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Curator's Picks: Top 10 TED Talks of 2019
The most notable talks of 2019, chosen by TED Curator Chris Anderson.
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Sleep is your superpower
19 minutes 18 seconds
Sleep is your life-support system and Mother Nature's best effort yet at immortality, says sleep scientist Matt Walker. In this deep dive into the science of slumber, Walker shares the wonderfully good things that happen when you get sleep -- and the alarmingly bad things that happen when you don't, for both your brain and body. Learn more about sleep's impact on your learning, memory, immune system and even your genetic code -- as well as some helpful tips for getting some shut-eye.
Facebook's role in Brexit -- and the threat to democracy
15 minutes 15 seconds
In an unmissable talk, journalist Carole Cadwalladr digs into one of the most perplexing events in recent times: the UK's super-close 2016 vote to leave the European Union. Tracking the result to a barrage of misleading Facebook ads targeted at vulnerable Brexit swing voters -- and linking the same players and tactics to the 2016 US presidential election -- Cadwalladr calls out the "gods of Silicon Valley" for being on the wrong side of history and asks: Are free and fair elections a thing of the past?
The lies our culture tells us about what matters -- and a better way to live
14 minutes 54 seconds
Our society is in the midst of a social crisis, says op-ed columnist and author David Brooks: we're trapped in a valley of isolation and fragmentation. How do we find our way out? Based on his travels across the United States -- and his meetings with a range of exceptional people known as "weavers" -- Brooks lays out his vision for a cultural revolution that empowers us all to lead lives of greater meaning, purpose and joy.
The new political story that could change everything
15 minutes 15 seconds
To get out of the mess we're in, we need a new story that explains the present and guides the future, says author George Monbiot. Drawing on findings from psychology, neuroscience and evolutionary biology, he offers a new vision for society built around our fundamental capacity for altruism and cooperation. This contagiously optimistic talk will make you rethink the possibilities for our shared future.
A free world needs satire
14 minutes 26 seconds
We need humor like we need the air we breathe, says editorial cartoonist Patrick Chappatte. In a talk illustrated with highlights from a career spent skewering everything from dictators and ideologues to selfies and social media mobs, Chappatte makes a resounding, often hilarious case for the necessity of satire. "Political cartoons were born with democracy, and they are challenged when freedom is," he says.
Mind-blowing stage sculptures that fuse music and technology
16 minutes 52 seconds
It starts with a sketch. Then it evolves into a larger-than-life visual masterpiece, a celebration of human connection. Follow along as legendary artist and designer Es Devlin takes us on a visual tour of her work -- including iconic stage sculptures she's created for Beyoncé, Adele, Kanye West, U2 and more -- and previews her design for the upcoming World Expo 2020 in Dubai.
Helping others makes us happier -- but it matters how we do it
14 minutes 29 seconds
Research shows that helping others makes us happier. But in her groundbreaking work on generosity and joy, social psychologist Elizabeth Dunn found that there's a catch: it matters how we help. Learn how we can make a greater impact -- and boost our own happiness along the way -- if we make one key shift in how we help others. "Let's stop thinking about giving as just this moral obligation and start thinking of it as a source of pleasure," Dunn says.
How synthetic biology could wipe out humanity -- and how we can stop it
16 minutes 36 seconds
The world-changing promise of synthetic biology and gene editing has a dark side. In this far-seeing talk, author and entrepreneur Rob Reid reviews the risks of a world where more and more people have access to the tools and tech needed to create a doomsday bug that could wipe out humanity -- and suggests that it's time to take this danger seriously.
The power to think ahead in a reckless age
13 minutes 10 seconds
In a forward-looking talk, author Bina Venkataraman answers a pivotal question of our time: How can we secure our future and do right by future generations? She parses the mistakes we make when imagining the future of our lives, businesses and communities, revealing how we can reclaim our innate foresight. What emerges is a surprising case for hope -- and a path to becoming the "good ancestors" we long to be.
How supercharged plants could slow climate change
13 minutes 48 seconds
Plants are amazing machines -- for millions of years, they've taken carbon dioxide out of the air and stored it underground, keeping a crucial check on the global climate. Plant geneticist Joanne Chory is working to amplify this special ability: with her colleagues at the Salk Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory, she's creating plants that can store more carbon, deeper underground, for hundreds of years. Learn more about how these supercharged plants could help slow climate change. (This ambitious plan is a part of the Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)