A first glimpse at the TEDSummit 2019 speaker lineup

At TEDSummit 2019, more than 1,000 members of the TED community will gather for five days of performances, workshops, brainstorming, outdoor activities, future-focused discussions and, of course, an eclectic program of TED Talks — curated by TED Global curator Bruno Giussani, pictured above. (Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED)

With TEDSummit 2019 just two months away, it’s time to unveil the first group of speakers that will take to the stage in Edinburgh, Scotland, from July 21-25.

Three years ago, more than 1,000 members of the TED global community convened in Banff, Canada, for the first-ever TEDSummit. We talked about the fracturing state of the world, the impact of technology and the accelerating urgency of climate change. And we drew wisdom and inspiration from the speakers — and from each other.

These themes are equally pressing today, and we’ll bring them to the stage in novel, more developed ways in Edinburgh. We’ll also address a wide range of additional topics that demand attention — looking not only for analysis but also antidotes and solutions. To catalyze this process, half of the TEDSummit conference program will take place outside the theatre, as experts host an array of Discovery Sessions in the form of hands-on workshops, activities, debates and conversations.

Check out a glimpse of the lineup of speakers who will share their future-focused ideas below. Some are past TED speakers returning to give new talks; others will step onto the red circle for the first time. All will help us understand the world we currently live in.

Here we go! (More will be added in the coming weeks):

Amanda Levete, architect

Anna Piperal, digital country expert

Bob Langert, corporate changemaker

Carl Honoré, author

Carole Cadwalladr, investigative journalist

Diego Prilusky, immersive media technologist

Eli Pariser, organizer and author

Fay Bound Alberti, historian

George Monbiot, thinker and author

Hajer Sharief, youth inclusion activist

Howard Taylor, children safety advocate

Jochen Wegner, editor and dialogue creator

Kelly Wanser, geoengineering expert

Laura Safer Espinoza, workers’ rights advocate

Ma Yansong, architect

Marco Tempest, technology magician

Margaret Heffernan, business thinker

María Neira, global public health official

Mariana Lin, AI personalities writer

Mariana Mazzucato, economist

Marwa Al-Sabouni, architect

Nick Hanauer, capitalism redesigner

Nicola Jones, science writer

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland

Omid Djalili, comedian

Patrick Chappatte, editorial cartoonist

Pico Iyer, global author

Poet Ali, musician

Rachel Kleinfeld, violence scholar

Raghuram Rajan, former central banker

Rose Mutiso, energy for Africa activist

Sandeep Jauhar, cardiologist

Sara-Jane Dunn, computational biologist

Sheperd Doeleman, black hole scientist

Sonia Livingstone, social psychologist

Susan Cain, quiet revolutionary

Tim Flannery, carbon-negative tech scholar

Tshering Tobgay, former Prime Minister of Bhutan

 

With them, a number of artists will also join us at TEDSummit, including:

Djazia Satour, singer

ELEW, pianist and DJ

KT Tunstall, singer and songwriter

Min Kym, virtuoso violinist

Radio Science Orchestra, space-music orchestra

Yilian Cañizares, singer and songwriter

 

Registration for TEDSummit is open for active members of our various communities: TED conference members, Fellows, past TED speakers, TEDx organizers, Educators, Partners, Translators and more. If you’re part of one of these communities and would like to attend, please visit the TEDSummit website.

from TED Blog http://bit.ly/2HuJmp2

TED original podcast The TED Interview kicks off Season 2

TED returns with the second season of The TED Interview, a long-form podcast series that features Chris Anderson, head of TED, in conversation with leading thinkers. The podcast is an opportunity to reconnect with renowned speakers and dive deeper into their ideas within a different global climate. This season’s guests include Bill Gates, Monica Lewinsky, Tim Ferriss, Susan Cain, Yuval Noah Harari, David Brooks, Amanda Palmer, Kai-Fu Lee, Sylvia Earle, Andrew McAfee and Johann Hari. Plus, a bonus episode with Roger McNamee that was recorded live at TED2019.

Listen to the first episode with Bill Gates now on Apple Podcasts.

In its first season, The TED Interview played host to extraordinary conversations — such as the writer Elizabeth Gilbert on the death of her partner, Rayya Elias; Sir Ken Robinson on the education revolution; and Ray Kurzweil on what the future holds for humanity.

Season two builds on this success with new ideas from some of TED’s most compelling speakers. Listeners can look forward to hearing from Bill Gates on the future of technology and philanthropy; musician Amanda Palmer on how the future of creativity means asking for what you want; Susan Cain on introversion and other notable past speakers.

“Ideas are not static — they don’t land perfectly formed in an unchanging world,” said Chris Anderson. “As times change, opinions shift and new research is published, ideas must be iterated on. The TED Interview is a remarkable platform where past speakers can further explain, amplify, illuminate and, in some cases, defend their thinking. Season two listeners can expect a front-row seat as we continue to explore the theory behind some of TED’s most well-known talks.”

The TED Interview launches today and releases new episodes every Wednesday. It is available on Apple Podcasts, the TED Android app or wherever you like to listen to podcasts. Season 2 features 12 episodes, each being roughly an hour long. Collectively the Season Two speakers have garnered over 100 million views through their TED Talks.

The TED Interview is proudly sponsored by Klick Health, the world’s largest independent health agency. They use data, technology and creativity to help patients and healthcare professionals learn about and access life-changing therapies.

TED’s content programming extends beyond its signature TED Talk format with six original podcasts. Overall TED’s podcasts were downloaded over 420 million times in 2018 and have been growing 44% year-over-year since 2016. Among others, The TED Interview joins notable series like Sincerely, X, where powerful ideas are shared anonymously, which recently launched its second season exclusively on the Luminary podcast app.

from TED Blog http://bit.ly/2w73rLD

A new mission to mobilize 2 million women in US politics … and more TED news

TED2019 may be past, but the TED community is busy as ever. Below, a few highlights.

