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TED Talks Society and Culture
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TED Talks Society and Culture

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Thought-provoking videos about life and being human, with ideas from business leaders, psychologists and researchers speaking onstage at the TED conference, TEDx events and partner events around the world. You can also download these and many other videos free on TED.com, with an interactive English transcript and subtitles in up to 80 languages. TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.
165 Episodes
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Is crypto truly the next big thing, or is it just a money-sucking flash in the pan? In a wide-ranging interview, journalist Laura Shin explains what crypto is (and what it definitely isn't), taking us through the most recent turns in its constantly evolving story -- including the recent meltdown caused by the bankruptcy of FTX. (This conversation, hosted by TED tech curator Simone Ross, was part of an exclusive TED Membership event on November 30, 2022. Visit ted.com/membership to become a TED Member.)
After his HIV diagnosis, former pro rugby player Gareth Thomas set out on a mission to tackle the stigma and shame that prevent people from getting the testing and care they need. In this empowering talk, Thomas shares his mission to demystify and redefine what it means to live with HIV -- and shares how each of us can normalize conversations around all vilified conditions.
Comedian Pardis Parker presents an unfortunate truth: being rich won't make you a legend. In this rollicking comedy set, he roasts society's obsession with billionaires -- and offers an alternative way to leave a legacy.
Nearly fifteen percent of the world's population lives with a disability, yet this massive chunk of humanity is still routinely excluded from opportunities. Sharing her experience growing up with an autistic sister, disability inclusion advocate Meghan Hussey illuminates the path towards an inclusive future in four steps, and it starts with an attitude check on assumptions and stereotypes. Designing a world built for everyone is not a "nice to have," Hussey says -- it's critical to the fabric of society.
Feeling safe is a human right -- but in many African countries, colonial-era laws make it dangerous for LGBTQIA+ people to gather and share their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Creating a space that leaves no room for discrimination, pan-African LGBTQIA+ advocate Okong'o Kinyanjui cofounded an online platform that gives queer people access to opportunities, mentorship and support, providing the visibility and community every person needs to thrive.
Everyone has the right to a clean environment -- but major disparities exist when it comes to who faces the consequences of pollution. Environmental justice leader Peggy Shepard points to the disproportionate impact that hazardous environmental conditions have on Black, brown and Indigenous communities and challenges us to build a truly equitable future that turns "sacrifice zones" -- where community health is sacrificed for the sake of development -- into "green zones" that redress the legacy of pollution and harmful policies.
What if the commonly accepted narratives about the foundation of civilization are all wrong? Drawing on groundbreaking research, archaeologist David Wengrow challenges traditional thinking about the social evolution of humanity -- from the invention of agriculture to the formation of cities and class systems -- and explains how rethinking history can radically change our perspective on inequality and modern life.
Before entering the world of financial journalism, Gillian Tett was a cultural anthropologist who studied how the past influences our present thoughts and behaviors. In an entertaining talk, she shows how you can use an anthropological outlook to see the world with fresh eyes -- and welcome new and different cultural truths into your life.
As digital assets like cryptocurrency and NFTs become more mainstream, design thinker and head of Instagram Adam Mosseri believes that creators are uniquely positioned to benefit. These blockchain-enabled technologies could remove the need for a "middleman" in the form of large social media platforms, allowing creators to more freely distribute their work and connect with their audiences. He explains how this new age of the internet will give way to "the greatest transfer of power from institutions to individuals in all time."
How do we define worth in society, and who gets status? Sociologist Michele Lamont studies these questions and investigates ways to broaden the circle of recognition and fight the harm of social stigmatization. She lays out the steps needed to make more inclusive societies -- and it all starts by expanding our idea of who matters.
After leading a well-established life as a pastor, father and husband, Paula Stone Williams could no longer deny her truth and transitioned. In this conversational and at times humorous reflection, Williams offers her perspective on the everyday experiences lost, gained and once taken for granted in her journey of trans womanhood.
