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Information, Irrationality and Biases

Tali Sharot: The Optimism BiasAre we born to be optimistic, rather than realistic? Tali Sharot shares new research that suggests our brains are wired to look on the bright side -- and how that can be both dangerous and beneficial.TED

Kathryn Schulz: On Being WrongMost of us will do anything to avoid being wrong. But what if we're wrong about that? Wrongologist Kathryn Schulz makes a compelling case for not just admitting but embracing our fallibility.TED

Noreena Hertz: How to Use Experts and When Not ToWe make important decisions every day -- and we often rely on experts to help us decide. But, says economist Noreena Hertz, relying too much on experts can be limiting and even dangerous. She calls for us to start democratizing expertise -- to listen not only to surgeons and CEOs, but also to shop staff.TED

Laurie Santos: MonkeynomicsLaurie Santos looks for the roots of human irrationality by watching the way our primate relatives make decisions. A clever series of experiments in monkeynomics shows that some of the silly choices we make, monkeys make too.TED

Sheena Iyengar: On the Art of ChoosingSheena Iyengar studies how we make choices -- and how we feel about the choices we make. At TEDGlobal, she talks about both trivial choices (Coke v. Pepsi) and profound ones, and shares her groundbreaking research that has uncovered some surprising attitudes about our decisions.TED

Michael Shermer: The Pattern Behind Self DeceptionMichael Shermer says the human tendency to believe strange things -- from alien abductions to dowsing rods -- boils down to two of the brain's most basic, hard-wired survival skills. He explains what they are, and how they get us into trouble.TED

Daniel Kaheman: The Riddle of Experience vs MemoryUsing examples from vacations to colonoscopies, Nobel laureate and founder of behavioral economics Daniel Kahneman reveals how our experiencing selves and our remembering selves perceive happiness differently. This new insight has profound implications for economics, public policy -- and our own self-awareness.TED

Dan Ariely: Are We In Control of Our Decisions?Behavioral economist Dan Ariely, the author of Predictably Irrational, uses classic visual illusions and his own counterintuitive (and sometimes shocking) research findings to show how we're not as rational as we think when we make decisions.TED

Steven Pinker: Chalks it Up to the Blank SlateSteven Pinker's book The Blank Slate argues that all humans are born with some innate traits. Here, Pinker talks about his thesis, and why some people found it incredibly upsetting.TED

Vilayanur Ramachandran: On Your MindVilayanur Ramachandran tells us what brain damage can reveal about the connection between celebral tissue and the mind, using three startling delusions as examples.TED

Barry Schwartz: On The Paradox of ChoicePsychologist Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central tenet of western societies: freedom of choice. In Schwartz's estimation, choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.TED

Dan Ariely: The Upside of IrrationalityThe 2008 economic crisis taught us that irrationality is an influential player in financial markets. But it is often the case that irrationality also makes it way into our daily lives and decision-making -- in slightly different and vastly more subtle ways. In this enthralling follow-up to his New York Times bestseller Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely shows how irrationality is an inherent part of the way we function and think, and how it affects our behavior in all areas of our lives, from our romantic relationships to our experiences in the workplace to our temptations to

Dan Pink: On MotivationCareer analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don't: Traditional rewards aren't always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories -- and maybe, a way forward.TED

Daniel Kahneman: On Behavioral EconomicsNobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman addresses the Georgetown class of 2009 about the merits of behavioral economics. He deconstructs the assumption that people always act rationally, and explains how to promote rational decisions in an irrational


Michael Norton: How to Buy HappinessAt TEDxCambridge, Michael Norton shares fascinating research on how money can, indeed buy happiness -- when you don't spend it on yourself. Listen for surprising data on the many ways pro-social spending can benefit you, your work, and (of course) other people.TED

Graham Hill: Less Stuff More HappinessWriter and designer Graham Hill asks: Can having less stuff, in less room, lead to more happiness? He makes the case for taking up less space, and lays out three rules for editing your life.TED

Chip Conley: Measuring What Makes Life WorthwhileWhen the dotcom bubble burst, hotelier Chip Conley went in search of a business model based on happiness. In an old friendship with an employee and in the wisdom of a Buddhist king, he learned that success comes from what you count.TED

Nancy Etcoff: On Happiness and Why We WantCognitive researcher Nancy Etcoff looks at happiness -- the ways we try to achieve and increase it, the way it's untethered to our real circumstances, and its surprising effect on our bodies.TED


