How to be “Team Human” in the digital future | Douglas Rushkoff

Humans are no longer valued for our creativity, says media theorist Douglas Rushkoff — in a world dominated by digital technology, we’re now just valued for our data. In a passionate talk, Rushkoff urges us to stop using technology to optimize people for the market and start using it to build a future centered on our pre-digital values of connection, creativity and respect. “Join ‘Team Human.’ Find the others,” he says. “Together let’s make the future that we always wanted.”

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The work that makes all other work possible | Ai-jen Poo

Domestic workers are entrusted with the most precious aspects of people’s lives — they’re the nannies, the elder-care workers and the house cleaners who do the work that makes all other work possible. Too often, they’re invisible, taken for granted or dismissed as “help,” yet they continue to do their wholehearted best for the families and homes in their charge. In this sensational talk, activist Ai-Jen Poo shares her efforts to secure equal rights and fair wages for domestic workers and explains how we can all be inspired by them. “Think like a domestic worker who shows up and cares no matter what,” she says.

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How to motivate people to do good for others | Erez Yoeli

How can we get people to do more good: to go to the polls, give to charity, conserve resources or just generally act better towards others? MIT research scientist Erez Yoeli shares a simple checklist for harnessing the power of reputations — or our collective desire to be seen as generous and kind instead of selfish — to motivate people to act in the interest of others. Learn more about how small changes to your approach to getting people to do good could yield surprising results.

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The story of Marvel’s first queer Latina superhero | Gabby Rivera

With Marvel’s “America Chavez,” Gabby Rivera wrote a new kind of superhero — one who can punch portals into other dimensions while also embracing her gentle, goofy, soft side. In a funny, personal talk, Rivera shares how her own childhood as a queer Puerto Rican in the Bronx informed this new narrative — and shows images from the comic book that reveal what happens when a superhero embraces her humanity. As she says: “That myth of having to go it alone and be tough is not serving us.”

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Is civility a sham? | Teresa Bejan

What exactly is civility, and what does it require? In a talk packed with historical insights, political theorist Teresa Bejan explains how civility has been used as both the foundation of tolerant societies and as a way for political partisans to silence and dismiss opposing views. Bejan suggests that we should instead try for “mere civility”: the virtue of being able to disagree fundamentally with others without destroying the possibility of a common life tomorrow. (This talk contains mature language.)

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Why I have coffee with people who send me hate mail | Özlem Cekic

Özlem Cekic’s email inbox has been full of hate mail since 2007, when she won a seat in the Danish Parliament — becoming the first female Muslim to do so. At first she just deleted the emails, dismissing them as the work of fanatics, until one day a friend made an unexpected suggestion: to reach out to the hate mail writers and invite them to meet for coffee. Hundreds of “dialogue coffee” meetings later, Cekic shares how face-to-face conversation can be one of the most powerful forces to disarm hate — and challenges us all to engage with people we disagree with.

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What everyday citizens can do to claim power on the internet | Fadi Chehadé and Bryn Freedman

Technology architect Fadi Chehadé helped set up the infrastructure that makes the internet work — essential things like the domain name system and IP address standards. Today he’s focused on finding ways for society to benefit from technology. In a crisp conversation with Bryn Freedman, curator of the TED Institute, Chehadé discusses the ongoing war between the West and China over artificial intelligence, how tech companies can become stewards of the power they have to shape lives and economies and what everyday citizens can do to claim power on the internet.

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My quest to defy gravity and fly | Elizabeth Streb

Over the course of her fearless career, extreme action specialist Elizabeth Streb has pushed the limits of the human body. She’s jumped through broken glass, toppled from great heights and built gizmos to provide a boost along the way. Backed by footage of her work, Streb reflects on her lifelong quest to defy gravity and fly the only way a human can — by mastering the landing.

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How we can help young people build a better future | Henrietta Fore

A massive generation of young people is about to inherit the world, and it’s the duty of everyone to give them a fighting chance for their futures, says UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore. In this forward-looking talk, she explores the crises facing them and details an ambitious new global initiative, Generation Unlimited, which aims to ensure every young person is in school, training or employed by 2030.

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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.

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