Six TED Videos Realistically Ponder 'What If Superpowers Were Real?'

July 3, 2013
Source: TED Blog

What If Superpowers Were Real?

What if? Always a fun question. What if Superman were real? What if Tony Stark existed? We're big fans of TED Talks anyway, but TED Ed recently featured an excellent six-part video series that ponders: "what if superpowers were real?" It's not just a cheesy investigation into capes, the videos actually delve into the real world implications of superhuman abilities, ranging from invincibility to immortality to super strength and speed. The segments were put together by Joy Lin, an educator from Texas, with voiceover by James Arnold Taylor explaining the "scientific and logical fallacies inherent to six highly desired superpowers."

These "what if" segments are not only fun and extremely fascinating, but considerably educational as well. The videos come from the TED Blog (tip via @SdGeek). They really make you think about us and this world. Here are all seven videos, including the intro and one for each of the different powers they investigate.

Joy Lin's Introduction:


Body Mass:



Super Strength:

Super Speed:

Many of these seem to end up at the same conclusion: having these powers might not be so great after all. Then again, who wouldn't want to have them anyway? These powers may originally be rooted in comics, but the ideas and concepts have been explored as thoroughly in cinema, especially recently (e.g. Man of Steel).

For the "full lessons" visit TED Ed. My favorite video is probably the flight one, because of the way it shoots down all hope for awesomeness with sound arguments. "Disclaimer: Due to time constraints, not all aspects of each superpower can be discussed and the science is sometimes simplified or generalized. We recognize this series is only the tip of the iceberg, not the final say in the continuous discussion of superpowers and scientific advancements. All we aim to achieve is inspiring young minds to ponder, discuss, and discover science through a glimpse into the world of superheroes." The videos were animated by Cognitive Media.

Find more posts: Comics, Cool Stuff, Discuss, To Watch




mooreworthy on Jul 3, 2013


I like TED Talks. Too bad they are so expensive to attend.

DAVIDPD on Jul 3, 2013


Yeah, I hate that. I love watching them, though. Always a good time! I love how there are tons of them on Netflix.

Greg dinskisk on Jul 3, 2013


so..only iron man can fly..

quest on Jul 3, 2013


What about prosthetic limbs, realistic fake teeth? What about some form of advanced regeneration, or what about immortality it self? All this will probably be invented in the future. But what do I know? I'm 23 and unemployed.

Kebenski on Jul 4, 2013


the Super Strength video answers no questions about super strength.

Dan Hibiki on Jul 4, 2013

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