Amplifying 2 million women across the U.S. Activist Ai-jen Poo, Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza and Planned Parenthood past president Cecile Richards have joined forces to launch Supermajority, which aims to train 2 million women in the United States to become activists and political leaders. To scale, the political hub plans to partner with local nonprofits across the country; as a first step, the co-founders will embark on a nationwide listening tour this summer. (Watch Poo’s, Garza’s and Richards’ TED Talks.)

Sneaker reseller set to break billion-dollar record. Sneakerheads, rejoice! StockX, the sneaker-reselling digital marketplace led by data expert Josh Luber, will soon become the first company of its kind with a billion-dollar valuation, thanks to a new round of venture funding.  StockX — a platform where collectible and limited-edition sneakers are bought and exchanged through real-time bidding — is an evolution of Campless, Luber’s site that collected data on rare sneakers. In an interview with The New York Times, Luber said that StockX pulls in around $2 million in gross sales every day. (Watch Luber’s TED Talk.)

A move to protect iconic African-American photo archives. Investment expert Mellody Hobson and her husband, filmmaker George Lucas, filed a motion to acquire the rich photo archives of iconic African-American lifestyle magazines Ebony and Jet. The archives are owned by the recently bankrupt Johnson Publishing Company; Hobson and Lucas intend to gain control over them through their company, Capital Holdings V. The collections include over 5 million photos of notable events and people in African American history, particularly during the Civil Rights Movement. In a statement, Capital Holdings V said: “The Johnson Publishing archives are an essential part of American history and have been critical in telling the extraordinary stories of African-American culture for decades. We want to be sure the archives are protected for generations to come.” (Watch Hobson’s TED Talk.)

10 TED speakers chosen for the TIME100. TIME’s annual round-up of the 100 most influential people in the world include climate activist Greta Thunberg, primatologist and environmentalist Jane Goodall, astrophysicist Sheperd Doeleman and educational entrepreneur Fred Swaniker — also Nancy Pelosi, the Pope, Leana Wen, Michelle Obama, Gayle King (who interviewed Serena Williams and now co-hosts CBS This Morning home to TED segment), and Jeanne Gang. Thunberg was honored for her work igniting climate change activism among teenagers across the world; Goodall for her extraordinary life work of research into the natural world and her steadfast environmentalism; Doeleman for his contribution to the Harvard team of astronomers who took the first photo of a black hole; and Swaniker for the work he’s done to educate and cultivate the next generation of African leaders. Bonus: TIME100 luminaries are introduced in short, sharp essays, and this year many of them came from TEDsters including JR, Shonda Rhimes, Bill Gates, Jennifer Doudna, Dolores Huerta, Hans Ulrich Obrest, Tarana Burke, Kai-Fu Lee, Ian Bremmer, Stacey Abrams, Madeleine Albright, Anna Deavere Smith and Margarethe Vestager. (Watch Thunberg’s, Goodall’s, Doeleman’s, Pelosi’s, Pope Francis’, Wen’s, Obama’s, King’s, Gang’s and Swaniker’s TED Talks.)

Meet Sports Illustrated’s first hijab-wearing model. Model and activist Halima Aden will be the first hijab-wearing model featured in Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue, debuting May 8. Aden will wear two custom burkinis, modestly designed swimsuits. “Being in Sports Illustrated is so much bigger than me,” Aden said in a statement, “It’s sending a message to my community and the world that women of all different backgrounds, looks, upbringings can stand together and be celebrated.” (Watch Aden’s TED Talk.)

Scotland post-surgical deaths drop by a third, and checklists are to thank. A study indicated a 37 percent decrease in post-surgical deaths in Scotland since 2008, which it attributed to the implementation of a safety checklist. The 19-item list created by the World Health Organization is supposed to encourage teamwork and communication during operations. The death rate fell to 0.46 per 100 procedures between 2000 and 2014, analysis of 6.8 million operations showed. Dr. Atul Gawande, who introduced the checklist and co-authored the study, published in the British Journal of Surgery, said to the BBC: “Scotland’s health system is to be congratulated for a multi-year effort that has produced some of the largest population-wide reductions in surgical deaths ever documented.” (Watch Gawanda’s TED Talk.) — BG

And finally … After the actor Luke Perry died unexpectedly of a stroke in February, he was buried according to his wishes: on his Tennessee family farm, wearing a suit embedded with spores that will help his body decompose naturally and return to the earth. His Infinity Burial Suit was made by Coeio, led by designer, artist and TED Fellow Jae Rhim Lee. Back in 2011, Lee demo’ed the mushroom burial suit onstage at TEDGlobal; now she’s focused on testing and creating suits for more people. On April 13, Lee spoke at Perry’s memorial service, held at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank; Perry’s daughter revealed his story in a thoughtful instagram post this past weekend. (Watch Lee’s TED Talk.) — EM

from TED Blog http://bit.ly/2H5ckdU

Meyer Sound at TED, from the stage to the stars

Small but mighty speakers from Meyer Sound helped bring sound into the front rows at TED2019

Small but mighty speakers from Meyer Sound helped bring rich sound to the sonically challenging front-row seats of TED2019: Bigger Than Us, April 15–19, 2019, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED

Given John Meyer’s roots in the Bay Area’s 1960s radio and music scenes, and his innovations for just about every acoustic application — electronically dampening ambient noise in loud rooms, building 3D Cirque du Soleil soundscapes, and helping develop the Grateful Dead’s revolutionary “Wall of Sound” — it’s not surprising to spot his team behind the scenes at TED. With his state-of-the-art audio production platforms and speaker systems, Meyer and his colleagues at Meyer Sound have significantly improved TED’s music and voice reproduction game, and opened the door to a world of new sonic possibilities at TED’s events — including an on-site audio refuge at TED2019 to provide conference-goers with a serene space to digest heavy ideas.