"Every great and difficult thing has required a strong sense of optimism," says editor and author Kevin Kelly, who believes that we have a moral obligation to be optimistic. Tracing humanity's progress throughout history, he's observed that a positive outlook helps us solve problems and empowers us to forge a path forward. In this illuminating talk, he shares three reasons for optimism during challenging times, explaining how it can help us become better ancestors and create the world we want to see for ourselves and future generations.
"It is time for a gender reckoning, beginning with men authentically confronting our internal selves and each other," says essayist and intersectional justice advocate Jimmie Briggs. In this call to action for gender equity, he unpacks how traditional notions of masculinity harm society and offers three ways men can help promote personal safety, dignity and empowerment for all.
If you're wondering why blackface -- mimicking people of African descent via stereotypes and makeup-darkened skin -- is a big deal, then perhaps a little history lesson can help demystify the outcry. Dwan Reece, curator at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, explains how this practice permeates the American psyche and culture (in theater, music, books and beyond) and why it's not simply harmless fun, but a legacy of oppression.
In an uproarious stand-up set, comedian Pardis Parker rails against a central tenet of modern culture: the "grind."
Without the internet, how would you have coped with the pandemic -- from work and school, to maintaining your closest relationships? In the digital age, reliance on the internet is so common and seems ubiquitous, yet billions of people worldwide still go without it. Digital transformation strategist Priscilla Chomba-Kinywa advocates for collective access to the opportunities and potential the internet provides, underscoring the necessity of free and fair digital rights for all.
Some days, it's hard to be optimistic. But cynicism -- the idea that people are inherently selfish, greedy and dishonest -- is making humanity lonelier and more divided, says psychologist Jamil Zaki. Presenting fascinating research on cooperation, empathy and trust, Zaki makes the scientific case for optimism and shows us how to break out of the cynicism trap.
For thousands of years, the Amazon rainforest has provided food, water and spiritual connection for its Indigenous inhabitants and the world. But the endless extraction of its natural resources by oil companies and others is destroying the lives of those who live there, says Waorani leader Nemonte Nenquimo, and threatening the overall stability of Earth's biosphere. In this powerful talk, she reminds us of the destruction that continues to happen to the world's largest tropical rainforest -- and demands respect for Mother Nature. "The forest is our teacher," she says. (Filmed in Ecuador by director Tom Laffay and associate producer Emily Wright, in collaboration with Amazon Frontlines. In Spanish with subtitles.)
Ghost stories reveal much more than the ghouls and spirits that haunt them. Settle in for a spooky delight as theater educator Coya Paz Brownrigg lays out three types of bone-chilling tales and exhumes the grave truths they hold about longing, meaning and the cultural value of eerie encounters.
Doubling human life expectancy in a century is our greatest achievement, says author Steven Johnson. How did we make it happen -- and can we keep it going? Backed by fascinating historical anecdotes, he shares some life-lengthening innovations and reminds us of three key things needed to make sure all of humanity enjoys these advancements in health.
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Comments (11)

Thomas George

Helpful

May 19th
Reply

Ahmed LIMEM

So funny, we live in a strange world that can no longer be caricatured!

Jan 22nd
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KateSos75

love this! it's similar to mindset: growth v fixed

Aug 7th
Reply (1)

Jason Huntley

The f was for female which the medical professional put there because of her vagina.

Nov 14th
Reply

Jason Huntley

A talk that could have been good motivational speech, had it not been full of false beliefs. Reality IS objective... That's absolutely true.

Nov 14th
Reply

Jason Huntley

He should have stayed in seminary, maybe he would have learned what Christians actually believe and suitor stop misrepresenting them. Secular Humanist aren't the majority of first responders to disasters, the Christians are. Humanists aren't the biggest donators to charities, the Christians are. Christians don't dream and hope for something to change, they are active and move.

Nov 8th
Reply (2)

Jo Sutton

Wonderful, inspiring, powerful. Thank you for your words of wisdom. I plan to do a "search and replace" every day and teach my children to do the ssme

Sep 12th
Reply

An Rendell

Amazing.

Feb 20th
Reply
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