DiscoverThe TED Interview
The TED Interview

The TED Interview

Author: TED

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Sit down with author and podcaster Steven Johnson to hear from leading thinkers and creators from around the world. The TED Interview is a space for guests to further delve into their groundbreaking work, give us a peek into how they discover and explore fascinating ideas, and, in some cases, even defend their thinking. This season, we’re looking at the future of intelligence. Ponder how we can train ourselves to see into the future with Jane McGonigal, find the humanities in science with Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, and listen in on the thought processes of Pulitzer prize-winning novelist Jennifer Egan. Welcome to your front-row seat to great conversations with the world’s brightest minds.
96 Episodes
A professor at Harvard Business School and expert in work culture, Frei goes into companies like WeWork and Uber with the goal of turning toxic environments into healthy, inclusive spaces. She shares why authenticity, logic, and empathy are the most vital skills an employee can have — and how the measure of a true leader can be seen not just in their presence, but in their absence, too. Find Frances's new show Fixable, wherever you get your podcasts!
Introducing Good Sport

Introducing Good Sport


This week on The TED Interview we’re excited to introduce TED’s newest podcast, Good Sport, hosted by veteran sports producer Jody Avirgan. What can sports teach us about life – and each other? Good Sport brings you invigorating stories from on and off the field to argue that sports are as powerful and compelling a lens as any to understand the world – from what happens when you age out of a sport, to how we do or don't nurture talent, to analyzing how sports arguments have become the mode for all arguments. Good Sport launched on February 8th and you can find it anywhere you’re listening to this. TED Audio Collective+ subscribers on Apple Podcasts can hear the whole season early and ad-free.
Curious about 2023? Youngme, Mihir and Felix from the podcast After Hours are back with their celebrated predictions episode. Who will acquire Spotify? Will Twitter implode? What’s the trend in inflation and energy prices? Who will top the music charts? Space travel for all? Listen in as the hosts outguess each other what the new year will bring. After Hours is another podcast in the TED Audio Collective. If you'd like to hear more, follow the show now wherever you're listening to this.
David Byrne views life through many lenses. He’s a musician, author, filmmaker, curator, conservationist, digital music theorist, bicycle advocate, visual artist... the list goes on. But through his many trajectories – from co-founding the acclaimed band Talking Heads to his later solo career, moving into theater and beyond, David is always trying to capture the indescribable. In this episode, he shares how he meshes art, technology, and point of view to tell one-of-a-kind stories, move audiences, and invoke all of us to create masterpieces of our own. David’s latest experiential theater project “Theater of the Mind” is running now through December 18 at York Street Yards in Denver, Colorado.
When she was just 18, scientist, industrial designer, animal behaviorist, and autism activist Temple Grandin created one of her most well-known inventions: the hug machine. Inspired by the squeeze chute–a device that holds and soothes cattle before they’re handled–Temple designed a device for her and other hypersensitive people who want to experience being held without overstimulation. In this episode, Temple talks about her long, multifaceted career, and how her neurodivergent mind and its gift for identifying patterns and thinking visually has helped her pioneer groundbreaking research. She also explains how all kinds of brains can contribute to creating knowledge, and shares how neurodiversity is a strength across many disciplines. Temple’s latest book, “Visual Thinking: The Hidden Gifts of People Who Think in Pictures, Patterns, and Abstractions,” is out now.
Nearly every day for a year, American poet Ross Gay sat down and wrote about something that delighted him–from carrying a small tomato plant through an airport to playing a pickup basketball game.The result was his first nonfiction book, “The Book of Delights”, a collection of essays beloved by both critics and fans. These days, Ross is in pursuit of understanding another transcendent human emotion: joy. The author shares what his practice of seeking delight has taught him about life, writing and language, and why he thinks poetry is the best coach for philosophy, mindfulness and gratitude.