Meyer is a living legend, and accordingly, I caught up with him as he’s revisiting one of his most legendary projects: the sound design of Apocalypse Now, which first toured the US in 1979 using Meyer’s subsonic speaker system. Director Francis Ford Coppola wanted audiences to literally feel every explosion in the film, and he tapped Meyer to provide special subwoofers that would reach to 30 cycles per second (or Hz) — well below the range of human hearing — to provide that impact. For the film’s 40th-anniversary screening at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, Meyer’s speakers sunk even lower to a gut-rumbling 13 Hz.

“Sound can change your emotion more than any other tool that’s ever existed,” Meyer says. “The movie people know this, because they change the sound to change the mood of a scene. They’ve known this for 50 years; neuroscience is just studying this now. And we know that low frequencies — which we’re doing for Apocalypse Now — create emotion.”

This exploratory and thoughtful approach to sound and all its possibilities forms the cornerstone of Meyer Sound (which Meyer and his wife, Helen, founded in Berkeley in 1979), and it’s enshrined in their motto: “Thinking sound.” “‘Thinking sound’ embodies our philosophy of making sound something that matters for everyone in all situations,” Meyer explains. “Sound is a crucial contributor to quality of life, because it is all around us all of the time.” By developing new technologies, Meyer Sound constantly seeks to “create audio solutions that heighten the quality and enjoyment of each of these kinds of sonic experiences.”

Mina Sabet, TED's director of production/video operations

Meet Mina Sabet, TED’s director of production/video operations. It’s her job to make TED’s custom-built theater look and sound better year after year. TED2019: Bigger Than Us. April 15–19, 2019, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Dian Lofton / TED

If this kind of thinking sounds familiar, it’s because it dovetails perfectly with the values of TED’s production team, for whom sound and video are equal ingredients in an ideal conference experience. Mina Sabet, TED’s Director of Production and Video Operations, sought to up the ante of TED’s audio production — and Meyer Sound was a “clear choice” to reboot the sound system for the 2019 Vancouver conference.

Building a PA system that blends into the background, doesn’t block anyone’s view of the stage, and yet still provides adequate sound coverage is a daunting task. According to Sabet, “One specific red flag we noticed when sitting in the theater was that our front rows” — specifically couches arranged at the front of the theater — “did not have a full audio experience.” The existing speakers were high overhead, creating a sonic void at the front of the hall. Loudspeakers must compete with lighting rigs and video projectors for ceiling real estate, and they had lost that battle. Speakers in the aisles are both hazardous and, well, ugly.

The solution was both innovative and comically obvious — hide speakers under the furniture. Sabet says that Meyer Sound’s “UP4-Slim speaker could fit nicely under the couch, face the people in the couches, and never be visible to the audience or our cameras. It was a perfect fit.” From there, the team optimized the rest of the room — as Meyer’s business manager John Monitto says, “making sure that we had equal coverage between all the seats, and just really making it a dynamic space… completely blanketing the seats with sound.”

This tranquil simulcast room became a chillout lounge between sessions, with sound environment from Meyer Sound.

This quiet simulcast room became a chillout lounge between sessions of talks, thanks to a tranquil sound environment from Meyer Sound. TED2019: Bigger Than Us. April 15–19, 2019, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Dian Lofton / TED

Once Meyer Sound had conquered the challenges in the main theater, they rewired the simulcast rooms to provide relaxed, uncrowded viewing spaces away from the main theater. As they explored the theme of relaxation, the teams began to wonder — how could they design a space that is not only a great place to listen to the conference, but also a meditative environment where attendees could really lose themselves and quietly observe the torrent of ideas they’d just experienced? More important, how could the production team exploit Meyer Sound’s powerful sound design suites — which can enable small halls to sound like cathedrals or caverns, or muffle echoes to make large spaces sound tiny — to their fullest potential?

As Monitto tells it, “TED had brought us the idea of a room that has two purposes: one, it’s a simulcast space [where] you can watch a talk happening live. [Two], between those sessions, when there’s not somebody on a stage or they’re not presenting material, there’s a place to go to be able to just chill out. And that’s what this room was all about. They brought us a theme of ‘Under the stars,’ and they wanted us to run with it.” And so the “Under the stars” room was born, centered around an interactive ceiling installation that would display the constellations of different cultures with the wave of a baton.

Monitto continues: “We did something really creative — creating an outdoor theme, with an audio soundscape that allowed you to just kind of chill out and relax.” By manipulating high-quality recordings of wind, water, insects and birds flying overhead with Spacemap — an audio matrix that maps up to 288 input sources to output locations — the Meyer Sound team created the illusion of an outdoor cinema under the stars, with sounds not only drifting between speakers, but also soaring overhead and far away. “It just was a real nice place to hang out,” Monitto says.

Leveraging sound to redefine spaces and moods within the conference venue is just the beginning — TED and Meyer Sound have a wide spectrum of challenges and possibilities ahead of them. Using their boundless curiosity, ingenuity, and creativity, both teams seek to redefine the aesthetic boundaries of their events — and seeking to master data-driven tools to achieve this is perhaps the most daunting task of all. As John Meyer puts it, “We [can analyze sound], but it’s like analyzing food — it’s hard. Analyzing whiskey or anything like that with chemistry is hard to figure out. Does it taste good?” As they enter their multi-year partnership, TED and Meyer hope to deliver complex, rich, and five-star flavors to audiences in their theater and in rooms at TED’s flagship conference in Vancouver for years to come.

A meditative soundscape and a ceiling full of stars turned this simulcast space into a calm, relaxing environment, thanks to sound design from Meyer Sound.