Peter Norvig: The 100,000 Student ClassroomIn the fall of 2011 Peter Norvig taught a class with Sebastian Thrun on artificial intelligence at Stanford attended by 175 students in situ -- and over 100,000 via an interactive webcast. He shares what he learned about teaching to a global classroom.TED

Ayah Bdeir: Building Blocks That Blink Beep and TeachImagine a set of electronics as easy to play with as Legos. TED Fellow Ayah Bdeir introduces littleBits, a set of simple, interchangeable blocks that make programming as simple and important a part of creativity as snapping blocks together.TED


Amory Lovins: A 50 Year Plan For EnergyIn this intimate talk filmed at TED's offices, energy innovator Amory Lovins shows how to get the US off oil and coal by 2050, $5 trillion cheaper, with no Act of Congress, led by business for profit. The key is integrating all four energy-using sectors—and four kinds of innovation.TED

Justin Hall Tipping: Freeing Energy From the GridWhat would happen if we could generate power from our windowpanes? In this moving talk, entrepreneur Justin Hall-Tipping shows the materials that could make that possible, and how questioning our notion of normal can lead to extraordinary breakthroughs.TED


Atul Gawande: How Do We Heal MedicineOur medical systems are broken. Doctors are capable of extraordinary (and expensive) treatments, but they are losing their core focus: actually treating people. Doctor and writer Atul Gawande suggests we take a step back and look at new ways to do medicine -- with fewer cowboys and more pit crews.TED

Jay Bradner: Open Source Cancer ResearchHow does cancer know it's cancer? At Jay Bradner's lab, they found a molecule that might hold the answer, JQ1 -- and instead of patenting JQ1, they published their findings and mailed samples to 40 other labs to work on. An inspiring look at the open-source future of medical research. TED

Scott Summit: Beautiful Artificial LimbsProsthetics can’t replicate the look and feel of lost limbs but they can carry a lot of personality. At TEDxCambridge, Scott Summit shows 3D-printed, individually designed prosthetic legs that are unabashedly artificial and completely personal -- from macho to fabulous.TED

Todd Kuiken: A Prosthetic Arm that FeelsPhysiatrist and engineer Todd Kuiken is building a prosthetic arm that connects with the human nervous system -- improving motion, control and even feeling. Onstage, patient Amanda Kitts helps demonstrate this next-gen robotic arm.TED

Daniel Kraft: Medicine’s FutureDaniel Kraft offers a fast-paced look at the next few years of innovations in medicine, powered by new tools, tests and apps that bring diagnostic information right to the patient's bedside.TED

3D Printing and Rapid Manufacturing

Lisa Harouni: A Primer on 3D Printing2012 may be the year of 3D printing, when this three-decade-old technology finally becomes accessible and even commonplace. Lisa Harouni gives a useful introduction to this fascinating way of making things -- including intricate objects once impossible to createTED

Marcin Jakubowski: Open-sourced Blueprints for CivilizationUsing wikis and digital fabrication tools, TED Fellow Marcin Jakubowski is open-sourcing the blueprints for 50 farm machines, allowing anyone to build their own tractor or harvester from scratch. And that's only the first step in a project to write an instruction set for an entire self-sustaining village (starting cost: $10,000).TED

Neil Gershenfeld: The Future of FabricationAnalog phone calls degraded with distance; we now have the Internet. Analog computations degraded with time; we now have PCs. But today's most advanced manufacturing processes, whether additive or subtractive, remain analog because the materials themselves don't contain information. Prof. Neil Gershenfeld, Director of MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms, will present research on digital materials, and discuss its implications for the future of making


Peter Diamandis: Abundance is Our FutureOnstage at TED2012, Peter Diamandis makes a case for optimism -- that we'll invent, innovate and create ways to solve the challenges that loom over us. I’m not saying we don’t have our set of problems; we surely do. But ultimately, we knock them down.TED

Paul Conneally: Digital HumanitarianismThe disastrous earthquake in Haiti taught humanitarian groups an unexpected lesson: the power of mobile devices to coordinate, inform, and guide relief efforts. At TEDxRC2, Paul Conneally shows extraordinary examples of social media and other new technologies becoming central to humanitarian aid.TED

Amy Purdy: Living Beyond LimitsWhen she was 19, Amy Purdy lost both her legs below the knee. And now ... she's a pro snowboarder. In this powerful talk, she shows us how to draw inspiration from life's obstacles. TED

