playlist

The big picture

Must-listen talks about the future of the environment, crime, technology, government and the human race.

  1. 14:10
    James B. Glattfelder Who controls the world?

    James Glattfelder studies complexity: how an interconnected system — say, a swarm of birds — is more than the sum of its parts. And complexity theory, it turns out, can reveal a lot about how the world economy works. Glattfelder shares a groundbreaking study of how control flows through the global economy, and how concentration of power in the hands of a shockingly small number leaves us all vulnerable.

  2. 18:29
    Paddy Ashdown The global power shift

    Paddy Ashdown believes we are living in a moment in history where power is changing in ways it never has before. In a spellbinding talk he outlines the three major global shifts that he sees coming.

  3. 17:54
    Simon Anholt Which country does the most good for the world?

    It's an unexpected side effect of globalization: problems that once would have stayed local—say, a bank lending out too much money—now have consequences worldwide. But still, countries operate independently, as if alone on the planet. Policy advisor Simon Anholt has dreamed up an unusual scale to get governments thinking outwardly: The Good Country Index. In a riveting and funny talk, he answers the question, "Which country does the most good?" The answer may surprise you (especially if you live in the US or China).

  4. 13:45
    Lesley Hazleton The doubt essential to faith

    When Lesley Hazleton was writing a biography of Muhammad, she was struck by something: The night he received the revelation of the Koran, according to early accounts, his first reaction was doubt, awe, even fear. And yet this experience became the bedrock of his belief. Hazleton calls for a new appreciation of doubt and questioning as the foundation of faith — and an end to fundamentalism of all kinds.

  5. 17:51
    James Hansen Why I must speak out about climate change

    Top climate scientist James Hansen tells the story of his involvement in the science of and debate over global climate change. In doing so he outlines the overwhelming evidence that change is happening and why that makes him deeply worried about the future.

  6. 16:41
    Bjorn Lomborg Global priorities bigger than climate change

    Given $50 billion to spend, which would you solve first, AIDS or global warming? Danish political scientist Bjorn Lomborg comes up with surprising answers.

  7. 19:30
    Misha Glenny The real story of McMafia — how global crime networks work

    Journalist Misha Glenny spent several years in a courageous investigation of organized crime networks, which have grown to an estimated 15% of the global economy. From the Russian mafia to the giant drug cartels, his sources include not just intelligence and law enforcement officials but criminal insiders.

  8. 11:15
    Ellen Gustafson Obesity + hunger = 1 global food issue

    Co-creator of the philanthropic FEED bags, Ellen Gustafson says hunger and obesity are two sides of the same coin. In her talk, she launches The 30 Project — a way to change how we farm and eat in the next 30 years, and solve the global food inequalities behind both epidemics.

  9. 13:41
    Rory Stewart Why democracy matters

    The public is losing faith in democracy, says British MP Rory Stewart. Iraq and Afghanistan’s new democracies are deeply corrupt; meanwhile, 84 percent of people in Britain say politics is broken. In this important talk, Stewart sounds a call to action to rebuild democracy, starting with recognizing why democracy is important — not as a tool, but as an ideal.

  10. 16:29
    Brian Cox Why we need the explorers

    In tough economic times, our exploratory science programs — from space probes to the LHC — are first to suffer budget cuts. Brian Cox explains how curiosity-driven science pays for itself, powering innovation and a profound appreciation of our existence.

  11. 23:23
    Stewart Brand The Long Now

    Stewart Brand works on the Clock of the Long Now, a timepiece that counts down the next 10,000 years. It's a beautiful project that asks us to think about the far, far future. Here, he discusses a tricky side problem with the Clock: Where can we put it?

  12. 17:43
    Janna Levin The sound the universe makes

    We think of space as a silent place. But physicist Janna Levin says the universe has a soundtrack — a sonic composition that records some of the most dramatic events in outer space. (Black holes, for instance, bang on spacetime like a drum.) An accessible and mind-expanding soundwalk through the universe.

  13. 19:43
    Temple Grandin The world needs all kinds of minds

    Temple Grandin, diagnosed with autism as a child, talks about how her mind works — sharing her ability to "think in pictures," which helps her solve problems that neurotypical brains might miss. She makes the case that the world needs people on the autism spectrum: visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers, and all kinds of smart geeky kids.

  14. 21:28
    Karen Armstrong My wish: The Charter for Compassion

    People want to be religious, says scholar Karen Armstrong; we should help make religion a force for harmony. She asks the TED community to help build a Charter for Compassion — to restore the Golden Rule as the central global religious doctrine.

  15. 16:48
    Juan Enriquez Will our kids be a different species?

    Throughout human evolution, multiple versions of humans co-existed. Could we be mid-upgrade now? Juan Enriquez sweeps across time and space to bring us to the present moment — and shows how technology is revealing evidence that suggests rapid evolution may be under way.