A meditative soundscape and a ceiling full of stars turned this simulcast space into a calm, relaxing environment, thanks to sound design from Meyer Sound. TED2019: Bigger Than Us. April 15–19, 2019, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Dian Lofton / TED

from TED Blog http://bit.ly/2VbgPNU

Remembering Harry Marks, co-founder of the TED Conference

Harry Marks’ career happened at the intersection of typography, technology and television. His vision has influenced the look of modern TV, film and video — picture those fluidly moving, 3D letters that fly over the screen to introduce a news broadcast or pop a sports score onto the screen. His influence on this field is absolutely foundational — it’s the headline in his obituary this week in The Hollywood Reporter.

But within Marks’ rich creative life was the seed of another influential cultural moment: He is the co-founder of the TED Conference — which is now a global movement of idea sharing, shared in hundreds of languages among millions of people every day.

In the video above from Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning, Marks tells the story of how he came up with the idea for a conference about technology, entertainment and design while developing title sequences for television using then-new tools of computer graphics:

“I worked with musicians. I worked with artists. I worked with designers. I worked with scientists. I worked with engineers. And it struck me at one point that we were … bringing these very divergent technologies together. I came up with this idea that I wanted to do a conference, but I didn’t know how to do a conference.

“So Richard came and visited … and I said: ‘Let’s go for a walk.’ I said, ‘I have this idea for a conference that’s technology, entertainment and design, and how they relate to each other, hence TED. I said, ‘Would you help me to do a conference, or would you show me how to do it?’

He said, ‘Yeah, I’ll help you. Just give me half. We’ll do it together, we’ll be partners.’ And he brought in Frank Stanton … just a wonderful man, with huge credentials. So the three of us did the first TED in 1984. … And it totally worked, in principle. It didn’t work financially for us at all, but it worked in principle.”

The next TED didn’t happen until six years later, in 1990. Below is a delightful piece of archive video from TED2, in which Marks looks back on what those six years have brought.

“What we used to call high technology has gone from the lab to the living room. It’s creating hundreds of new ideas every day, new devices, new languages, new industries, new millionaires and a new environment that forces all of us to reassess the components of our everyday lives and the viability of thinking of anything in a traditional way. Some of the things that we talked about and introduced at TED1 seemed esoteric six years ago, and now they’re on our desk at the office, or more likely at home, or even more likely both. Those of you who were in this room in 1984 will remember one of the first public showings of the Macintosh and of the compact disc. You’ve seen, in that short time, the long-playing record has become virtually obsolete. And how many of us thought that terms like ‘desktop publishing’ and ‘desktop video’ would become embedded in our vocabularies?”
But as you’ll see in the video, this thoughtful agenda-setting essay was followed by a giant digital prank — a delightful misuse of cutting-edge tech to both underscore and puncture the point Marks was making. It’s genuinely silly. As Russell Preston Brown, of Adobe, wrote to us today:
I think what I remember most about Harry and the TED2 conference was his love of all things over-the-top INSANE.

As I recall, Tom Rielly and I suggested that we should create a 3D TED-zilla movie for the closing ceremonies at TED2.

Harry encouraged us both to go CRAZY and we use an early version of Adobe Premiere to create this INSANE bit of video for the show.

We passed out 3D glasses to everyone, and the audience went crazy, and asked for a resounding encore.

I remember that Harry was laughing so hard and had a smile from ear to ear.

We both had another good laugh that Timothy Leary was in the audience and we even made him trip out as well.

Such good times. I will truly miss those early, early days with Harry at the TED Conferences.

We’re just back from the 35th annual TED Conference last week, and while much about TED has changed, this vision still holds — of bold looks into the future, an occasional trip-out, and a healthy dash of silliness. All of us at TED remain grateful for this founding vision.

from TED Blog http://bit.ly/2GM79Au

In Case You Missed It: Highlights from TED2019

TED2019: Bigger Than Us. April 15 – 19, 2019, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED

If we learned anything at TED2019, it’s that life doesn’t fit into simple narratives, and that there are no simple answers to the big problems we’re facing. But we can use those problems, our discomfort and even our anger to find the energy to make change.

Twelve mainstage sessions, two rocking sessions of talks from TED Fellows, a special session of TED Unplugged, a live podcast recording and much more amounted to an unforgettable week. Any attempt to summarize it all will be woefully incomplete, but here’s a try.

What happened to the internet? Once a place of so much promise, now a source of so much division. Journalist Carole Cadwalldr opened the conference with an electrifying talk on Facebook’s role in Brexit — and how the same players were involved in 2016 US presidential election. She traced the contours of the growing threat social media poses to democracy and calls out the “gods of Silicon Valley,” naming names — one of whom, Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, sat down to talk with TED’s Chris Anderson and Whitney Pennington Rodgers the following day. Dorsey acknowledged problems with harassment on the platform and explained some of the work his team is doing to make it better.

Hannah Gadsby broke comedy. Her words, not ours, and she makes a compelling case in one of the most talked-about moments of the conference. Look for her talk release on April 29.

Humanity strikes back! Eight huge Audacious Project–supported ideas launched at TED this year. From an ambitious project at the Center for Policing Equity to work with police and communities and to collect data on police behavior and set goals to make it more fair … to a new effort to sequester carbon in soil … and more, you can help support these projects and change the world for good.

10 years of TED Fellows. Celebrating a decade of the program in two sessions of exuberant talks, the TED Fellows showed some wow moments, including Brandon Clifford‘s discovery of how to make multi-ton stones “dance,” Arnav Kapur‘s wearable device that allows for silent speech and Skylar Tibbits‘s giant canvas bladders that might save sinking islands. At the same time, they reminded us some of the pain that can exist behind breakthroughs, with Brandon Anderson speaking poignantly about the loss of his life partner during a routine traffic stop — which inspired him to develop a first-of-its-kind platform to report police conduct — and Erika Hamden opening up about her team’s failures in building FIREBall, a UV telescope that can observe extremely faint light from huge clouds of hydrogen gas in and around galaxies.

