20 Best TED Talks on AI

With the AI revolution unfolding before our eyes, its waves are inevitably reaching the shores of our educational institutions, touching the lives of our students and reshaping the landscape of our professional and personal lives. As educators, parents, and lifelong learners, it’s crucial to develop a robust understanding of AI — not just as a buzzword, but as a tool with immense potential and challenges.



That’s precisely why I’ve curated this selection of TED Talks on AI. They provide a diverse range of perspectives, from the quirks and dangers of AI to its potential to revolutionize industries and enhance human capabilities.

Whether you’re a teacher looking to integrate AI into your curriculum, a parent curious about how AI might impact your child’s future, or simply an enthusiast eager to understand the future of AI technology, these talks offer valuable insights and a starting point for deeper exploration.

For those of you interesting in learning more about the educational potential of AI, I invite you to check our educational AI hub here in Educators Technology.

TED Talks on AI

Here are some of the best TED Talks on the topic of AI:

1. How AI Could Save (not Destroy) Education, by Sal Khan

Sal Khan, founder and CEO of Khan Academy, presents a groundbreaking perspective on AI in education. With over 2.7 million views, this talk explores how AI could be the key to the most significant positive transformation in education. Khan discusses the potential of AI tools in creating personalized learning experiences, envisioning a future where every student has access to a personal AI tutor and every teacher is assisted by an AI teaching assistant. He also showcases new features of their educational chatbot, Khanmigo, demonstrating how AI can enhance and revolutionize the learning process.

2. How Will AI Change The World? by TED-Ed

TED-Ed’s exploration into the future of AI presents a balanced view of its potential impacts. The talk delves into the limitations and possibilities of creating AI systems compatible with human values. It raises vital questions about whether AI will be our savior in solving global issues or if we’re heading towards a robotic takeover. The talk, directed by Christoph Sarow and narrated by George Zaidan and Stuart Russell, encourages a thoughtful examination of our technological trajectory.

3. How We Can Build AI to Help Humans, not Hurt Us, by Margaret Mitchell

Margaret Mitchell, a research scientist at Google, discusses the critical aspects of developing AI. She warns about the inherent biases and blind spots we might unknowingly embed into these systems. Emphasizing the evolutionary nature of AI, Mitchell urges defining clear goals and strategies now to ensure AI’s development is beneficial for humanity.

4. Can we Build AI Without Losing Control Over It? by Sam Harris

Sam Harris, a neuroscientist and philosopher, voices a compelling concern about superintelligent AI. He suggests that the creation of AI surpassing human intelligence is not just a theoretical possibility but an impending reality. Harris prompts a serious consideration of the ethical and control issues associated with creating beings that might view us as insignificant as we view ants.

5. How to Get Empowered, not Overpowered, by AI, by Max Tegmark

Max Tegmark, an MIT physicist and AI researcher, separates myth from reality in the AI debate. He anticipates AI surpassing human intelligence in all tasks, potentially leading to a future only limited by physical laws. Tegmark outlines concrete steps for ensuring AI becomes a boon, not a bane, for humanity.

6. Will AI Replace Musicians? by Oak Felder

Grammy-winning record producer Oak Felder addresses the fear of AI replacing human creativity in music. Through an on-stage demonstration, he showcases the distinction between AI-generated vocals and live performance, providing a unique perspective on the future role of AI in music.

7. How AI is Learning What it Means to Be Human, by Walter De Brouwer

Walter De Brouwer, an AI entrepreneur, explores the development of artificial general intelligence (AGI) by incorporating a world model of human experience. He emphasizes the importance of our narratives in shaping AGI’s cognitive functions, tracing the evolution of AI’s understanding of what it means to be human.

8. War, AI and The New Global Arms Race, by Alexandr Wang

Alexandr Wang, a technologist, highlights the emerging era of AI-powered warfare, including lethal drones and autonomous weapons. He stresses the importance of data as a strategic asset in this new landscape and urges a reevaluation of national security strategies in the development of AI technologies.

9. How AI Can Help Shatter Barriers to Equality, by Jamila Gordon

Jamila Gordon, a tech executive with a refugee background, presents a compelling case for AI as a tool for social good. She shares her journey and how AI is aiding refugees, migrants, and those from disadvantaged backgrounds in finding employment and developing necessary skills.

