Pope Francis showed up via video on the TED 2017 stage in Vancouver, Canada, offering up his thoughts in an 18-minute talk that covered everything from the viability of a happy future (it’s still possible, says the Pope) to the discovery of new planets.
The talk marked the first time Pope Francis has spoken at an international conference.
The Pope addressed TED’s core audience of creative science and tech professionals directly, imploring them not to forget about their humanity as they forge ahead with new discoveries.
“Only by educating people to a true solidarity will we be able to overcome the ‘culture of waste,’ which doesn’t concern only food and goods but, first and foremost, the people who are cast aside by our techno-economic systems which, without even realising it, are now putting products at their core, instead of people,” he said in the video, which was translated to English from Italian.
Pope Francis also said he hopes that technological innovation can happen without leaving behind social justice. “How wonderful would it be, while we discover faraway planets, to rediscover the needs of the brothers and sisters orbiting around us,” he said.
Even in the always-optimistic atmosphere of the TED conference, this year’s talks have so far carried an undercurrent of worry about the future of humanity. Pope Francis’s talk was no different.
“Many of us, nowadays, seem to believe that a happy future is something impossible to achieve. While such concerns must be taken very seriously, they are not invincible. They can be overcome when we don’t lock our door to the outside world,” he said.
The Pope wrapped up his talk by discussing the need for powerful people to stay humble. “If you don’t, your power will ruin you, and you will ruin the other,” he said.