From the construction of virtual realities to the internet of things to the watches on our wrists—technology's influence is everywhere. Its role in our lives is evolving fast, and we're faced with riveting questions and tough challenges that sit at the intersection of technology and humanity. Listen in every Friday as TED speakers explore the way tech shapes how we think about society, science, design, business, and more.
The race to build AI that benefits humanity | Sam Altman
Will innovation in artificial intelligence drastically improve our lives, or destroy humanity as we know it? From the unintended consequences we've suffered from platforms like Facebook and YouTube to the danger of creating technology we can't control, it's easy to see why people are afraid of a world powered by AI. But in this interview, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman makes a case for AI's potential to make the future better for all of us—and explains how his company is leading that charge with an unusual new business model.
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An ever-evolving map of everything on Earth | Jack Dangermond
What if we had a map of ... everything? Jack Dangermond, a visionary behind the geographic information system (GIS) technology used to map and analyze all kinds of complex data, walks us through the interconnected technologies gathering information about every crack and corner of the Earth. Learn how this "living atlas" and "geospatial nervous system" can help us better understand our changing planet -- and let nature guide our actions towards a more sustainable future.
Could you recover from illness ... using your own stem cells? | Nabiha Saklayen
What if diseases could be treated with a patient's own cells, precisely and on demand? Biotech entrepreneur Nabiha Saklayen explains how we could harness advances in biology, machine learning and lasers to create personalized stem cell banks -- and develop medicine uniquely designed for each of our bodies.
What happens when biology becomes technology? | Christina Agapakis
"We've been promised a future of chrome -- but what if the future is fleshy?" asks biological designer Christina Agapakis. In this awe-inspiring talk, Agapakis details her work in synthetic biology -- a multidisciplinary area of research that pokes holes in the line between what's natural and artificial -- and shares how breaking down the boundaries between science, society, nature and technology can lead us to imagine different possible futures.
Inside the massive (and unregulated) world of surveillance tech | Sharon Weinberger
What is a weapon in the Information Age? From microscopic "smart dust" tracking devices to DNA-tracing tech and advanced facial recognition software, journalist Sharon Weinberger leads a hair-raising tour through the global, unregulated bazaar of privatized mass surveillance. To rein in this growing, multibillion-dollar marketplace that often caters to customers with nefarious intents, Weinberger believes the first step is for governments to classify surveillance tools as dangerous and powerful weapons.
Why we have an emotional connection to robots | Kate Darling
We're far from developing robots that feel emotions, but we already have feelings towards them, says robot ethicist Kate Darling, and an instinct like that can have consequences. Learn more about how we're biologically hardwired to project intent and life onto machines -- and how it might help us better understand ourselves.