playlist

Curator's Picks: Top 10 TED Talks of 2019

The most notable talks of 2019, chosen by TED Curator Chris Anderson.

  1. 19:19
    Matt Walker Sleep is your superpower

    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.

  2. 15:16
    Carole Cadwalladr Facebook's role in Brexit — and the threat to democracy

    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?

  3. 14:55
    David Brooks The lies our culture tells us about what matters — and a better way to live

    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.

  4. 15:16
    George Monbiot The new political story that could change everything

    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.

  5. 14:27
    Patrick Chappatte A free world needs satire

    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.

  6. 16:53
    Es Devlin Mind-blowing stage sculptures that fuse music and technology

    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.

  7. 14:30
    Elizabeth Dunn Helping others makes us happier — but it matters how we do it

    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.

  8. 16:37
    Rob Reid How synthetic biology could wipe out humanity — and how we can stop it

    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.

  9. 13:11
    Bina Venkataraman The power to think ahead in a reckless age

    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.

  10. 13:49
    Joanne Chory How supercharged plants could slow climate change

    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.)