10 Top Tech Trailblazer TED Talks

top technological trailblazers best TED talk videos tech disruptors

Whether it’s the world of science and tech that interests us, the entertainment industry, or the wild ride that is the world of politics, we’re all in search of challenging new ideas presented in motivational talks. Luckily, thanks to resources such as TED talks, we have unlimited inspiration and insight at our fingertips. 

But what has really ignited our curiosity in the past year? Some themes have captured our imagination and sent us on a ravenous search for more information. Climate change is one such area, with a massive increase of climate related Google searches (the term “BBC climate change – the facts” for example, increased significantly in the UK). Searches around the topics of artificial intelligence and virtual reality have also rocketed in volume. Judging by these regular inquiries, it seems that people are more engaged and intrigued in the science and tech industry than ever. 

The likes of TED talks make this sector more accessible than it has ever been before. Some challenging subjects have been opened up to the masses. People are clearly eager to learn about diverse subjects, and the viewing rates top tech related TED talks prove an unrivaled enthusiasm. Let’s take a look at our very favorite TED motivational speakers in the tech industry (all TED Talk video view statistics mentioned continue to grow monthly)

1. Shohini Ghose 
A Beginner's Guide To Quantum Computing 
3,612,968 views 

Previously, many would have been intimidated by this title. This talk however, has made the riveting subject of quantum computing appealing and accessible. In this video, quantum physicist, Shohini Ghose tells us how new scientific techniques are leading us towards technology that “holds the potential to transform medicine, create unbreakable encryption and even teleport information.” No wonder viewers are tuning into this talk — quantum computing holds the key to some unimaginable developments! 

2. Margaret Heffernan 
The Human Skills We Need In An Unpredictable World 
2,236,574 views 

Interestingly, this highly viewed talk is less ‘tech-positive’ than the rest. Focussing her attentions on the importance of human skills, Heffernan warns us against a complete tech reliance. In relation to the necessity to retain essential human values like bravery, she says “We are brave enough to invent things we've never seen before…We can make any future we choose.” 

3. Juliet Brophy 
How A New Species Of Ancestors Is Changing Our Theory Of Human Evolution 
2,105,997 views 

Simply by the title, you know that this talk is going to be a game changer. Paleoanthropologist Juliet Brophy takes us right back to the beginning, questioning our ancestry and what it means to be human. This talk centres around the discovery of unusual fossils in South Africa in 2013. The fossils revealed a new species of ancient humans — a revelation that has put humanity as we know it into question. Judging by the popularity of this talk, it looks like science enthusiasts are as interested in looking into the past as they are the in envisioning future. 

4. Karissa Sanbonmatsu 
The Biology Of Gender, From DNA To The Brain 
2,085,575 views 

Get ready to reject gender binaries as you know them once and for all. In this mind-blowing talk, structural biologist Karissa Sanbonmatsu unhinges the concept that gender is all about chromosomes. Studies on DNA activity have shown that genes can be altered and expressed in different ways because of social factors. This talk discusses these new concepts and uproots our very understanding of gender. 

5. Rob Reid 
How Synthetic Biology Could Wipe Out Humanity — And How We Can Stop It 
1,727,822 views 

Any title that includes the words “wipe out humanity” is naturally going to grasp our attention, and this talk from Rob Reid holds us fixated throughout. The concept of doomsday bugs has so far stayed safely within the realms of dystopian fiction, but in this talk, Reid warns us that it is a very real threat. A terrifying thought, yet one we’re all keen to tune in to. 

6. Keith Kirkland 
Wearable Tech That Helps You Navigate By Touch 
1,513,859 views 

Haptic Designer, Keith Kirkland, is bringing the idea of wearable tech to life — and we’re not just talking about smart watches. In this talk, he discusses the development of “haptic language”, which he has created as part of his work to develop smart clothing that could double up as a navigational device for the blind and visually impaired. 

7. Erika Hamden 
What It Takes To Launch A Telescope 
1,475,846 views 

Do you know what it takes to launch a telescope? No? Me neither. At least not until Astrophysicist Erika Hamdem talked us all through the decade-long journey. Her team are developing the FIREBall telescope, whose mission is to figure out how stars are created. TED talk viewers have been eagerly tuning in all year to learn about her mission. 

8. Andrew Marantz 
Inside The Bizarre World Of Internet Trolls And Propagandists 1,434,980 views 

This story of how writer, Andrew Marantz, immersed himself in the world of internet trolls and propagandists gives us an unnerving insight into the most toxic areas of the internet. In the midst of a turbulent political landscape, this issue couldn’t be more topical, and thousands of viewers agree. 

9. Majd Mashharawi 
How I'm Making Bricks Out Of Ashes And Rubble In Gaza 
1,414,308 views 

This innovative talk revolves around creating something important even in the most despairing of circumstances. Engineer and Entrepreneur, Majd Mashharawi, came up with the idea of turning rubble into new building materials and designed bricks made from ashes to help rebuild destroyed areas of war-torn Gaza. This project has captivated the imagination of thousands of viewers. 

10. Tiana Epps-Johnson 
What's Needed To Bring The US Voting System Into The 21st Century 
1,397,608 views 

Although this final talk leans more towards politics, Tiana Epps-Johnson (Civic Engagement Champion) discusses how we can use tech to bring the US electoral system into the 21 st century. With so many viewers from around the world, and the transcript available in 14 languages, it is clear that you don’t have to be from the US to feel invested in this topic. 

Blaze A Trail In Tech In 2020 With TED Talks

Thanks to the accessible style of these tech disruption videos of the year, and the iconic event signage that makes TED talks recognizable to just about anyone, viewers have been able to engage with some diverse and unusual subjects. Interestingly, many of the most watched talks contain a prominent human element. 

This shows that we don’t only want to keep up with the latest developments in technological solutions, but we also want to understand our role within this rapidly advancing world.

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