An award-winning scientist and author, Karen Bakker explored how digital innovation transforms humanity's relationship with the natural world.

Why you should listen

A Guggenheim Fellow and professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Karen Bakker was known for her work on digital transformation, environmental governance and sustainability. She was the Matina S. Horner Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, where she worked on her Smart Earth project – a collaborative of ecologists, environmentalists, digital technologists and computer scientists exploring how AI and biodigital technologies can be mobilized to address climate change and biodiversity loss.

A serial tech entrepreneur, Bakker was also the VP of strategy for Riipen, a social impact tech company, and she authored more than 100 academic publications and a dozen books. Her 2022 book, The Sounds of Life: How Digital Technology Is Bringing Us Closer to the Worlds of Animals and Plants, is a journey into the hidden realm of sound, exploring the surprising and wondrous world of acoustic communication in nature. It won the Nautilus and Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Awards and was chosen as the NPR Science Friday Book Club of the Month in November 2022. The recipient of numerous awards, including Stanford University’s Annenberg Fellowship in Communication, Bakker's work has been translated into dozens of languages and covered by WIRED, Science, The New York Times, NPR and more. She earned her PhD from Oxford University, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar.

Karen Bakker’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Karen Bakker


Remembering Karen Bakker

September 8, 2023

It is with immense sadness that we commemorate the legacy of Dr. Karen Bakker, who died on August 14. Karen’s talk at TED2023, Could an orca give a TED Talk?, demonstrated the beautiful promise afforded by technologies such as AI to help us understand the natural world more deeply. A Guggenheim Fellow and professor at […]

Continue reading
Live from TED2023

Off with a bang: Notes on Session 1 of TED2023

April 18, 2023

It’s time for TED! In an eclectic and interdisciplinary opening session, artists, scientists, activists, entrepreneurs and more explored the breadth of transformative possibilities that lie ahead of us, from understanding animal communication to breakthroughs in artificial intelligence to the theory of the “adjacent possible.” The event: Talks from Session 1 of TED2023: Possibility, hosted by […]

Continue reading