Well, change your life might be a bit strong. But “5 TED Talks that could potentially make you think about stuff for a little while” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. That said, I think these are all very good and if you haven’t seen any of them yet (a few are pretty old, but classic) you should give them a view. They aren’t short, but all are worthwhile and have great insight into the world, our lives, and the future of both.

Since I know most people won’t read this post to the end, I’ll put a question at the top: What are your favorite TED talks or other presentations? Is it weird that I watch scientific presentations for fun?

Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity

I’m putting this one first because of all of them, I think this is the most important to watch from a day-to-day point of view. Also, it’s hilarious. If you only watch one of these, watch this one. But do watch the others too, because they are also great. If you consider yourself creative, are a university professor, or have children, you definitely need to watch it.

“My contention is that creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.”

“I think you’d have to conclude that the whole purpose of public education throughout the world is to produce university professors. Isn’t it? They’re the people who come out the top.”

Dan Ariely asks Are we in control of our own decisions?

As a holder of a degree in Psychology, some of the examples he uses I had seen before, but the point is very important; phrasing of questions and design can make a huge difference in how we make decisions.

“If we understood our mental limitations in the same way we understand our physical limitations, we could design a better world.”

Seth Godin on the tribes we lead

Personally, I’m more of a Chris Brogan fan when it comes to social media gurus, but Chris hasn’t given a TED Talk (yet) so Seth will have to do.

“The internet was suppose to homogenize everyone by connecting us all. Instead, what it’s allowed are silos of interest.”

Ray Kurzweil on how technology will transform us

Where Seth talks about how technology is changing the way we interact with each other, Ray is foretelling the amazing transformation that will take place in how we interact with technology. I’ve been a huge fan of Ray Kurzweil since reading The Age of Spiritual Machines back in high school, and I think he offers a bold, yet well thought out, vision for the future. Even if only a quarter of the things he predicts come true, the future is going to be amazing.

“It’s not just an alien invasion of intelligent machines, we are going to merge with our technology”.

Aubrey de Grey says we can avoid aging

Speaking of the future… Aubrey de Grey says the worst pandemic in our world is aging, and we can cure it. As an added bonus, he has one of the best beards on the planet. Just because we’ve been dying of aging since the dawn of time, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

“Most people, when they hear I am predicting that a lot of people today are going to live to be 1000 or more, they think that I’m saying that we are going to develop therapies within the next few decades that will so thoroughly eliminate aging, that those therapies will let us live to be 1000 or more. I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying that the rate of improvement of those therapies will be enough…we’ll be able to fix the things that 200-year-olds die of before we have any 200-year-olds.”