Talks at Strings 2014 (URLs of slides and videos)You may see that the AdS/CFT (and, more generally, "holographic") talks represent the largest percentage of the contributions. That includes applications in condensed matter physics, topological metals, turbulence, various indices, spectral curves, and so on.
Several talks – including one by the BICEP2 boss John Kováč – are dedicated to inflation and primordial gravitational waves. This set includes Paul Steinhardt's monologue, Daniel Baumann's talk, and Eva Silverstein's monodromy speech, Fernardo Marchesano's thoughts about the same type of models, and Matias Zaldarriaga's musings about the dawn of B-modes (have I missed someone)?
There are four talks by visionaries which, in this context, includes Gross, Strominger, Moore, and Maldacena.
Marcos Mariño would normally work on topological strings only but he gives a talk about non-perturbative effects in M-theory which is refreshing. His talk may count as an exception, much like talks on F-theory (torsion, Abelian sector, duality with heterotic strings), the moonshine, Vasiliev theory embedded to string theory, Monte Carlo in string theory, amplitude industry (including the Amplituhedron discussed by Trnka) and others, and it's hard to summarize all the exceptions without copying the whole program.
A significant theme that expanded is entanglement and entanglement entropy. The research of this concept is composed of two overlapping parts: calculations of the entanglement entropy in CFT simply because you can; and the construction of the spacetime in quantum gravity from the quantum entanglement because it seems conceptually deep.
This leads me to some talks that I may ultimately study most carefully (even though almost everything looks extremely interesting), those about the black hole information puzzle and the physics of the black hole interior. This category includes talks by Warner, Dabholkar, Polchinski – and by Papadodimas and Raju. I've actually read the slides of Raju now that are not yet posted. They seem excellent, clear, and solving the very heart of all the major objections that have been raised against the consistency of the complementary-based principles of quantum gravity of black holes.
I am praising them not only because Suvrat has kindly cited me for two mutually related insights, in one case along with Susskind. ;-) I would surely refer to my adviser Tom Banks as well for some of the general lore connected with these claims, to say the least. I must have learned much more specific stuff from him than what I remember in detail.
We may hope that the slides and the videos will appear on the web page soon enough.
Authors and fans of great talks that were accidentally missed in this summary are invited to complain and promote these talks. ;-)