10. Why AI Will Spark Exponential Economic Growth, by Cathie Wood

Investor Cathie Wood discusses an unprecedented moment in technology driven by the evolution of five major innovation platforms, with AI at the forefront. She predicts a significant boost in global GDP growth and productivity, urging businesses and investors to adapt rapidly to this transformative era.

11. The Danger of AI is Weirder Than You Think, by Janelle Shane

Janelle Shane, an AI researcher, offers a unique perspective on the peculiarities of AI. She argues that the real danger of AI is not rebellion but its uncanny ability to follow our commands too literally. Sharing examples of AI’s bizarre attempts at solving human tasks, like inventing new ice cream flavors or recognizing cars, Shane highlights the significant gap between AI and human intelligence.

12. The Incredible Creativity of Deepfakes — and The Worrying Future of AI, by Tom Graham

Tom Graham delves into the transformative world of AI-generated media, demonstrating its potential through real-time face swaps and voice cloning. He discusses the creative and alarming aspects of deepfakes, underscoring the need for new legal frameworks to govern our photorealistic AI avatars and protect against their misuse.

13. How AI Can Save Our Humanity, by Kai-Fu Lee

Kai-Fu Lee, a computer scientist, explores AI’s transformative role in the world while highlighting its inability to replicate human love. He shares a vision where AI liberates us from routine jobs, emphasizing the importance of compassion and creativity in the age of AI. Lee’s talk is a reminder of what truly makes us human in an increasingly automated world.

14. How AI Can Enhance Our Memory, Work and Social Lives, by Tom Gruber

Tom Gruber, co-creator of Siri, advocates for “humanistic AI” that collaborates with us to enhance our abilities. He envisions AI augmenting our cognitive functions, from memory to creativity, presenting a future where AI aids us in achieving superhuman performance in various aspects of life.

15. How AI Can Bring On a Second Industrial Revolution, by Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly, a digital visionary, compares the unpredictable yet inevitable nature of technology to a raindrop’s path. He predicts that AI will significantly impact our daily lives over the next two decades, focusing on three key trends in AI that we need to understand to harness its potential and guide its development.

16. For Future AI, The Prompt Is You, by Rajeev Ronanki

Rajeev Ronanki, a technologist, emphasizes the critical role of human imagination in shaping the future of AI. He presents eight design principles for integrating AI into organizations, focusing on alignment, transparency, and purpose to create a harmonious relationship between AI and the workforce.

17. The Evolution of AI — and How It Will Impact Human Creativity, by Reid Hoffman and Kevin Scott

Reid Hoffman and Kevin Scott engage in a comprehensive discussion on AI’s evolution and its effect on human-machine interaction. They explore the shift from complex coding to direct interaction with AI, examining its influence on public discourse, ethical considerations, and the impact on human creativity.

18. How We Can Bring AI Personalities to Life, by Mariana Lin

Mariana Lin, a principal writer for Siri, shares insights from her experience in designing artificial personalities. She advocates for more creativity in AI development, showcasing the potential of AI personalities and their complex, messy, and intriguing nature.

19. How Does Artificial Intelligence Learn? by Briana Brownell

Briana Brownell explains the fundamentals of how AI learns. She explores the three basic methods machines use to investigate, negotiate, and communicate, illustrating AI’s role in various fields from healthcare to urban planning. The talk includes a caution about strobe effects in its animation, warning viewers of flashing lights and colors.

20. The Dark Side of Competition in AI, by Liv Boeree

Liv Boeree, a poker champion and science communicator, examines the negative aspects of competition, particularly in the AI industry. She introduces the concept of “Moloch’s trap,” a game theory phenomenon that drives many of society’s issues and now threatens the AI sector. Boeree’s talk sheds light on how unchecked competition can lead to destructive outcomes in the field of AI.

Final thoughts

From enhancing human creativity and memory to posing new ethical dilemmas and transforming industries, AI is not just a future possibility — it’s a present reality. For us in the field of education, developing AI literacy is no longer optional; it’s essential. Understanding how AI works and its implications enables us to harness its potential responsibly and innovatively in our professional and personal lives.

To delve deeper into the world of AI and its educational applications, I encourage you to visit our dedicated AI hub here at Educators Technology. Here, you’ll find a wealth of resources designed to help you navigate and make the most of the AI revolution in education.

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