Bina Venkataraman

Writer, futurist
Bina Venkataraman is an MIT professor and author of the forthcoming book "The Optimist's Telescope."

Why you should listen

For more than six years, Bina Venkataraman has been traveling around the world studying how people and communities think about the future. Her curiosity as a former journalist, and her firsthand experience in the Obama White House, led her to question whether the shortsightedness rampant in today's societies is inevitable -- or actually "a choice we're making."

During the Obama years, Venkataraman built partnerships among communities, companies and government to prepare for coming pandemics, wildfires and rising seas. In 2014, she launched the White House Climate Data Initiative to bring actionable climate science to people making decisions around the globe. Previously, she was a science journalist for the New York Times and the Boston Globe. Now, she teaches students at MIT to use scientific knowledge in service of society.

As Venkataraman writes: "For as long as I can remember, I have suspected that the future of humanity depended on the future of the planet. I have since found this to be the most compelling story of our time. As I imagine what lies in our shared future, from gene-editing to the climate crisis, I see both dangers and extraordinary potential."

Venkataraman wrote her first book, The Optimist's Telescope (to be published by Riverhead on August 27, 2019), to help people today better shape their own future and that of coming generations.

Bina Venkataraman’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Bina Venkataraman

Live from TED2019

Meaning: Notes from Session 12 of TED2019

April 19, 2019

The final session of TED2019 was a spectacle. From powerful calls to civic engagement and ancestorship to stories of self and perseverance, the session wrapped an incredible week and soared through the end with an unforgettable, totally improvised wrap-up. The event: Talks and performances from TED2019, Session 12: Meaning, hosted by TED’s Chris Anderson, Helen […]

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