His Holiness Pope Francis joined TED Talks to deliver encouragement about the future, and a plea for the tech-savvy audience to care more for each other and themselves than things.
The Pope spoke of his hope that tech such as that used in TED Talks could be used to bring everyone closer together:
How wonderful would it be if the growth of scientific and technological innovation would come along with more equality and social inclusion. How wonderful would it be, while we discover faraway planets, to rediscover the needs of the brothers and sisters orbiting around us.
He also described a “culture of waste,” where some people are cast aside by our “techno-economic systems, which are now, without even realizing it, putting products ahead of people.”
That has a sobering ring of truth to it, even to me: an atheist and someone whose whole job revolves around tech products. I’m not saying he’s made me rethink life or anything, but it was an appreciably gentle and sweet message.
The talk was filmed in the Domus Sanctae Marthae in Vatican City, where the Pope lives. It has subtitles in 20 different languages and was dubbed in English by TED’s international curator Bruno Giussani (according to him, this is because they wanted Italian-accented English).
Apparently several officials in the Vatican weren’t aware of TED Talks, so it took some explaining before the speech could be arranged. While it’s probably not close to the reality, I love the mental image of the Swiss Guard and several cardinals gathered around a TV or tablet, binge-watching all the TED talks of the last few years.