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 watchin...
How do we search for alien life if it's nothing like the life that we know? Christoph Adami shows how he uses his research into artificial life -- self-replicating computer programs -- to find a signature, a "biomarker," that is free of our preconceptions of what life is.
Legendary scientist David Deutsch puts theoretical physics on the back burner to discuss a more urgent matter: the survival of our species. The first step toward solving global warming, he says, is to admit that we have a problem.
Oceanographer John Delaney is leading the team that is building an underwater network of high-def cameras and sensors that will turn our ocean into a global interactive lab -- sparking an explosion of rich data about the world below.
When Eric Dishman was in college, doctors told him he had 2 to 3 years to live. That was a long time ago. Now, Dishman puts his experience and his expertise as a medical tech specialist together to suggest a bold idea for reinventing health care -- by putting the patient at the center of a treatment team.
SETI researcher Seth Shostak bets that we will find extraterrestrial life in the next twenty-four years, or he'll buy you a cup of coffee. He explains why new technologies and the laws of probability make the breakthrough so likely -- and predicts how the discovery of civilizations far more advanced than ours might affect us here on Earth.
So the Mars Rovers didn't scoop up any alien lifeforms. Scientist Penelope Boston thinks there's a good chance -- a 25 to 50 percent chance, in fact -- that life might exist on Mars, deep inside the planet's caves. She details how we should look and why.
Physicist Freeman Dyson suggests that we start looking for life on the moons of Jupiter and out past Neptune, in the Kuiper belt and the Oort cloud. He talks about what such life would be like -- and how we might find it.
In 1996, Thordis Elva shared a teenage romance with Tom Stranger, an exchange student from Australia. After a school dance, Tom raped Thordis, after which they parted ways for many years. In this extraordinary talk, Elva and Stranger move through a years-long chronology of shame and silence, and invite us to discuss the omnipresent global issue ...
Many artificial intelligence researchers expect AI to outsmart humans at all tasks and jobs within decades, enabling a future where we're restricted only by the laws of physics, not the limits of our intelligence. MIT physicist and AI researcher Max Tegmark separates the real opportunities and threats from the myths, describing the concrete step...
Geneticist Steve McCarroll wants to make an atlas of all the cells in the human body so that we can understand in precise detail how specific genes work, especially in the brain. In this fascinating talk, he shares his team's progress -- including their invention of "Drop-seq," a technology that allows scientists to analyze individual cells at a...
Matters of the heart sometimes feel impossible to parse. But when examined through the eye of an evolutionist, our romantic whims and sexual desires can start to make more sense, and even seem a bit predictable. Biological anthropologist David Puts confronts how we compete, care and copulate based on evolutionary biology -- and what that means f...
Backed by mathematical analysis, network theorist Albert-László Barabási explores the hidden mechanisms that drive success -- no matter your field -- and uncovers an intriguing connection between your age and your chance of making it big.
Rob Dunbar hunts for data on our climate from 12,000 years ago, finding clues inside ancient seabeds and corals and inside ice sheets. His work is vital in setting baselines for fixing our current climate -- and in tracking the rise of deadly ocean acidification.
Meet seven all-terrain robots -- like the humanoid, soccer-playing DARwIn and the cliff-gripping CLIMBeR -- built by Dennis Hong's robotics team at RoMeLa, based at Virginia Tech. Watch to the end for the five creative secrets to his lab's success.
Insects and animals have evolved some amazing skills -- but, as Robert Full notes, many animals are actually over-engineered. The trick is to copy only what's necessary. He shows how human engineers can learn from animals' tricks.
Speaking as both an astronomer and "a concerned member of the human race," Sir Martin Rees examines our planet and its future from a cosmic perspective. He urges action to prevent dark consequences from our scientific and technological development.
Onstage at TED2013, Sugata Mitra makes his bold TED Prize wish: Help me design the School in the Cloud, a learning lab in India, where children can explore and learn from each other -- using resources and mentoring from the cloud. Hear his inspiring vision for Self Organized Learning Environments.