On day two of TED2017, three sessions of talks — one on Our robotic overlords, the next on The human response and the final on Health, life and love. Below, some key moments from it all.
A TED Talk from … the Pope. For weeks, we’ve teased a “surprise guest” on the program, a mysterious “world figure” with a unique message. Tonight, we revealed who it was: His Holiness Pope Francis. Watch this talk, delivered from Vatican City, with a hopeful message for each and everyone of us. It’s now live on TED.com.
How robots move, with inspiration from nature. It was 8:30am this morning when SpotMini, a robotic dog, pranced onto the red circle. He laid down, ran an obstacle course and even grabbed speaker Marc Raibert a soda. Boston Dynamics designs bots with animal-like balance and movement. Meanwhile, Radhika Nagpal studies the collective intelligence of schools of fish and colonies of ants — and shared her work designing robots that work together to build flood barriers or pollinate crops.
How robots are learning to think, with inspiration from us. Noriko Arai showed us how an AI performed in the top 20% of students on the entrance exam for the University of Tokyo — without actually understanding a thing. Joseph Redmon shared his algorithm YOLO (You Only Look Once), which trains computers to identify objects well — be they cancer cells in biopsies or stuffed animals held by members of the TED audience. Finally, Stuart Russell spoke on how he’s creating “Human-Compatible AI” that learns values — by reading everything the human race has ever written and then observing us.
The allegory of good and bad government. Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the ACLU who became a folk hero after challenging President Donald Trump’s immigration order in January, took us on a fascinating tour of a room-sized fresco painted by 14th-century Italian master Ambrogio Lorenzetti. What’s so striking about it? The parallels to today.
Injustice in healthcare. Yesterday, TED Fellow Christopher Ategeka compared the ratio of doctors to patients in the US (1:390) and Malawi (1:50,000). Today, speakers continued to highlight vast inequalities in access to care. The founders of GirlTrek looked at a health tragedy in the US: that the equivalent of an airliner full of black women die every day from preventable diseases — something they’re combatting with a call to walk in the footsteps of Harriet Tubman. And Raj Panjabi shared that, after the devastating civil war in Liberia, only 51 doctors remained to treat a population of four million. He revealed his TED Prize wish to support community health workers to fill the gap — in Liberia, and around the world.
It’s time to consider universal basic income. With machines learning to learn, Martin Ford sees us headed toward a crisis: when blue-collar and white-collar jobs evaporate, there won’t be enough consumers to support a market economy. His solution: decoupling income from work with a basic income. Rutger Bregman suggested the same solution for another reasons — ending poverty for once and for all.
Ideas in all languages. For the first time, TED featured an entire session of Spanish-language talks: TED en Español. More than 600,000 people watched online, as Mexican journalist Jorge Ramos spoke on his experience as an immigrant journalist in the US through the 2016 presidential election and Chilean primatologist Isabel Behncke Izquierdo brought the audience to their feet to dance, in festive masks found under their seats.
Even if you missed today, you can be part of the TED2017 excitement. Watch a Highlights Exclusive in movie theaters on Sunday, April 30 — it’s a ‘best of’ compilation of talks from the conference, edited on the spot this week, with behind-the-scenes footage. Find tickets at a cinema near you.