Why You Need To Check Out The 2017 TED Conference

Scott Barbour/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Like many people who enjoy the internet, you may have heard that this year’s TED conference begins April 24. You’re probably no stranger to TED talks, either, because there’s literally more than 2,400 of them online right now. But did you know that you can watch a LIVE broadcast of the 2017 TED conference from the comfort of your local cinema? That’s right, thanks to the TED Cinema Experience, we can all watch select talks from this year’s conference without actually attending TED 2017 in Vancouver.

Easy access isn’t the only reason you should check out this year’s TED conference, though. Since launching as a conference in 1984, the majority of TED speakers have been male. In fact, a 2013 study found that nearly 75 percent of TED speakers have been men. Fortunately, though, it looks like this pattern might be changing. The traditionally male-dominated conference is hosting some amazing female speakers this year, like Serena Williams and Gayle King. On top of that, OK Go will be presenting, Elon Musk is giving a brand new interview, “The Future You” conference theme couldn’t be more relatable, and The Surprise Guest promises to be super inspiring.

So if you’re free tonight, consider checking out the TED Cinema Experience. I know I will, and this is why.

Serena Williams Is Speaking

After winning four olympic gold medals and 308 Grand Slams, (one while pregnant, no less), Serena Williams could easily be considered America's greatest athlete. She isn't just an impressive athlete, though. In partnership with HSN, Williams launched her very own clothing line back in 2014, and her fashions have graced the runways of New York Fashion Week for three years in a row now. On top of that, Williams has proven herself to be both a talented writer and an outspoken feminist.

Last fall, Williams inspired women everywhere when she penned an open letter for Porter Magazine’s Incredible Women of 2016 issue. The letter, which Williams addresses "to all incredible women who strive for excellence," focuses on wage inequality and the many other barriers that women face on their respective paths to success. So even though we don't know for certain what Williams' TED Talk will entail, I think we can all agree that it's going to be worth watching.

The "Surprise Guest" Is Intriguing

In addition to Serena Williams and Gayle King, a "Surprise Guest" will be commanding the TED stage on Tuesday April 25. According to the TED Cinema website, The Surprise Guest is, "one of the world's most revered figures."

Personally, I hope the "revered figure" is Barack Obama. Even if it isn't, though, I couldn't be more excited to find out who The Mystery Speaker is.

OK Go Will Be There

I don't know about you, but OK Go was my jam back in high school. I sill think their music is great, but I'm even more impressed by the band's longevity and hard work. OK Go has been making music since 1998, and they direct all of their own music videos themselves. The Los Angeles-based quartet won a Grammy for their "Here It Goes Again" music video back in 2007, and they were awarded the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award for their "Upside Down & Inside Out" music video featured above. OK Go has won multiple MTV music awards as well, and they successfully split from EMI to form their own record label, Paracadute Recordings label, back in 2010. OK Go has worked with the Muppets, pioneering dance companies, and tech giants.

I'm not sure what the band's TED talk is going to look like, but I think it's safe to say we won't be disappointed.

Elon Musk Is Giving An Exclusive Interview

The business magnate, investor, engineer, and inventor has been making moves to protect humanity from the ever-advancing state of artificial intelligence for years. Musk made his first major move in this direction back in 2015, when he donated $10 million dollars to the Future of Life Institutean organization that funds researchers who are working to reduce the existential risks facing humanity.

That same year, Musk announced the development of his non-profit AI research company, OpenAI, which is dedicated to "discovering and enacting the path to safe artificial general intelligence." Also in 2015, Musk (along with Stephen Hawking and more than 20,000 other experts) signed an open letter calling for an autonomous weapons ban. Finally, the Tesla CEO recently announced his plans for NeuraLink Corp, an enterprise that plans to safely merge the human brain with AI. As The Verge reports, "In four years, Musk hopes to have a brain-machine interface that helps people with disabilities, like strokes or brain legions, regain bodily function. In 8 to 10 years, he wants people without disabilities to be able to use it too."

The TED 2017 Theme Is On Point

Unsurprisingly, the 2017 TED conference theme, "The Future You," couldn't be more relevant. Most of us have questions about the future of both our professional lives and our planet as a whole, and this year's conference is dedicated to discussing those questions. As the TED website explains, this year's conference is, "A week to explore the most pressing questions of our time and to imagine what our shared future might look like. From how we'll work to how we'll connect and interact to how we'll collectively thrive in a world full of change, we'll ask — and try to answer — the big questions of the moment."

Whether you're trying to figure out your next career move, or you just want to learn how to cope in our ever-changing world, it's likely that TED 2017 will speak to you on some level. To find out for sure, click here to see if the Ted Cinema Experience is coming to a city near you.