How many soulmates do you think people have? What if you tried to funnel all the water from Niagara falls through a straw? Do you think it’s possible? if you sold the whole planet for scrap–what parts would be most valuable? You might think these absurd questions are unanswerable, or even pointless, but these are the kind of questions Randall Munroe can’t stop thinking about. Randall is the bestselling author of the books “What If” and “What If 2” which provide serious, scientific answers to absurd questions. He’s also the Hugo-award winning cartoonist behind the popular xkcd webcomics. In this episode, Randall talks through the most intriguing scenarios from his new volume, and shares why absurdist thought experiments actually help us understand the world–and each other–a bit better.
In 2011, when medical doctor and epidemiologist Mark Smolinski was working as a science advisor for the blockbuster film “Contagion,” the film ran a campaign that asked communities: “What are you gonna do to prepare for the next pandemic?” A decade later, as the president of Ending Pandemics–a social venture that aims to predict, detect, and prevent disease outbreaks on our planet– Mark is still thinking about how we can rid the world of pandemic disease. In this episode, Mark shares why we use big data to track disease, explains how our interconnected ecosystems shape public health, talks about why ending pandemics is an achievable goal, and argues that local communities are the ones who can lead the way in understanding–and preventing–the spread of illness.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, life expectancy in the United States was 79. Today it’s 76. When compared to other countries like the UK and Japan, where life expectancy is above 80, it’s clear that the U.S. has a lot of work to do. Today on The TED Interview, surgeon, writer, and the Assistant Administrator for Global Health as USAID. Atul Gawande talks about the obstacles the U.S. is facing and how investment in key areas like healthcare innovation, geriatric medicine, and accessible health education, could help Americans live longer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.
When Linda Villarosa was the health editor of Essence Magazine, she says she had a one-track mind. A former college athlete, Linda grew up, like many of us, thinking about health on an individual level. But after reporting on environmental justice, the AIDS crisis, and black mother and infant mortality rates, Linda has uncovered just how much culture and public health infrastructure impact life expectancy – specifically for black Americans. Her 2018 cover story on “Why America's Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis" was a finalist for a National Magazine Award. In today’s episode, she highlights how structural racism impacts community health and talks about why she’s still optimistic about combating health disparities in the country and across the globe.
Eric Topol is a leading health expert whose writing and explainers about Covid-19 have helped people better understand the complexities of the global pandemic. As a doctor, author, and one of the most cited researchers in medicine, Eric has dedicated his time to thinking about the human genome and how digital tools like artificial intelligence can help us individualize and improve medicine. In this episode, he shares his thoughts why he believes healthcare and the doctor-patient relationship feel broken, and how AI can revolutionize–and save–the future of medicine.
Like any animal, humans understand the world through our senses. But unlike other creatures, we can't detect magnetic fields with our bodies, or the flow of water from a fish swimming hundreds of feet in the distance. But Ed Yong wants us to really imagine what it would be like to perceive the world in these ways. In this episode, the Pulitzer winning science writer shares the unique ways that other living species get information about the world–from the melodic data-loaded songs of treehoppers and cicadas, to the olfactory brilliance of an average dog. Listen in for a glimpse at the beautiful animal narratives that lie beyond our restrained worldview that Ed writes about in his new book "An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal The Hidden Realms Around Us", which is out now.
Mark Cuban has gone from selling garbage bags door-to-door to selling internet companies for billions, acquiring an NBA team, and becoming a beloved “Shark” on Shark Tank. Mark reveals to Adam how he turns problems into opportunities in entrepreneurship, basketball, and investing. They discuss his latest venture–disrupting the healthcare industry with an online pharmacy and a price-slashing philosophy that makes hundreds of drugs affordable–and why following your passion is not the best way to maintain your motivation. This is an episode of ReThinking with Adam Grant, another podcast in the TED Audio Collective. For episodes on the psychology of the world's most interesting minds, follow ReThinking wherever you're listening to this. For the full text transcript, visit
