Back of the room at The Riveter as the audience watches TEDxSeattleLive on the large screen

TEDxSeattleLive: Watching TED 2018 "The Age of Amazement"


To introduce TED2018, TED owner Chris Anderson and TED Head of Curation Helen Walters asked the audience to complete a simple task: to turn to someone whom they didn’t know and state what, over the last year, the main emotion is that they’ve felt. In Seattle, the crowd that was gathered at TEDxSeattleLive followed suit. Strangers exchanged quick greetings and with just a few minutes for the exercise began sharing their hope—and fears—from the past year.  Looking from the back of the audience during TEDxSeattleLive 2018 held at The Riveter

While there was plenty of apprehension in the crowd, there was also hope for what the next year would bring despite an increasingly divisive global culture. Seattle has long been known as a city filled with forward-thinking innovation and passion for change, so it’s no surprise a day full of learning and inspiration was met with such an openness to how an idea can shape the future.

The event screened two different sessions over the course of the day: “Doom. Gloom. Outrage. Uproar.” then “Wow. Just wow.” Between the two sessions, the audience listened to topics ranging from the #MeToo movement by Tracee Ellis Ross, to how artificial intelligence can upheave the job market as we know it today by Kai-Fu Lee.

What Humans Can Learn from The Wisdom of Salmon

What can salmon teach us about sustainability in a complex environment? Marine biologist Alexandra Morton shares startling new research that lets us decode the information stored in a salmon’s immune system. The data reveals where we’re harming the fish, the ocean, and ourselves – ultimately revealing lessons for how humans can thrive on this planet without destroying it.

Special thanks to core the TEDxSeattle organizing team, 100+ volunteers, and our generous partners – without you, this experience would not be possible. Find out more about our talks, speakers, entertainers, activities, and year-round events at

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark in-depth discussion and connection in a community setting. These events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.

Alexandra is known for her 30-year study of wild killer whales in the Broughton Archipelago in British Columbia. She began her work as a volunteer in the Human/Dolphin Society in 1977, where she cataloged 2,000 audio recordings of bottlenose dolphins. In 1980, Alexandra shifted her studies to wild killer whales. Her work took her to the coast of British Columbia, where she witnessed the impacts of salmon farming. First, the whales she was studying left, then the salmon populations crashed, and the community around the region began to lose its livelihoods. This chain of events inspires Morton’s research and advocacy to this day.

In 1981, Alexandra founded Raincoast Research Society, a science-based association committed to researching the devastating impacts of Atlantic salmon farming on British Columbia’s wild salmon stocks. Partnering with scientists around the world, her organization produced some of the first studies on salmon farm impacts in British Columbia and continues to break new ground in this field.

In 2010, Alexandra won the Women of Discovery Sea Award, in recognition of her achievements in science and exploration.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Alexandra Morton went into the wilderness of the BC coast in 1980 to conduct a long-term study on communication in wild orca. When salmon farms moved into the Broughton Archipelago, she began documenting their devastating impact. First, the whales she was studying left, then the salmon populations crashed. In an effort to protect this remote ecosystem, Morton built a research station, published in leading scientific journals and stood with local First Nations as an activist. Today, Morton sees what happened to her home in the context of the challenges humanity faces today and she finds salmon hold the wisdom we need. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Setting scientific research free

The results from taxpayer-funded, scientific research are often locked behind a paywall.

Jennifer Hansen, a senior officer in Knowledge and Research at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, says the cost of accessing that data is too high. Limiting access to the research results in social inequity and puts human lives at risk. She argues that the current model of research distribution is overdue for disruption. Hansen says it’s time to foster a scientific revolution through open access to data. Jennifer Hansen is an equity advocate with a fierce dedication to ensuring information and scientific knowledge is free and available to all. Her professional career has revolved around closing the digital divide and inspiring others to believe in the power of knowledge to shape their world. Ms. Hansen currently works at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as the Senior Officer for Knowledge & Research. She drives the strategy development and management of the foundation’s research outputs and is an influencer in shaping the future of scholarly communication. She championed and led the implementation of the Foundation’s groundbreaking Open Access Policy – a policy requiring that all its funded published research be immediately available to everyone, everywhere without barrier or restriction. Nature called the bold action to open up scholarly research the”world’s strongest policy on open access research.” And, The Economist described it as “something that may help to change the practice of science.”

