Cognitive overload is a real thing at TED. The five-day “spa for the brain” is actually pretty strenuous—especially in an age of short attention spans.

Imagine listening to over 130 speakers unpack heady topics such as artificial intelligence, social justice, gender politics, and counter-terrorism technology. TED is an intellectual and emotional rollercoaster, by design.

To reset the audience’s attention, TED’s video team prepares an eclectic playlist of short videos that they strategically deploy after several speakers. Humorous, delightful, jaw-dropping, even bittersweet, the interstitial clips function like commercial breaks—minus the hard sell.

Here’s a playlist of the most memorable videos at this year’s conference: To introduce a segment about machine learning, TED curator Chris Anderson showed this mesmerizing video created by Russian software researcher Alexander Mordvintsev submitted to the Neural Information Processing Systems conference. Reminiscent of an OK Go production, French rapper Sylvain Richard a.k.a.

20Syl and director Mathieu Le Dude recruit several hands for their electronic ear candy “Kodama.” Featuring the murmurations of the common starling, “The Art of Flying” was created by Dutch documentary photographer and filmmaker Jan van IJken. In the award-winning stop motion film “Blobby,” Montreal-based filmmaker Laura Stewart captures the loneliness of aging alone. Read more from…

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