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Reflections from TED 2024:10 Powerful Quotes That Sparked Conversation and Insight

Collage of TED 2024 Speakers
TED2024: The Brave and the Brilliant, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photos: Gilberto Tadday / Jasmina Tomic / Ryan Lash / Jason Redmond / TED CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

I just came back from a fantastic week at TED in Vancouver. It was my 7th TED conference, and I continue to appreciate the breadth of topics you get to hear in a week, which provides a new perspective on where our world may be going and the deep discussions and connections.

Because you hear 70+ talks beautifully curated in 11 sessions, each with a theme and focus (for example, mind expanders or system changers), trends emerge, helping sense-making. I plan to share more of what I have learned in my newsletter later this week, but I wanted to share ten quotes that struck me as powerful, beautiful, or scary.

“Hope is action,” said Aziz Abu Sarah, an Israeli Palestinian who shared the stage and his collaborative work with an Israeli jew, Mroz Imon, in the first talk of the conference.

“ Wars are like cancer…when they progress enough, nobody knows how to stop them,” said conflict resolution expert Gabrielle Rifkind.

Mustafa Suleyman, the CEO of Microsoft AI, believes we are building “a new digital species” that will become our digital partner.  

“Ai is a digital mirror; it reflects our faults- it is not a species,” said Avi Loeb, a Harvard researcher and astrophysicist searching for extraterritorial intelligent life.

“A few entrepreneurs and policies are all we need” to build a better world, says Vinod Khosla, an ex-co-founder of Sun Microsystems.

“I don’t understand AI, and no one does, including the experts,” said Helen Toner, an AI policy expert.

 “Do we love our children?” asked Scott Galloway, an NYU professor, as a way to challenge the current wealth distribution, where more older adults retain wealth than in previous generations.

“What if everyone has stock ownership?” Peter Stravros asked as he explained that giving all employees stock ownership through ESOP is a way to increase employee engagement and company success.

“Give directly” instead of “teaching how to fish,” recommended Rory Steward, an ex-member of the OK Parliament. Over 300 pieces of research have shown that the direct approach is a much more effective way to solve extreme poverty than working through agencies and NGOs.

“Sentiment without action is the ruining of the soul…, (we need to be ) rewilding the earth by allowing nature the space and freedom to regenerate itself,” suggested  Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, the ex-CEO of Patagonia, who has been working successfully on restoring eco-systems in South America

Which of these quotes was most sticky for you?

In my upcoming newsletter, I will go into more context and details about these talks and many more.


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