5 Can’t-Miss Speakers at TED2016 in Vancouver, Feb 15-19

Photo credit: Danny Robinson | Flickr

Photo credit: Danny Robinson | Flickr

Some of the brightest minds on the planet are converging on Vancouver (again).

TED, the conference known for its inspired 18-minute speeches on “ideas worth spreading,” returns to the Vancouver Convention Centre for the third year, this Feb. 15-Feb. 19.

TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, premiered 30 years ago and has since become a global phenomenon. To date, TED talks – on just about every topic under the sun – have attracted more than 1 billion views online.

Tickets to the TED2016 conference itself require a full written application (think university admission essay) and price in at $8,500 a pop. But – luckily for the rest of us – talks are also simulcast live to community centres, schools and other venues throughout the city (full list TBD, but here’s a rundown of venues from last year).

The theme for this year’s TED is Dream! In the words of organizers, the conference is “dedicated to great feats of imagineering, invention, innovation … and the courageous dreamers who can bring us with them on their journey.” Here’s a sneak peek of five of the biggest name dreamers coming to TED2016. (The times below indicate the window during which the individual is set to speak.)

Al Gore: The former US Vice President, nobel laureate and global-warming whistleblower takes the stage as part of a series of presentations ominously titled “Nightmare?” Gore is determined to take a hard look at the challenges posed by climate change, while also encouraging us to move toward real solutions. No word yet if he’ll discuss the time he invented the Internet. Wed., Feb. 17, from 5 p.m.-6:45 p.m. 

Travis Kalanick: You may not know Kalanick by name, but you’ve probably heard of his company, Uber. The founder and CEO of the controversial ride-sharing service (that just might be coming to Vancouver in the near future) is set to discuss the need to reinvent urban transportation as we know it. Given that his company is now worth around $60 billion, this is probably a talk worth hearing. Tues., Feb. 16, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.

Photo credit: Steve Jurvetson | Wikipedia

Photo credit: Steve Jurvetson | Wikipedia

John Legend: You love his music, but did you know that Legend is also a well known activist and philanthropist. The multi-Grammy Award winner is the driving force behind #FREEAMERICA, a campaign focused on ending mass incarceration and bringing about criminal justice reform. He talks about his activities on and off the stage. Thurs., Feb. 18, from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Norman Lear: In this “Golden Age of TV,” it’s easy to forget that wildly innovative, groundbreaking programming was also happening back in the 1970s. 93-year-old producer Norman Lear was the driving force behind edgy programs like All in the Family and spin-offs like The Jeffersons. He’s also a fierce free-speech activist who founded People for the American Way to preserve the separation of church and state and guard against religious fundamentalism. Tues., Feb. 16, from 5 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.

Mae Jemison: The first woman of colour in space, astronaut Mae Jemison now leads the 100 Year Starship, an US-government-funded initiative to achieve interstellar travel in the next 100 years. With her experience as a physician, engineer and dancer, she focuses on ways to integrate science and art to solve humanity’s problems. Tues., Feb. 16, from 11 a.m-12:45 p.m.

These are just a few of the dozens of speakers packed into the 5-day TED conference. See the full list on the TED2016 website.

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