Connection is a superpower. If you haven’t heard of the blockbuster megahit Crazy Rich Asians, then, well, it’s possible you’re living under a large rock. Whether or not you saw it, the film’s director, Jon M. Chu, has a TED Talk about connection — to his family, his culture, to film and technology — that goes far beyond the movie. The theme of connection rang throughout the conference: from Priya Parker’s three easy steps to turn our everyday get-togethers into meaningful and transformative gatherings to Barbara J. King’s heartbreaking examples of grief in the animal kingdom to Sarah Kay’s epic opening poem about the universe — and our place in it.

Meet Digital Doug. TED takes tech seriously, and Doug Roble took us up on it, debuting his team’s breakthrough motion capture tech, which renders a 3D likeness (known as Digital Doug) in real time — down to Roble’s facial expressions, pores and wrinkles. The demo felt like one of those shifts, where you see what the future’s going to look like. Outside the theater, attendees got a chance to interact with Digital Doug in VR, talking on a virtual TED stage with Roble (who is actually in another room close by, responding to the “digital you” in real time).

New hope for political leadership. There was no shortage of calls to fix the broken, leaderless systems at the top of world governments throughout the conference. The optimists in the room won out during Michael Tubbs’s epic talk about building new civic structures. The mayor of Stockton, California (and the youngest ever of a city with more than 100,000 people), Tubbs shared his vision for governing strategies that recognize systems that place people in compromised situations — and that view impoverished and violent communities with compassion. “When we see someone different from us, they should not reflect our fears, our anxieties, our insecurities, the prejudices we have been taught, our biases. We should see ourselves. We should see our common humanity.”

Exploring the final frontier. A surprise appearance from Sheperd Doeleman, head of the Event Horizon Telescope — whose work produced the historic, first-ever image of a black hole that made waves last week — sent the conference deep into space, and it never really came back. Astrophysicist Juna Kollmeier, head of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, shared her work mapping the observable universe — a feat, she says, that we’ll complete in just 40 years.  “Think about it. We’ve gone from arranging clamshells to general relativity in a few thousand years,” she says. “If we hang on 40 more, we can map all the galaxies.” And in the Fellows talks, Moriba Jah, a space environmentalist and inventor of the orbital garbage monitoring software AstriaGraph, showed how space has a garbage problem. Around half a million objects, some as small as a speck of paint, orbit the Earth — and there’s no consensus on what’s in orbit or where.

Go to sleep. A lack of sleep can lead to more than drowsiness and irritability. Matt Walker shared how it can be deadly as well, leading to an increased risk of Parkinson’s, cancer, heart attacks and more. “Sleep is the Swiss army knife of health,” he says, “It’s not an optional lifestyle luxury. Sleep is a non-negotiable biological necessity. It is your life support system, and it is mother nature’s best effort yet at immortality.”

The speakers who shared their world-changing ideas at TED2019: Bigger Than Us, April 15 – 19, 2019 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. (Photo: Bret Hartman / TED)

from TED Blog http://bit.ly/2DsJ4Nb

“Presence creates possibility”: America Ferrera at TED2019

America Ferrera speaks at TED2019

In her breakout role in Real Women Have Curves, actor America Ferrera played an iconic character who resonated with her true self. Why aren’t there more roles like that? She speaks at TED2019: Bigger Than Us, on April 19, 2019, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED

“My identity is not an obstacle — it’s my superpower,” says America Ferrera onstage at TED2019.

As an Emmy-award winning actor, director and producer, Ferrara crafts characters and stories that are multi-dimensional and deeply human. It hasn’t been easy — Hollywood wasn’t eager to cast Ferrara in full, genuine roles, instead giving her flimsy cliches to play. But we all lose out when our media doesn’t reflect the world, Ferrera says, and it’s the duty of directors, producers and actors to take representation seriously in their casting decisions.

Over and over through her career, America Ferrera heard she was either too Latina or not Latina enough for roles. But what does that even mean? She is Latina — so how could she be the wrong kind? She soon realized that directors and producers weren’t interested in the fullness of her talent but rather, in filling stereotypes. She pushed back against roles like “Gangbanger’s Girlfriend” and “Pregnant Chola #2” and tried to land roles that were complex and challenging. But for the most part, they just didn’t exist. Directors claimed diversity was a financial risk, that there wasn’t an audience for her voice, or that she was just too brown for their films.

Ferrara tried to become what the industry wanted — straightening her hair, slathering on sunscreen — until she realized that she wanted to exist in her work as her own true self, not the industry’s version of her. Finally, in her breakthrough hits Real Women Have Curves and Ugly Betty, Ferrara brought her authentic self to her work, leading to critical, cultural and financial success. Ugly Betty premiered to 16 million viewers in the US and was nominated for 11 Emmys in its first season. Shows like Ugly Betty gave people around the world their first chance to see themselves on screen — for example, Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai named Ugly Betty as one of her inspirations for becoming a journalist.

“I wanted to play people who existed in the center of their own lives, not cardboard cutouts that stood in the background of someone else’s,” she says, “Who we see thriving in the world teaches us how to see ourselves, how to think about our own value, how to dream about our futures.”

Across the world, people resonated with the characters and narrative of Ferrara’s work. “In spite of what I’d been told my whole life,” she says, “I saw first hand that my “unrealistic expectations” to see myself authentically represented in the culture were other people’s expectations too.”

But not much changed. Even though the audience was hungry for more, there wasn’t a slew of new films and shows highlighting diverse narratives. Privately, directors and producers would praise inclusion efforts … but that support didn’t extend to their own projects. The entertainment industry as a whole didn’t seem much different — and to this day, Ferrara is the only Latina to ever win an Emmy in a lead category.

