10 Essential TED Talks on Artificial Intelligence

10 Essential TED Talks covering the field of Artificial Intelligence
John Loeffler
Source: 1, 2

In the past few years, there’s been a lot of discussion around Artificial Intelligence and it’s implications for everything from industrial applications to smart phone apps—and if you have a smart phone, chances are you’ve come across TED Talks.


If you haven’t listened to a TED Talk, you should. Presented by people who are deeply connected to the field they are speaking about, it gives you the opportunity to listen to people with an insider’s expertise that most of us would never hear from, but who can provide valuable perspectives.

So whether or not you’ve ever seen a TED Talk, if you’ve been looking to know more about the current state and future direction of Artificial Intelligence in our world, these 10 TED Talks are essential presentations to help you become fully informed about the state of this revolutionary technology.

What AI Is—and Isn’t


Presented by Educator and Entrepreneur Sebastian Thrun & TED Conference Curator Chris Anderson, this Ted Talk is an excellent overview of what people talk about when they talk about artificial intelligence, what people are concerned about, and why.

Some of the highlights include why artificial intelligence is having its breakout moment now, how neural networks—the powerful algorithms that allow software to learn new things, an essential development on the road to a generally intelligent AI—, and why we should not fear a runaway AI in the future.

How Our Brains Will Keep Up With AI

Presented by Bruno Michel, a Computer Research Engineer and member of the US National Academy of Engineering, this TED Talk addresses the elephant in the room for many people in the room when it comes to artificial intelligence: won’t it turn against us?

Michel explains the basis for fears expressed by people like Elon Musk that AIs will come to dominate humans in the future before giving his view that engaging in mental fitness exercises, much like we jog for physical exercise, we can build up our collective brain power to remain competitive with an advanced AI.

How We Can Build AI To Help Humans, Not Hurt Us

Presented by Margaret Mitchell, an AI research scientist at Google, relates to us her experience working with computer intelligence and give a warning about the unconscious biases we build into our technology.

Her advice to all of us is in order to develop a beneficial artificial intelligence, we have to start coming together as a society and begin to decide on the path and direction we wish artificial intelligence to take in the future.

Can We Protect AI From Our Biases?

Presented by Robin Hauser, documentary filmmaker of the award-winning film CODE:Debugging the Gender Gap and is currently producing a film on the subject of unconscious biases and its impact on society.

Like Mitchell, Hauser details her experience working with unconscious biases and how standards need to be developed to govern the development of artificial intelligence sooner rather than later in order to keep implicit biases out of deep learning algorithms.

Machine Intelligence Makes Human Morals More Important

Presented by Zeynep Tufekci, a Techno-sociologist working on how our societies intersect with digital connectivity, this TED Talk is a reminder that human morality and our embrace of it is a key safeguard against a possible runaway artificial intelligence.

By exploring how we are already using AIs to make decisions once the sole responsibility of humans, Tufekci explains how we cannot abdicate our moral responsibilities for the unpredictable behavior of the machines we create.

3 Principles For Creating Safer AI

Presented by Stuart Russell, a leading figure in the world of AI development, this Talk discusses the threat of the “value alignment problem”, where what we say we want is actually different from what we actually desire as it relates to artificial intelligence.

His solution to this problem is a prescription of 3 general rules that should govern the future development of AI to ensure that it is a benefit to humanity and not a detriment or threat.

How To Get Empowered, Not Overpowered, By AI

Presented by Max Tegmark, a physicist and AI researcher at MIT, this Talk discusses what the real challenges presented by artificial intelligence are, as opposed to uninformed speculation.

By laying out procedures for artificial intelligence research and development, Tegmark says, we can guide AI development away from the potential hazards and direct it towards the world-altering benefits that a beneficial AI system represents.

How AI Can Save Our Humanity

Presented by Kai-Fu Lee, one of the leading entrepreneur’s and venture capitalists in the Chinese Technology industry, Lee recounts his own experience of almost robotic, machine-like dedication to work and how it nearly destroyed his life.

By eliminating jobs that stifle and detract from people’s humanity through crushing, routine work, Lee says, artificial intelligence presents human beings with the opportunity to create entirely new industries built around compassion, community, and kindness where people can work in ways that reinforce their humanity rather than smother it.

Don’t Fear Superintelligent AI

Presented by Grady Booch, a scientist, and philosopher with IBM, this Talk delves into all of the fears people have about an artificial superintelligence and their origins in cultural panic, not actual science.

Booch explains how artificial intelligence will develop the morality we want it to possess as we teach it the kinds of human values that will ensure it will be a benefit to humanity, which is too significant to pass up because of unfounded fears of a malevolent AI.

Don’t Fear Intelligent Machines. Work With Them

Presented by Garry Kasparov, the chess player, widely considered the best in the world, who famously lost a chess match in 1997 to IBM’s Deep Blue.

Now an advocate for global democracy and human rights, Kasparov could be forgiven if he distrusted artificial intelligence and the governments who might wield them.

Instead, Kasparov shares his hopes and visions for a world in which artificial intelligence can advance the cause of humanity beyond what many believe possible.

Rather than surrender to our fears, Kasparov says, we must conquer them for the final good of humanity, who stand only to benefit from artificially intelligent systems who share our values, values we can instill and inspire in these systems.

Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron
Job Board