Disease eradication is within reach

Steve Davis is working to bring an extraordinary vision to reality—the global elimination of some of the world’s most deadly and debilitating diseases.

Davis is the president and CEO of PATH, a 40-year-old, Seattle-based, global health-focused, non-governmental organization which works on vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, devices, and system/service innovations. In this talk, Davis lays out the “how to” of disease elimination calling on his diverse experience as a former human-rights lawyer, a nationally-recognized technology business innovator and social activist. Steve Davis, president and CEO of PATH, combines extensive experience as a technology business leader, global health advocate, and social innovator to accelerate great ideas and bring lifesaving solutions to scale. Prior to joining PATH in 2012, he served as director of Social Innovation at McKinsey & Company, CEO of the global digital media firm, Corbis, interim director of the Infectious Disease Research Institute, and he practiced law at the international law firm K&L Gates. Earlier, he worked extensively on refugee programs and policies, and Chinese politics and law. Mr. Davis is a lecturer on social innovation at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He currently is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, serves on the board of InterAction, and sits on several advisory groups, including the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Social Innovation and the Clinton Global Initiative’s Global Health Advisory Board. He also serves as a trustee of the World Economic Forum’s Global Health Challenge. Mr. Davis earned his BA from Princeton University, his MA in Chinese studies from the University of Washington, and his law degree from Columbia University. He also studied at Beijing University.

Scientist holding her pipette at a lab counter

Health Science Discovery Tour

Seattle is known as the Silicon Valley for saving lives. Join this tour to see how the Center for Infectious Disease Research is contributing to that reputation, and get a hands-on look at how science research for health is done.

Alexis Kaushansky (speaker at TEDxSeattle2016) and colleagues at the Center for Infectious Disease Research (CIDR) will be providing interactive learning tours of several of the labs with complementary expertise and specialties at this globally known research center. These tours will explore the tagline of CIDR and help give new experiences that shed light on People, Science, and Hope. This adventure will:

  • Allow you to experience a day in the life of Tuberculosis
  • Tour the Malaria Lab tour and mosquito dissection

Every year, nearly 4 million people die from the “Big Three” (HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria) infectious diseases. For real progress in combating these diseases and other infectious diseases, fundamental knowledge is still lacking. Successfully preventing and treating these infectious diseases will require, and will be dramatically hastened by, a deep scientific understanding of pathogen biology, the human immune system, and the interface between them. CIDR has a diverse group of researchers from many disciplines, and we are fortunate to all be working under the same roof and for the same global mission. Because of this, we utilize collaboration and come together to share strategies and knowledge. We aim to discover potential overlaps in disease functionality and to identify the grand challenges of infectious disease research. Together, we have greater potential to combat some of the world’s most devastating diseases.

Nature's internet: how trees talk to each other in a healthy forest

This fascinating talk presents the scientific research that shows the interconnectedness of life in the forest ecosystem.

It takes us beneath the forest floor where we learn how trees are communicating and exchanging resources. Going beyond the simple view of a forest as a resource to be exploited, it presents the forest as a complex network of life. Her examination of the relationships that make up the complexity of nature present compelling support for the idea that “We are all one”

Our best hope in fighting global disease is open collaboration

Alexis is a research biologist, but her experience in engineering school and social justice issues before grad school has made her a scientist who looks at social and economic constraints as a path to creativity. She has implemented innovative techniques and made some startling discoveries in the quest for a malaria cure, discoveries that might help us fight other infectious diseases as well.

Surviving Cancer: The Biology of Luck

Why are some people "cured" of cancer while others deal with relapses? Answering that question may mean changing the way we think about the disease.