, lightweight robot, modeled on a seagull, that flies by flapping its wings. A soaring demo fresh from TEDGlobal 2011. […]

  • How algorithms shape our world | Kevin Slavin
    on July 21, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    We live in a world run by algorithms, computer programs that make decisions or solve problems for us. In this riveting, funny talk, Kevin Slavin shows how modern algorithms determine stock prices, espionage tactics, even the movies you watch. But, he asks: If we depend on complex algorithms to manage our daily decisions -- when do we start to lose control? […]

  • Fighting viruses, defending the net | Mikko Hypponen
    on July 19, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    It's been 25 years since the first PC virus (Brain A) hit the net, and what was once an annoyance has become a sophisticated tool for crime and espionage. Computer security expert Mikko Hyppönen tells us how we can stop these new viruses from threatening the internet as we know it. […]

  • Making sense of a visible quantum object | Aaron O'Connell
    on June 2, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Physicists are used to the idea that subatomic particles behave according to the bizarre rules of quantum mechanics, completely different to human-scale objects. In a breakthrough experiment, Aaron O'Connell has blurred that distinction by creating an object that is visible to the unaided eye, but provably in two places at the same time. In this talk he suggests an intriguing way of thinking about the result. […]

  • Making a car for blind drivers | Dennis Hong
    on May 31, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Using robotics, laser rangefinders, GPS and smart feedback tools, Dennis Hong is building a car for drivers who are blind. It's not a "self-driving" car, he's careful to note, but a car in which a non-sighted driver can determine speed, proximity and route -- and drive independently. […]

  • Silk, the ancient material of the future | Fiorenzo Omenetto
    on May 10, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Fiorenzo Omenetto shares 20+ astonishing new uses for silk, one of nature's most elegant materials -- in transmitting light, improving sustainability, adding strength and making medical leaps and bounds. On stage, he shows a few intriguing items made of the versatile stuff. […]

  • Beware online "filter bubbles" | Eli Pariser
    on May 2, 2011 at 1:00 am

    As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there's a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a "filter bubble" and don't get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy. […]

  • A next-generation digital book | Mike Matas
    on April 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Software developer Mike Matas demos the first full-length interactive book for the iPad -- with clever, swipeable video and graphics and some very cool data visualizations to play with. The book is "Our Choice," Al Gore's sequel to "An Inconvenient Truth." […]

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