The nightmare videos of childrens’ YouTube — and what’s wrong with the internet today | James Bridle

Writer and artist James Bridle uncovers a dark, strange corner of the internet, where unknown people or groups on YouTube hack the brains of young children in return for advertising revenue. From “surprise egg” reveals and the “Finger Family Song” to algorithmically created mashups of familiar cartoon characters in violent situations, these videos exploit and terrify young minds — and they tell us something about where our increasingly data-driven world is headed. “We need to stop thinking about technology as a solution to all of our problems, but think of it as a guide to what those problems actually are, so we can start thinking about them properly and start to address them,” Bridle says.

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How Netflix changed entertainment — and where it’s headed | Reed Hastings

Netflix changed the world of entertainment — first with DVD-by-mail, then with streaming media and then again with sensational original shows like “Orange Is the New Black” and “Stranger Things” — but not without taking its fair share of risks. In conversation with TED curator Chris Anderson, Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings discusses the company’s bold internal culture, the powerful algorithm that fuels their recommendations, the $8 billion worth of content they’re investing in this year and his philanthropic pursuits supporting innovative education, among much more.

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Technology that knows what you’re feeling | Poppy Crum

What happens when technology knows more about us than we do? Poppy Crum studies how we express emotions — and she suggests the end of the poker face is near, as new tech makes it easy to see the signals that give away how we’re feeling. In a talk and demo, she shows how “empathetic technology” can read physical signals like body temperature and the chemical composition of our breath to inform on our emotional state. For better or for worse. “If we recognize the power of becoming technological empaths, we get this opportunity where technology can help us bridge the emotional and cognitive divide,” Crum says.

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The incredible potential of flexible, soft robots | Giada Gerboni

Robots are designed for speed and precision — but their rigidity has often limited how they’re used. In this illuminating talk, biomedical engineer Giada Gerboni shares the latest developments in “soft robotics,” an emerging field that aims to create nimble machines that imitate nature, like a robotic octopus. Learn more about how these flexible structures could play a critical role in surgery, medicine and our daily lives.

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How to get empowered, not overpowered, by AI | Max Tegmark

Many artificial intelligence researchers expect AI to outsmart humans at all tasks and jobs within decades, enabling a future where we’re restricted only by the laws of physics, not the limits of our intelligence. MIT physicist and AI researcher Max Tegmark separates the real opportunities and threats from the myths, describing the concrete steps we should take today to ensure that AI ends up being the best — rather than worst — thing to ever happen to humanity.

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What we’ll learn about the brain in the next century | Sam Rodriques

In this imaginative talk, neuroengineer Sam Rodriques takes us on a thrilling tour of the next 100 years in neuroscience. He envisions strange (and sometimes frightening) innovations that may be the key to understanding and treating brain disease — like lasers that drill tiny holes in our skulls and allow probes to study the electrical activity of our neurons.

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Inside the fight against Russia’s fake news empire | Olga Yurkova

When facts are false, decisions are wrong, says editor and TED Fellow Olga Yurkova. To stop the spread of fake news, she and a group of journalists launched StopFake.org, which exposes biased or inaccurate reporting in order to rebuild the trust we’ve lost in our journalists, leaders and institutions. Learn more about the fight against misinformation as well as two critical ways we can ensure we’re not reading (or sharing) fake news.

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How technology can fight extremism and online harassment | Yasmin Green

Can technology make people safer from threats like violent extremism, censorship and persecution? In this illuminating talk, technologist Yasmin Green details programs pioneered at Jigsaw (a unit within Alphabet Inc., the collection of companies that also includes Google) to counter radicalization and online harassment — including a project that could give commenters real-time feedback about how their words might land, which has already increased spaces for dialogue. “If we ever thought that we could build an internet insulated from the dark side of humanity, we were wrong,” Green says. “We have to throw our entire selves into building solutions that are as human as the problems they aim to solve.”

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How we can turn the cold of outer space into a renewable resource | Aaswath Raman

What if we could use the cold darkness of outer space to cool buildings on earth? In this mind-blowing talk, physicist Aaswath Raman details the technology he’s developing to harness “night-sky cooling” — a natural phenomenon where infrared light escapes earth and heads to space, carrying heat along with it — which could dramatically reduce the energy used by our cooling systems (and the pollution they cause). Learn more about how this approach could lead us towards a future where we intelligently tap into the energy of the universe.

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How we’ll become cyborgs and extend human potential | Hugh Herr

Humans will soon have new bodies that forever blur the line between the natural and synthetic worlds, says bionics designer Hugh Herr. In an unforgettable talk, he details “NeuroEmbodied Design,” a methodology for creating cyborg function that he’s developing at MIT, and shows us a future where we’ve augmented our bodies in a way that will redefine human potential — and, maybe, turn us into superheroes. “During the twilight years of this century, I believe humans will be unrecognizable in morphology and dynamics from what we are today,” Herr says. “Humanity will take flight and soar.”

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