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Playlist (17 talks)
30 years of TED

The first TED was held in 1984. What kind of predictions did people make 30 years ago? (And did they turn out to be right?) Watch the world change over three decades in this nearly year-by-year playlist.

Playlist (17 talks): 30 years of TED

  • 25:23
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    With surprising accuracy, Nicholas Negroponte predicts what will happen with CD-ROMs, web interfaces, service kiosks, the touchscreen interface of the iPhone and his own One Laptop per Child project.
    “Nicholas Negroponte must have consulted a crystal ball when writing his talk for our first conference in 1984. Here, he predicts what’s next in tech with startling accuracy: CD-ROMs, web interfaces, even the touchscreen.”
  • 44:38
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    Before he was a legend, architect Frank Gehry takes a whistlestop tour of his early work, from his house in Venice Beach to the American Center in Paris, which was under construction (and much on his mind) when he gave this talk.
    “Architect Frank Gehry is now a legend. But at TED2, in 1990, his work was just becoming known in the mainstream. In this talk, he shares his early work.”
  • 19:10
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    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.
    “Technology seems to be advancing at an increasingly rapid clip. In this talk from TED6 in 1994, Danny Hillis shares an intriguing theory as to why. Note: the pad and paper, as this was pre-PowerPoint.”
  • 18:09
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    The ceramics designer Eva Zeisel looks back on a 75-year career. What keeps her work as fresh today (her latest line debuted in 2008) as in 1926? Her sense of play and beauty, and her drive for adventure. Listen for stories from a rich, colorful life.
    “Ceramics designer Eva Zeisel has been working since 1926. At TED11, in 2001, she shared how a sense of play and a love of beauty kept her work fresh for decades.”
  • 22:48
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    In 1998, aircraft designer Paul MacCready looks at a planet on which humans have utterly dominated nature, and talks about what we all can do to preserve nature's balance. His contribution: solar planes, superefficient gliders and the electric car.
    “At TED8 in 1998, Paul MacCready describes our world as one where humans have dominated nature. We have a responsibility to protect it for the next generation, he says, in an early call for us to respect our planet.”
  • 29:32
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    Biochemist Kary Mullis talks about the basis of modern science: the experiment. Sharing tales from the 17th century and from his own backyard-rocketry days, Mullis celebrates the curiosity, inspiration and rigor of good science in all its forms.
    “The experiment is a beautiful thing, says biochemist Kary Mullis in this talk from TED2002. Here, he marvels at the fact that the experiment is only 350 years old.”
  • 16:30
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    Outside.in's Steven Johnson says the Web is like a city: built by many people, completely controlled by no one, intricately interconnected and yet functioning as many independent parts. While disaster strikes in one place, elsewhere, life goes on.
    “At TED2003, Steven Johnson gives us an analogy for understanding the internet—the city—showing how both are built by many, yet controlled by no one. Notice that he’s the first person on this list to stand up.”
  • 16:25
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    Biologist Sheila Patek talks about her work measuring the feeding strike of the mantis shrimp, one of the fastest movements in the animal world, using video cameras recording at 20,000 frames per second.
    “Who knew that mantis shrimp moved so fast? At TED2004, biologist Sheila Patek shared her work studying incredibly animal movements.”
  • 20:00
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    Tech enthusiast Kevin Kelly asks "What does technology want?" and discovers that its movement toward ubiquity and complexity is much like the evolution of life.
    “Kevin Kelly, founding executive editor of Wired and former publisher/editor of the Whole Earth Review, asks an unusual question at TED2005: What does technology want? ”
  • 21:45
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    Tony Robbins discusses the "invisible forces" that motivate everyone's actions — and high-fives Al Gore in the front row.
    “For TED2006, Tony Robbins whittled down his workshop to its essence — looking at the why behind the things we do. This talk is one of the first six posted online along with talks from Al Gore, David Pogue, Majora Carter, Ken Robinson and Hans Rosling. ”
  • 20:13
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    We know the negative images of Africa — famine and disease, conflict and corruption. But, says Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, there's another, less-told story happening in many African nations: one of reform, economic growth and business opportunity.
    “The first female Finance Minister of Nigeria, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala worries that people are only familiar with the Africa of deep poverty. At TED2007, she introduces us to the Africa of opportunity.”
  • 18:19
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    Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness — shut down one by one. An astonishing story.
    “At TED2008, Jill Bolte Taylor brought the house down with this talk, still the second most-viewed on TED.com, about the terrifying morning when she had a stroke.”
  • 20:16
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    Bill Gates hopes to solve some of the world's biggest problems using a new kind of philanthropy. In a passionate and, yes, funny 18 minutes, he asks us to consider two big questions and how we might answer them. (And see the Q&A on the TED Blog.)
    “Bill Gates made TED2009 into instant news when he opened a jar of mosquitos in the theater. His point: certain problems do not get the attention they deserve because there is no market incentive to solve them. ”
  • 20:03
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    Games like World of Warcraft give players the means to save worlds, and incentive to learn the habits of heroes. What if we could harness this gamer power to solve real-world problems? Jane McGonigal says we can, and explains how.
    “Video game designer Jane McGonigal disagrees that video games are a distraction from solving the problems of the world. At TED2010, she outlines a bold plan to tackle these problems. ”
  • 24:09
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    JR, a semi-anonymous French street artist, uses his camera to show the world its true face, by pasting photos of the human face across massive canvases. At TED2011, he makes his audacious TED Prize wish: to use art to turn the world inside out. Learn more about his work and learn how you can join in at insideoutproject.net.
    “Artist JR’s oversized posters create dialogues in cities across the globe, bringing attention to the faces of those often forgotten. In this talk from TED2011, JR shares his wish for the world.”
  • 23:41
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    In an engaging and personal talk — with cameo appearances from his grandmother and Rosa Parks — human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares some hard truths about America's justice system, starting with a massive imbalance along racial lines: a third of the country's black male population has been incarcerated at some point in their lives. These issues, which are wrapped up in America's unexamined history, are rarely talked about with this level of candor, insight and persuasiveness.
    “The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. At TED2012, Bryan Stevenson looks at how this distorts around race and socioeconomics. A personal and moving talk that set TED2012 on fire. ”
  • 10:45
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    Ron Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA — in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where "the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys."
    “At TED2013, our last conference in Long Beach before moving to Vancouver, Ron Finley inspired many to pick up their shovels and plant some vegetable. It’s a call that changed Los Angeles’ law.”