That has to change — and it’s beginning to. There is a rising momentum of inclusive representation in mainstream media and it is vital we keep it going. Presence creates possibility, Ferrara says, and its impact is reverberating and profound. Directors and other authorities in media need to take representative casting out of theoreticals and put it into action.

“Change will come when each of us has the courage to question our own fundamental values and beliefs,” Ferrara says, “and see to it that our actions lead to our best intentions.”

Ultimately, if we commit to crafting stories that truly reflect the world we live in, we can create media that honors all of our voices.

America Ferrera speaks at TED2019

Directors and other authorities in media need to take representative casting out of theoreticals and put it into action, says America Ferrera at TED2019: Bigger Than Us, on April 19, 2019, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED

from TED Blog http://bit.ly/2Xty1uJ

The TED2019 film festival: Conference shorts

At TED2019, as we explored concepts, research findings and insights bigger than us (you see what we did there?), these conference shorts cleansed our mental palettes between TED Talks and helped playfully introduce sessions throughout the week.

Enjoy these hand-picked videos from curators CC Hutten and Jonathan Wells that capture the kaleidoscopic and often humorous perspectives on being human — or a mermaid, or robot …

 

The short: “Shit in Space.” One astronaut’s um, trash, is another earthling’s treasure.

The creators: Mathias & Matias, Try-Oslo

Shown during: Session 1, Truth

 

The short: “Like Sugar.” A playfully sweet music video accented with spicy dance moves guaranteed to get you in the mood to groove.

The creators: Kim Gehrig, Diary Records / Universal

Shown during: Session 2, Power

 

The short: “How to Be a Mermaid.” A brief PSA on what mythology gets wrong about maidens of the sea.

The creator: Nur Casadevall

Shown during: Session 2, Power

 

The short: “The Dream.” There’s nothing quite like the excitement of saving up for your biggest dreams … even when life throws obstacles in your path.

The creators: Teerapol Suneta, Ogilvy Bangkok

Shown during: Session 3, Knowledge

 

The short: “Love Train.” Kids all over the US sing and dance with famous artists, musicians and dancers.

The creator: Playing for Change

Shown during: Session 4, Audacity

 

The short: “Phones are good.” A humorous tour through history that proves life is actually better with smartphones.

The creators: Ian Pons Jewell, Wieden Kennedy London

Shown during: Session 5, Mindshift

 

The short: “Benches.” How to get the best seat for the greatest show on Earth.

The creator: Daniel Koren

Shown during: Session 5, Mindshift

 

The short: “Fireplace firefly.” If you love something, you’ve got to let it go.

Shown during: Session 5, Mindshift

 

The short: “Ari Fararooy: A Video.” Zoom out, zoom in, turn around, glide, rotate, repeat — in stop motion.

The creator: Ari Fararooy

Shown during: Session 6, Imagination

 

The short: “Furry Alphabet.” What kind of imaginative monsters would you make from A to Z?

The creator: Bernat Casasnovas

Shown during: Session 6, Imagination

 

The short: “One Breath Around the World.” A otherworldly short film that captures the journey of one man as he explores the great peaks, valleys, cliffs and life of the deep ocean — all in one amazing breath.

The creator: Guillaume Néry

Shown during: Session 7, Possibility

 

The short: “Hydrophytes.” A mesmerizing choreography of futuristic plants in movement.

The creator: Nicole Hone

Shown during: Session 8, Mystery

The short: “Smart House.” Voice-activated everything seems appealing until that pesky dentist visit.

The creator: Andreas Riiser

Shown during: Session 8, Mystery

 

The short: “Tony Stands on an Egg.” It seems standing on an egg isn’t all it’s cracked up to be after all.

The creator: Kathleen Docherty

Shown during: Session 8, Mystery

 

The short: “The Most Complicated Trickshot Ever.” Home is where the heart is … if your heart happens to be Rube Goldberg machine.

The creator: Cree

Shown during: Session 9, Play

 

The short: “The Lying Robot.” Clever robots come one step closer to world domination.

The creators: UR5 Universal Robot at Ara Institute of Canterbury, repped by ViralHog

Shown during: Session 9, Play

 

The short: “Father & Son.” Two different perspectives on changes taking place within a small family, discussed in humorous song.

The creators: Flight of the Conchords, performed at Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Shown during: Session 10, Connection

 

The short: “Absence.” A brief, absurd pondering about what we do in the shadow of absence.

The creator: Alex Goddard

Shown during: Session 10, Connection

 

The short: “An excerpt from TEDxKakumaCamp.” A behind-the-scenes look at making of a prolific TEDx event.

The creator: TEDx

Shown during: Session 10, Connection

 

The short: “Influencers.” A bright, geometrically playful imagining of the world, not as we know it, but as it might be.

The creator: Foam Studio

Shown during: Session 11, Wonder

 

The short: “A Chair at the Beach.” An increasingly existential meditation on what it means to take a seat.

The creator: Bridge Stuart

Shown during: Session 11, Wonder

 

The short: “Eating Machine.” A cute reimagining of what happens in your mouth when you eat an apple.

The creator: Richie Thompson

Shown during: Session 11, Wonder

 

The short: “Good Morning.” A catchy ode to early hours of the day and the possibility they bring.

The creators: Miles & AJ, Atlantic Records

Shown during: Session 12, Meaning

 

The short: “Shotgun.” A summer-y tune that blasts through time, space and place.

The creator: George Ezra, Nelson De Castro and Carlos Lopez Estrada, Sony Music

Shown during: Session 12, Meaning

from TED Blog http://bit.ly/2ItC9rb

Bigger than us: The art on screen at TED2019

The stage visuals for the Knowledge session.

The TED2019 theme, Bigger Than Us, promises to be larger than life — big ideas, monumental insights, out-of-this-world discoveries, and more! — so naturally, the session art must deliver that sense of awe too, and does.