Pete Souza has taken some iconic photographs. A former Chief Official White House Photographer for both U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan AND Barack Obama, Pete’s career has taken him from teaching basic photography in Kansas to taking pictures for National Geographic, Life Magazine, and other dream outlets. In this episode, he talks about carrying out a vision for a project, how he built his unique path in the field, and why he sticks to the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. This is an episode of Design Matters with Debbie Millman, another podcast from the TED Audio Collective. For more conversations on how incredibly creative people design their careers and lives, follow Design Matters wherever you’re listening to this.
"What if you could control digital devices using just the power of thought? That's the incredible promise behind the Stentrode -- an implantable brain-computer interface that collects and wirelessly transmits information directly from the brain, without the need for open surgery. Neurotech entrepreneur Tom Oxley describes the intricacies of this breakthrough technology, which is currently enrolling participants in human trials, as well as how it could help restore dignity to those with disabilities -- and transform the future of communication. This is an episode of TED Tech. Stay tuned after the talk to hear host Sherrell Dorsey talk about the promise and potential of technology when it comes to serving one of humanity's greatest needs: connection. For more ideas on the intersection of tech and humanity, follow TED Tech wherever you're listening to this. "
How often do you go back and forth over how much to tip at the end of a meal? Depending on the state, in the U.S. that choice could be the difference between a livable income or financial mayhem for the workers who served and prepared your meal. But why do consumers have such power–and why are labor wages so tied to tips? Saru Jayaraman is a lawyer, activist and President of One Fair Wage. She is organizing a national movement of restaurant workers, employers and consumers in one of the most important labor battles in the country–one that aims to end subminimum wage and tip-based labor. Listen as she talks about the stakes of minimum wage legislation, the surprising history of this unfair practice, and how the pandemic has changed the labor landscape–for better and worse.
Michael Scott, Leslie Knope, Detective Jake Peralta–television producer and writer Michael Schur has created some of TV’s most beloved sitcom characters on shows like The Office, Parks and Recreation, and The Good Place. Still, his shows and his philosophy are not just about laughs. Today on The TED Interview, Michael Schur talks about the craft of writing the TV comedy, why he is obsessed with philosophy and ethics, and what he’s learned from both the fictional and the real workplace about how humans behave, grow, and love. Michael’s New York Times-bestselling book “How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question” is out now.
With such rampant inequality across the globe, it’s difficult to imagine that in the near future, society could be a place of abundance where everyone has education, healthcare, or housing. But for journalist Aaron Bastani, this improved state of affairs is not off limits; in fact, he believes that, with technology, a better world could be closer than we think. In this episode, Aaron speaks to how and why we should leverage the technological revolution to confront the global challenges of the 21st century. You can read more of his ideas in his much-discussed book Fully Automated Luxury Communism.
Before labor unions fought for them, society didn’t have weekends as we know them. In the 13th century, the average male peasants in the UK only worked 135 days a year. In a post-pandemic and increasingly virtual world, what is the future of labor? Juliet Schor is an economist and sociologist whose research focuses on work and consumer society. In this episode, she shares her thoughts on modern working practices and how her current research on the four-day work week could help address society’s major problems–from burnout at work, to the effects of work on the climate crisis. Juliet also highlights the fascinating ways we have and might continue to reconfigure business in the 21st century, especially as it pertains to the dynamic–and at times predatory–sharing economy.
Demis Hassabis is one of tech's most brilliant minds. A chess-playing child prodigy turned researcher and founder of headline-making AI company DeepMind, Demis is thinking through some of the most revolutionary—and in some cases controversial—uses of artificial intelligence. From ​​the development of computer program AlphaGo, which beat out world champions in the board game Go, to making leaps in the research of how proteins fold, Demis is at the helm of the next generation of groundbreaking technology. In this episode, he gives a peek into some of the questions that his top-level projects are asking, talks about how gaming, creativity, and intelligence inform his approach to tech, and muses on where AI is headed next.
Comments (107)

