‘What if…’ is the beginning of some of the most interesting questions. TED Talks have become a powerful platform for individuals to share their unique insights and experiences. Each of the following talks serves as a window into a different “what if” scenario. These talks challenge conventional wisdom and encourage viewers to reconsider their preconceptions. They span a wide range of topics, from criminal justice reform to the mysteries of the multiverse.
What if the People on Opposite Sides of the Courtroom Actually Listened to Each Other?
Jarrell Daniels explains how he helped to break down barriers within the legal system by sharing his life story. In an innovative college course program, entitled “Inside Criminal Justice,” Jarrell and seven other incarcerated men opened up to a cohort of prosecuting attorneys, and the results speak volumes about the power of empathy and hope.
What if We Could Live Sustainably, Using Resources in an Infinite Loop?
William McDonough is not a doomsday prophet, but he doesn’t shy away from hard truths. Instead, he works with corporations and governments to find solutions to pollution that will allow humanity to flourish. How does he persuade and inspire them to make such radical changes?
What if We Could Understand the Mind of a Conspiracy Theorist?
Peter McIndoe set out to convince the world that birds were actually government spy drones. His story is a frighteningly successful case study in misinformation, but he also sheds light on what works (and what doesn’t work) in dismantling a conspiracy theory.
What if You Could See Every Tiny Detail of an Insect?
Levon Biss’s photography was famous worldwide, and he had photographed the biggest events around the globe, but this time, to find inspiration, he had to think very, very small.
What if We Could Make World Peace a Reality?
Jody Williams, Nobel laureate, would like to introduce you to some iconic women who are struggling to change the world, not with grand dreams but with committed action toward safety and dignity.
What if There Were Such a Thing as “Too Healthy”?
A.J. Jacobs is well-known for pursuing too much of a good thing, and the year he spent dedicating himself to healthy practices was no exception. He listened to all the health experts (so you don’t have to.)
What if a Sea Slug Could Revolutionize the Field of Mathematics?
Margaret Wertheim didn’t intend to explore a new field of mathematics; she just wanted to use crochet to replicate a coral reef. As she and her growing team of volunteers put their wool to work, they found themselves using a very old handicraft to model a very new field of mathematics (hyperbolic geometry), which is key to describing the shape of sea slugs, coral reefs, and even a frilly stalk of kale.
What if All Facts Were Fun Facts?
There’s overthinking, and then there’s Annie Rauwerda, who has turned her love of trivial knowledge into her life’s passion. Join this guided tour of the world’s biggest digital trivia repository, Wikipedia, and come out both weirder and wiser.
What if Everyone Agreed to Make Life a Lot Sillier?
Charlie Todd is the founder of Improv Everywhere, and he will do just about anything to coax a gasp and a smile out of a stranger in New York City. Check out some samples of his proudest work, including the very first annual No-Pants Subway Ride.
What if We Could Grasp the Secrets of the Multiverse?
Brian Greene is here to carve a few new grooves into your brain, as he explains the latest revelations in physics, from string theory to dark matter. The nature of the universe is a dizzying mystery, but we are coming closer and closer to actually understanding it.