Colours & Shapes, a Vancouver-based design firm, has created larger-than-life environments for TED since the conference moved to its custom-built Vancouver theater in 2014. Their immersive and transportive designs, splashed across three massive screens, whisk TEDsters away to rich, hyper-visual playgrounds.

We caught up with them this year to learn about what happened behind the screens.

Q: Take me through the creative process, from receiving the prompts to fruition.

This year took shape in a unique way. We were tasked with not only creating all of the session environments, speaker bumpers and conference opener but to redesign the stage from the ground up. This was an opportunity to rethink the TED stage, leaning into the themes for this year and how to create a powerful experience for each person in the theater.

The TED team had a desire to do something really big with video and extending the visual canvas across the entire stage. All the moving parts and technical factors play into what is possible within a custom-designed theater with multiple performance acts, specific broadcast needs and more. We really wanted to bring more depth and dimension to the stage; we knew we had our work cut out for us.

The process is always very collaborative with the whole TED team to find just the right look to elevate and support each session. The magic really starts to appear when we get to the point where we can translate early concepts to actual looks in the theatre — when stage design and artwork come together to create a unique space for each session.

The stage visuals for the Wonder session.

Q: How many people work on making this happen? How many hours?

One of our favorite aspects of working on a project of this scale is the opportunity to hand-pick a team of creative collaborators, animators, illustrators and artists to bring the creative direction to life. All in all, a team of 13 people spent over 750 hours creating all of the screen content for TED2019. It’s a massive undertaking, but we love being able to create something beautiful with so many incredibly talented people.

Q: What were you most excited about when you heard this year’s theme was Bigger Than Us?

“Bigger Than Us” sparked so many fun points of inspiration for our team. Scale, multiplicity and a deep emotional sense of being part of something big were all themes that surfaced early. Additionally, once we saw Jordan Awan’s beautifully playful illustrations that made up the theme for this year, we were drawn toward embracing a more warm illustrated aesthetic.

Q: The turnaround for some sessions can be a bit tight. Were there any this year that really came down to wire?

TED is so committed to curating the best content in the world, and that means that certain things can change late in the game as the full picture of themes, talks and what fits best and where is constantly being reassessed and tweaked — right up until the event. Based on this reality and the complexity of the creation and builds of some of our environments, we are typically refining artwork right up until the start of TED. Play is one session that had a lot of moving pieces to pull together to make it work just right on the stage, but it looks really fun! There really are little tweaks and improvements that we dial in on all the pieces once we are in the room, so yes — we’re proud of all of them :).

The stage visuals for the Knowledge session.

Q: The art for each session is based on the session title — any secret inspirations?

Yes, absolutely! Truth is really about a sense of searching for truth in community. So we imagined a group of explorers searching a mysterious cave-like space for gems of truth in the darkness. We start TED2019 with this sense of curiosity and wonder. Matt Chinworth’s richly textured illustration style perfectly captured the inspiration on this one.

Possibility brought to mind the sense an artist feels while looking at a blank canvas, just before filling it with colour.

Mystery was fun. We imagined a vibrant otherworldly jungle environment filled with camouflaged creatures. There is something there, but we never really get to see. We knew we wanted to work with Nick Ladd on this since he has created some really beautiful artwork with a unique VR illustration technique. Nick created this beautiful environment, painting the whole world in VR that we could then fly through and explore.

The stage visuals for the Mystery session.

Q: Which sessions are you most excited to see play out on the TED screen?

We love the artwork our incredible team created for every session, so it’s hard to pick. Here are four moments that stand out:

The TED2019 opener. We knew that Jordan Awan’s playful illustration just had to have an equally playful animation style. Ryan Woolfolk’s animation and John Poon’s music and sound design make us smile! We think TEDsters in the theater will agree.

Mindshift: A 3D world of humanoid objects trying to learn and build, sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing. Nick Counter and Mike Ellis design such a fun and interesting world that feels right at home with the architectural forms on the TED stage.

Imagination: This is probably the earliest clear concept we developed for this year. We imagined a beautiful but forgotten performance space filled with mirrors. In an impossibly serendipitous moment, we see a butterfly land on stage and create a colourful kaleidoscope of reflections and light throughout the scene. It’s a beautiful imagined moment that sparks a sense of wonder. Eleena Bakrie’s gorgeous illustration style really makes the stage sing.

Possibility: We actually built a scale model of the TED stage in studio for this one. We ended up strategically pouring gallons of paint all over it, letting color slowly overtake the entire stage. The flowing paint you see is all real and physically interacts with the forms on the stage as it travels down.

image.jpg

The stage visuals for the Possibility session.

Q: What do you want the audience to experience while watching your art?

Everything we do ties back to our “why” as a creative studio: create powerful experiences that matter. Really, we want to create a space that feels incredibly beautiful and sparks wonder in the audience. TED is already brilliant at accomplishing this goal, so our aim is really to come alongside and help create a space and an environment that thoughtfully and intentionally ties into the theme of each session and each talk at TED2019.  

We really value the opportunity and the challenges that come with creating something special with TED each year. This year was no exception and the added components of re-imagining the design of the TED stage in addition to the 100+ content deliverables was something that required long hours, a thorough design process and deep collaboration, putting this years theme into practice = Bigger than us.

The stage visuals for the Meaning session.