Steve Jobs: How to Live Before You DieAt his Stanford University commencement speech, Steve Jobs, CEO and co-founder of Apple and Pixar, urges us to pursue our dreams and see the opportunities in life's setbacks -- including death itself.TED

Sherry Turkle: Alone TogetherMIT technology and society specialist Professor Sherry Turkle has spent fifteen years exploring our lives on the digital terrain. Based on interviews with hundreds of children and adults, she visits the RSA to describe new, unsettling relationships between friends, lovers, parents and children, and new instabilities in how we understand privacy and community, intimacy and

Matt Ridley @ GoogleIn this clear-sighted book, Matt Ridley demonstrates that the world is getting better, and at an accelerating rate: food, income and lifespan are up; disease, child mortality and violence are down?all across the globe. Necessities and luxuries alike are getting cheaper; population growth is slowing down; Africa is following Asia out of poverty; the internet and the mobile phone are enriching people's lives as never before. The pessimists who dominate public discourse insist that we will soon reach a turning point and things will start to get worse. But they have been saying this for 200 years.Youtube

Six Easy Steps To Avert the Collapse of CivilizationNeuroscientist and fiction writer David Eagleman presents: Six Steps to Avert the Collapse of Civilization. Civilizations always think they're immortal, Eagleman says, but they nearly always perish, leaving nothing but ruins and scattered genetics. It takes luck and new technology to survive. We may be particularly lucky to have Internet technology to help manage the six requirements of a durable civilization:

Science and Technology

Michael Nielsen: Open Science NowWhat if every scientist could share their data as easily as they tweet about their lunch? Michael Nielsen calls for scientists to embrace new tools for collaboration that will enable discoveries to happen at the speed of Twitter.TED

Ben Goldacre: Battling Bad ScienceEvery day there are news reports of new health advice, but how can you know if they're right? Doctor and epidemiologist Ben Goldacre shows us, at high speed, the ways evidence can be distorted, from the blindingly obvious nutrition claims to the very subtle tricks of the pharmaceutical industry.TED

Future Shock: Technology in the Next 10 YearsSome of the best minds in Silicon Valley discuss the future of technology, from cool flat-surface displays to self-organizing social media and proliferation of billions of mobile devices.

Roundtable: The Future of WorkModerator Charlie Firestone of the Aspen Institute, joins Jonathan Spector, Tammy Johns and Dwayne Spradlin for a discussion on one of the most pressing issues facing America and the world

World Changing IdeasCompass Summit, a forum for true interaction and exchange, examines some of today's most pressing problems through the lens of global citizenship, recognizing that human ingenuity is an unlimited resource. Guided by NPR's Ira Flatow, an intimate group of some of the world's best thinkers and doers convened along the rugged Palos Verdes coastline on Oct 23-26, 2011 at Terranea Resort to engage in meaningful conversation, ask questions, and challenge ideas -- we invite you to join in the

Michael Specter: The Danger of Science DenialVaccine-autism claims, Frankenfood bans, the herbal cure craze: All point to the public's growing fear (and, often, outright denial) of science and reason, says Michael Specter. He warns the trend spells disaster for human progress.TED

Michael Specter @ GoogleWhy have so many Americans, who more than any other people have been defined by progress and scientific achievement, begun to mistrust the scientific process itself? How did vaccines, the world's most effective health measure, become a subject of bitter debate and denial?. Why do Americans spend billions of dollars each year on dietary supplements, despite growing stacks of evidence that they are either useless or dangerous? Why, despite thousands of years of agricultural success, do we insist that genetically modified food is somehow different and more dangerous than conventional crops? And why, in the era of genomic medicine, do we so often on ignore genetic realities - preferring to cling to the myth that we are all alike?Youtube

Benoit Mandelbrot: Fractals and the Art of RoughnessAt TED2010, mathematics legend Benoit Mandelbrot develops a theme he first discussed at TED in 1984 -- the extreme complexity of roughness, and the way that fractal math can find order within patterns that seem unknowably complicated.TED

Revolutionizing How Engineering is Practiced and TaughtChief Scientist for the Rocky Mountain Institute, Amory Lovins, describes how small gains in efficiency at the consumption point can trigger gains that are magnitudes larger at higher levels and discusses how engineering must be practiced and taught fundamentally different.Youtube

What Matters About Distance?Gary and Judy Olsen of the University of California at Irvine talk about working in a geographically distributed team. They go on to talk about the challenges with this, including research, technologies and prospects for the future.Youtube