Clarke Eleanor


Oct 23rd

Amaya Bryant

but the summertime that's all this evidence summer last week next week this summer break out of here this summer yet but I celebrate my life thank God Jesus summer my birthday Christmas that's good for New Year I I go to club and I can go to my concert it's what what what whatever you look whatever what whatever your place to live in the concert I don't get baby girl I go to concert music video studio 2 fashion Angus skin care of my hair care Anderson and it is booty and I'll be there to get some clothes like in Spanish stop stop lie to me stop lie stop stop lying I like to stop lying to me it's not a fire to me stop like my face stop lie my face and beanie baby purple to me I'm crying I'm hurt your your you hurt my feelings send it to me a telephone to you you said it to me to that tries your your your your today to me your send it to me you'll send it to me your you said to me and my life very cool and I'll be the famous disease and I've been and it's online girl I'm not being a stit

Sep 19th

Amaya Bryant

I've been such a good but he's definitely he is there in his breathing event because it's a person but it's another really understood this enough refrigeration me because you'll be fun that I'm back together with the Bruno Mars and in Phillies but that's cut cut courtroom it's a really apparently either decide then that's wrong you're talking smack s? and I'll be there Charlie on my back this is my husband and I'm baby beginning get your brother Alice book of this book is a slap book this I feel and I'll be there I'm not a whiskey and not but nothing too long you slap you're cute and that's what somebody kill you and you you flirt you flap and then you're feeling up this hurts it's a fitness that the flat your curves and then send your current flip because your flip and it flip and if you split it's a flip you this is election would you give them to you when I added that but you get the answer get a good night and Bruno Mars before 4:00 at 5:00 this morning at home always good time yea

Sep 19th

Michael Davis


Sep 12th

Pooya Estakhri

feels familiar

Aug 21st

Jeff Jones THE FIRST


Aug 4th

Lisa Hathaway

ol..l.l om

Aug 2nd

M Minh

Very interesting topic and useful practice to achieve what we want in the future through imagination

Jul 1st

vigilant skipper

I'm really sorry for this comment, but her voice of laughter should be better be removed from the track. sorry again.

Sep 6th

Marzie Tarizade


Jul 19th


Dismally short-sighted with respect to his negative views of #UBI and human motivation. 👎 Good pushback from Chris. Please interview Scott Santens.

Jun 10th


Yes, Science and scientists must be paid better. The current compensation for those choosing scientific careers is actually insanely poor.

Jun 10th



Apr 1st

HiKi GaYa


Mar 21st
Reply (3)

mayur sundararajan

Inspirational answer in the end. The world has lost a lot due to that HANGING CHAD!! Imagine Al Gore as president followed by Obama, world would have been a much better place.

Sep 15th

kate maryam

listening to this wonderful conversation ironically in the times of Corona. And that 'potential' global pandemic you discussed actually became a reality! Inshaallah this will actually wake up the world to the opportunity of the changes we can embrace to slowly start to function better as a united people 🙏

Jun 1st

Teresa Wilkinson

Bill Clinton was 25 years older than Monica Lewinsky when he met her, he was a husband, and a father (to a girl), the responsibility was on Clinton's shoulders to not engage in an affair with an impressionable very, very young woman, the fact that Monica Lewinsky was vilified for something that far too many other people have also engaged in, though ill advised, was appalling, and it was this young woman who paid the worst price while Clinton sailed away scot-free with his marriage intact and a fortune in his pockets and stunningly still one of the most popular presidents ever, so the victim was blamed not the perpetrator

Apr 28th

Madhukar Dhiman

absolutely wonderful. Being an educator myself I needed some guidance. This is exactly what this episode has accomplished.

Apr 11th

Donna Armand

Bill talks about opportunities to volunteer. But how do you find those?? I would love to help with home schooling. I have no idea how to do that. Second, I listen to cnn, etc podcasts all day long. Plus finance podcasts. I have personally heard nothing about what is being done to help people - particularly mid-income— who were unemployed immediately prior to the coronavirus epidemic but are clearly unable to now even interview for a job. I really feel that, as usual, people in my income bracket - I made about $190k last year but live paycheck to paycheck in large part because of a huge parent loan for my son at Johns Hopkins- are being ignored. Bc that’s not sexy news. It’s so discouraging.

Mar 30th

Imke Muegge

If evolution created an interface through which we perceive reality, may the perception of reality that indigenous tribes perceive be different? And what can we learn from a perception that is maybe closer to reality or from an interface that is a better version?

Feb 17th
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