Credits:

Production Design & Stage visuals

COLOURS & SHAPES

Anthony Diehl
Creative Director

Gordie Cochran
Producer

Arielle Ratzlaff
Design

Matt Chinworth
Illustration

Mike Ellis
Illustration

Nick Counter
Illustration & Animation

Nick Ladd
Illustration & Animation

Jordan Bergren
Illustration & Animation

Stephanie Stromenger
Illustration

Eleena Bakrie
Illustration

John Poon
Sound Design

Ryan Woolfolk
Animation

Jonathan Bostic
Animation

from TED Blog http://bit.ly/2V8RhQP

Meaning: Notes from Session 12 of TED2019

Eric Liu speaks at TED2019

Eric Liu asks us to commit to being active citizens — wherever we are. He speaks at TED2019: Bigger Than Us, on April 19, 2019, in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED

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 Walters and Kelly Stoetzel

When and where: Friday, April 19, 2019, 9am, at the Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver, BC

Speakers: Eric Liu, Yeonmi Park, Suleika Jaouad, David Brooks, America Ferrera, Bina Venkataraman

Mindblowing, completely improvised wrap-up covering the whole week: Freestyle Love Supreme: Anthony Veneziale, Chris Jackson, Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Arthur Lewis

The talks in brief:

Eric Liu, author and CEO of Citizen University

  • Big idea: Instead of feeling despair at the state of the world, we need to commit to living as active, responsible citizens of our societies.
  • How? At a time when the free world seems leaderless, Liu says that we should seek hope not in leadership but in each other. His proposal: that we learn to practice “civic religion” and commit to being active in our citizenship. In pursuit of this, Liu started Civic Saturdays in 2016. These take a similar format to faith-based gatherings, with songs and sermons, but they all stem from shared ideals and a desire for fellowship. Participants then work together to organize rallies, register voters and improve their communities. Liu hopes this can counter the emerging culture of hyperindividualism, where “we are realizing now that a free-for-all is not the same as freedom for all,” and instead build community where we feel empowered to bring about, and not wait for, meaningful change.
  • Quote of the talk:Power without character is a cure worse than a disease.”

Yeonmi Park, human rights activist

  • Big idea: Everything must be taught, even the fundamentals we sometimes take for granted: freedom, compassion, love.
  • How? Right vs. wrong, justice vs. injustice — these aren’t concepts we inherently understand, says human rights activist Yoenmi Park. Telling her story of escape from North Korea, Park says that life there is “a totally different planet.” She gives an unsettling example: there’s only one definition of love in North Korea — “love for the Dear Leader.” Romantic love doesn’t exist as a concept or possibility. And for most North Koreans, neither does freedom. Now a US citizen, Park calls for us to fight for North Koreans — for all oppressed people around the world — who cannot speak for themselves. Freedom is fragile, she says. Who will fight for us when we’re not free?
  • Quote of the talk: “Nothing is forever in this world, and that’s why we have every reason to be hopeful.”

David Brooks, political and cultural commentator, New York Times Op-Ed columnist

  • Big idea: Our society is not only sinking into economic, environmental and political crises — we’re also mired in a deepening social crisis, trapped in a valley of isolation and fragmentation. How do we find our way out of this valley?
  • How? Society tells us that success is everything, that those with less success are less important, and that we can bootstrap ourselves to happiness without the help of other people. All of these maxims, says David Brooks, are lies. Brooks believes that those he calls “weavers” — community workers who re-knit social bonds on a local level — will create a “cultural and relational revolution” that leads each of us out of loneliness and into a new world of joy and social connection.
  • Quote of the talk: “We need a cultural and relational revolution … My theory of social change is that society changes when a small group of people find a better way to live, and the rest of us copy them.”

Suleika Jaouad, cancer survivor and author of the soon-to-be-published memoir Between Two Kingdoms

  • Big idea: As we start to live longer, we will spend more of our lives navigating between being sick and well. We need to break down the idea that the two are wholly separate.
  • How? Jaouad’s recovery from leukemia in her mid-20s is best described in her own words: “The hardest part of my cancer experience began once the cancer was gone. That heroic journey of the survivor we see in movies and watch play out on Instagram? It’s a myth. It isn’t just untrue; it’s dangerous, because it erases the very real challenges of recovery.” Nothing about being ill had prepared her for re-entering the world of the well. So Jaouad calls on us to break down the boundary between the two. “If we can all accept that we are not either ‘well’ or ‘sick’ but sometimes in between, sometimes forever changed by our experiences, we can live better.”
  • Quote of the talk: “You can be held hostage by the worst thing that’s ever happened to you and allow it you hijack your remaining days, or you can find a way forward.”

America Ferrera, actor, director and activist

  • Big idea: By putting representation into practice in our media, we can honor the extraordinary richness of humanity.
  • How? In her breakthrough hits Real Women Have Curves and Ugly Betty, Ferrara brought her authentic self to her work, leading to critical, cultural and financial success. She gave voice to multi-dimensional characters typically uncentered in media, allowing them to “exist in the center of their own lives.” But that wasn’t enough: though directors and producers would privately praise diversity efforts, the entertainment industry was slow to change. This was frustrating because shows like Ugly Betty gave people around the world — including Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai — their first chance to see themselves onscreen. But if we stay courageous and ensure our actions follow our intentions, Ferrara says, we can create media that reflects the world we live in and honors the genuine humanity of all.
  • Quote of the talk: “Change will come when each of us has the courage to question our own fundamental values and beliefs and see to it that our actions lead to our best intentions.”

Bina Venkataraman, writer and futurist

  • Big idea: As both descendants and ancestors of civilization, we must step out of our culture of immediacy and fight the allure of everyday minutiae, and think of generations to come.
  • How? Own up to the mistakes we’ve made and redesign the communities, businesses and institutions that fail at helping us prepare for things to come. What we measure, reward and fail to imagine keeps us from making strides toward shared, significant success as a species. Our foresight is impaired — in order to fix it, we need to shift and see the world and the people in it as a part of a shared resource, where the progress we make now can make be passed down to our collective children and grandchildren.
  • Quote of the talk: When we think about the future, we tend focus on predicting exactly what’s next; whether we’re using horoscopes or algorithms to do that, we spend a lot less time imagining all the possibilities the future holds.”

from TED Blog http://bit.ly/2IuMMKi