TED Talks of 2016

A delightful way to teach kids about computers

Computer code is the next universal language, and its syntax will be limited only by the imaginations of the next generation of programmers. Linda Liukas is helping to educate problem-solving kids, encouraging them to see computers not as mechanical, boring and complicated but as colorful, expressive machines meant to be tinkered with. In this talk, she invites us to imagine a world where the Ada Lovelaces of tomorrow grow up to be optimistic and brave about technology and use it to create a new world that is wonderful, whimsical and a tiny bit weird.


How better tech could protect us from distraction

How often does technology interrupt us from what we really mean to be doing? At work and at play, we spend a startling amount of time distracted by pings and pop-ups -- instead of helping us spend our time well, it often feels like our tech is stealing it away from us. Design thinker Tristan Harris offers thoughtful new ideas for technology that creates more meaningful interaction. He asks: "What does the future of technology look like when you're designing for the deepest human values?"


Why we must protect the digital rights of children

On any given day, the rights of millions of children are routinely ignored as they are surveilled, exploited and manipulated by private entities via their digital interactions. Filmmaker and activist Baroness Beeban Kidron makes the case that the rights enshrined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child should extend to the digital realm. To this end, she lays out the framework of 5rights, the initiative she founded to deliver children's rights online.


Your smartphone is a civil rights issue

Apple has built security features into its mobile products which protect data on its devices from everyone but the owner. That means that criminals, hackers and yes, even governments are all locked out. For Apple's customers, this is a great thing. But governments are not so happy. You see, Apple has made a conscious decision to get out of the surveillance business. Apple has tried to make surveillance as difficult as possible for governments and any other actors.

We must remember that surveillance is a tool. It's a tool used by those in power against those who have no power. And while I think it's absolutely great that companies like Apple are making it easy for people to encrypt, if the only people who can protect themselves from the gaze of the government are the rich and powerful, that's a problem. And it's not just a privacy or a cybersecurity problem. It's a civil rights problem.