There is perhaps no greater force for change than a powerful idea. Thousands of such ideas have come to life through TED, commanding the attention – and inspiring action – of millions around the world who share a desire to create a better future. TED’s 30th anniversary event, which kicked off yesterday in Vancouver, Canada, is dedicated to taking inventory of the past three decades, and understanding, projecting and planning for what lies ahead. It’s only fitting that several of Stern Speakers’ most visionary thinkers and doers headline the all-star roster.
Each of the following six thought leaders has graced TED’s stage before; this year they return, joining some of the world’s most intriguing minds and other powerhouse speakers to help spread bold new ideas that inspire change for good.
- Renowned environmentalist and futurist, Stewart Brand has long been a force in the world for giving access to the information needed to make the planet a better place. For the last 10 years at TED (he’s spoken every year since 2004), he has given life to his mission to “undo harm that humans have caused in the past” while helping creatively foster long-term thinking and responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years.
- Once known for entertaining millions by creating special effects for Hollywood, theme parks and Broadway, Applied Minds co-founder Bran Ferren now solves impossible tech challenges with previously unimaginable inventions. A dynamic speaker, he explores whether we are building things now that will stand the test of time, offering concrete ways to redesign innovation processes, attract and motivate talent, ideas gleaned from the history of invention, and his vision for design and technology’s future.
- A pioneer in ocean exploration, David Gallo has witnessed, or taken part in, the birth and evolution of numerous new technologies and scientific discoveries that continue to shape our view of life on earth – experiences that translate to inspiring presentations about the importance of curiosity, passion and pushing the boundaries of discovery. Gallo has given more than 15 TED and TEDx Talks, including one that ranks among the platform’s top five most watched with nearly 11 million views.
- Larry Lessig is a leading figure in the fight to restore integrity to America’s institutions. The lawyer, academic and activist is catalyzing change in the country’s corrupt political system, which he argues is the root problem that makes solving others so difficult. Lessig’s 2013 TED Talk was an instant viral hit, a testament to his inspiring speaking talent, but also to the urgency of his message.
- At the first-ever TED conference in 1984, technology visionary Nicholas Negroponte presented five predictions – all of which came true. Thirty years later, the founder of MIT Media Lab and driving force behind One Laptop per Child opened TED 2014, framing his ambitious plan to help connect the last billion people to the internet.
- Today’s leading voice on the social and economic impact of new digital technology, Clay Shirky’s insightful and provocative theories contemplate how social media can make history while helping put untapped resources of talent and goodwill to use at last. His TED Talk against internet blacklist legislationSOPA/PIPA saw 1 million views in 48 hours.