Daniel Schnitzer: Inventing is the Easy PartDaniel Schnitzer knew that small-scale solar products (like solar-powered LED lightbulbs) could transform the lives of rural Haitians, but found that despite their value, they wouldn't simply sell themselves. At TEDxPittsburgh, he explains how health and energy solutions for the developing world are useless unless the market works too.TED

Larry Smith: Why You Will Fail to Have a Great CareerIn this funny and blunt talk, Larry Smith pulls no punches when he calls out the absurd excuses people invent when they fail to pursue their passions.TED

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon: Women Entrepreneurs, Example Not ExceptionWomen aren’t micro--so why do they only get micro-loans? Reporter Gayle Tzemach Lemmon argues that women running all types of firms-- from home businesses to major factories-- are the overlooked key to economic development.TED

Cameron Herold: Let’s Raise Kids to be EntrepreneursBored in school, failing classes, at odds with peers: This child might be an entrepreneur, says Cameron Herold. In his talk, he makes the case for parenting and education that helps would-be entrepreneurs flourish -- as kids and as adults.TED

Crowdsourcing WorkLukas Biewald of Delores Labs, discusses crowdsourcing applications like Mechanical Turk that utilize online workers to do menial tasks for short periods of time.Youtube

Business, Government and Economics

Richard Wilkinson: How Economic Inequality Harms SocietyWe feel instinctively that societies with huge income gaps are somehow going wrong. Richard Wilkinson charts the hard data on economic inequality, and shows what gets worse when rich and poor are too far apart: real effects on health, lifespan, even such basic values as trust.TED

Jennifer Pahlka: Coding a Better GovernmentCan government be run like the Internet, permissionless and open? Coder and activist Jennifer Pahlka believes it can -- and that apps, built quickly and cheaply, are a powerful new way to connect citizens to their governments -- and their neighbors.TED

Don Tapscott: Four Principles For the Open WorldThe recent generations have been bathed in connecting technology from birth, says futurist Don Tapscott, and as a result the world is transforming into one that is far more open and transparent. In this inspiring talk, he lists the four core principles that show how this open world can be a far better place.TED

Geoffrey West: The Surprising Math of Cities and CorporationsPhysicist Geoffrey West has found that simple, mathematical laws govern the properties of cities -- that wealth, crime rate, walking speed and many other aspects of a city can be deduced from a single number: the city's population. In this mind-bending talk from TEDGlobal he shows how it works and how similar laws hold for organisms and corporations.TED

SuperFreakonomics: Challenging the Way We ThinkPeople respond to incentives, although not necessarily in ways that are predictable. Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, authors of the bestselling Freakonomics challenge you to think differently about a range of controversial

Michael Sandel: The Lost Art of Democratic DebateDemocracy thrives on civil debate, Michael Sandel says -- but we're shamefully out of practice. He leads a fun refresher, with TEDsters sparring over a recent Supreme Court case (PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin) whose outcome reveals the critical ingredient in justice.TED

Max Barry: On RiskBestselling satirical novelist Max Barry explains how our attitudes toward risk both define and confine us. He uses the mishandling of financial risk in the corporate world as a springboard to a more general discussion about the ways our attitudes towards different kinds of risk define us as people -- how risk informs the fundamental decisions we make about our

Nassim Taleb: A Crazier FutureThe Future Has Always Been Crazier Than We Thought with Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Author Nassim Nicholas Taleb discusses his book, The Black Swan in relation to predicting the future, learning from the consequences of the unknown, and the power of

A Global Investing Perspective: Where the World Is GoingAbraaj Capital founder and CEO Arif Naqvi speaks at the 2009 Investor Gathering in NYC. Acumen Fund, a non-profit global venture fund, uses entrepreneurial approaches to tackle problems associated with poverty. Established in 2001 by Jacqueline Novogratz, Acumen Fund has pioneered the use of market-based approaches to bringing critical goods and services to low-income people. Working with innovative entrepreneurs in impoverished regions throughout the world, the businesses that Acumen supports focus on water, health, housing, energy, and

Nassim Taleb and Daniel Kahneman: Reflection on a CrisisAuthor Nassim Taleb and Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman discuss the intricacies of the financial crisis and its far-reaching influence. Looking forward, they offer proposals to remedy the situation and prevent it from ever

Burton Malkiel @ GoogleDr. Burton G. Malkiel, the Chemical Bank Chairman's Professor of Economics at Princeton University, is the author of the widely read investment book, A Random Walk Down Wall Street. He has also authored several other books, including the recently published The Elements of Investing.Youtube