“If you're looking for an inspirational speaker, rather than have someone that says 'Hey, you can do anything you want,' bring in three or four people who are actually doing anything they want,” David Lavin says. TED Fellows do just that. Their inspirational speeches are based on the groundbreaking and important work they are doing in the fields of science, medicine, and social justice—and their powerful messages shake up conventional ways of thinking.
Robert Gupta, for example, has dedicated his time to helping the mentally ill find comfort through music. A member of the LA Philharmonic, Gupta has been dedicated to music ever since he made his solo debut at the young age of 11. After meeting Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, a homeless and mentally ill musician—who was the inspiration for a book and film, both called The Soloist—Gupta started the non-profit organization Street Symphony. In his talks, he discusses how the organization brings the therapeutic properties of live classical music to those who need it most. He uses his knowledge of music and neuroscience—he has a masters from Yale in Music, where he also studied Pre-Med—to help him craft the restorative and regenerative therapies he provides.
Another on the list of impressive TED Fellows is French-Japanese entrepreneur Cesar Harada. When Harada heard about the disastrous effects of the BP Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, he wasted no time taking action. He quit his day job and moved to New Orleans full-time to build the Protei—a breakthrough unmanned robot used to clean up oil spills. The revolutionary robot was designed to be cheap, environmentally friendly, and capable of working without human supervision. Protei also provides valuable data about events happening below the water. Harada's lectures have been heard around the world, and he speaks passionately about creating technologies that protect and improve our environment.