Vivienne Ming
"Maximize human potential — that of others as well as your own...

"It's a philosophy that Vivienne Ming refined as a doctoral student at Carnegie Mellon University. Now the theoretical neuroscientist — involved in research, entrepreneurial technology and philanthropy — has been named one of Inc. Magazine's 10 Women to Watch in Tech. 'All of my endeavors are motivated by a desire to maximize human potential,' said Ming. 'It's a big dream, better suited to science fiction than the lab or the board room. But CMU inspired me to try anyhow.'" - CMU, "Revolutionary Potential"

Keynote Speaker

Travels From California

Language English

Dr. Vivienne Ming, named one of 10 Women to Watch in Tech by Inc. Magazine, is a theoretical neuroscientist, technologist and entrepreneur. She is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Socos, a cutting-edge EdTech company which applies cognitive modeling to align education with life outcomes. Dr. Ming is also a Vice-president and Distinguished Scientist at ShiftGig, where she explores the how to build job markets that drive long-term economic growth and investing in the workforce. Previously, Dr. Ming was Chief Scientist at Gild, an innovative startup that builds better companies by unleashing human potential in their workforce using machine learning. Dr. Ming’s speaking topics address her philosophy to maximize human potential, emphasizing education and labor markets, diversity, and AI and cybernetics.  She has recently presented at SXSW, SXSWedu, ReWork, InfoCamp, Bloomberg, XX in Health, and Columbia University, among many presentations worldwide. Her work and research have received extensive media attention including the New York Times, NPR, Nature, O Magazine, Forbes, and The Atlantic. She lives in Berkeley with her wife and their two children.

Speaking Engagement Topics

  • Maximizing Human Potential
  • Educational Technology
  • Talent Management
  • The Power of Data & Science
  • AI, Cybernetics, and the Impacts on Society
  • The Labor Markets of the Future
  • Diversity (within and beyond technology)
  • Culture Change

Talk Titles

  • The Economic Cost of Unrealized Human Potential
  • A Post-Gender Business World: Is it Possible?
  • Using Machine Learning to Unlock Human Potential
  • Keeping the Promise of Educational Technology
  • From Cognitive Modeling to Labor Markets: Estimating the Economic Cost of Unrealized Human Potential
  • AI and Human vs Machine 2024
  • Joe vs. Jose: computing (and paying) the Tax on Being Different
  • Engineering Environments for Success
  • Lifetimes of Substance, a Life of Purposes

Previous Engagements

Special Recognition

Socos, Co-Founder & Managing Partner

"Socos takes data from what students already do in their classes, and builds a model of their conceptual knowledge that lets teachers adapt instruction in real time, whether to address common misconceptions or expand on unusual insights." - Inc, "10 Women to Watch in Tech"

There is a disconnect between what is assessed in education and what is relevant throughout life. There are few resources, in or out of the classroom, for connecting assessments with feedback that can predict or improve life-outcomes. Our solution is to implement meta-learning through naturalistic educational interventions.

ShiftGig, VP & Distinguished Scientist



Shiftgig is the online community for the service and hospitality industries. We provide better connections for better employment in the service industry. We help job candidates and hiring managers connect with each other and get positions filled. We save employers time and money by streamlining the hiring process and delivering high-quality candidates. We encourage people to connect with other people to get references, referrals, and show off social influence. On Shiftgig, you’ll also find the latest information on industry news, events and deals.

Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience

Visiting Scholar

The Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience is a group of theorists consisting of faculty, postdocs and graduate students. We are part of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at the University of California at Berkeley, located in the 5th floor of Evans Hall on the Berkeley campus.

Our goal is to develop mathematical and computational models of the underlying neurobiological mechanisms involved in perception, cognition, learning, and motor function. We collaborate with experimental neuroscience labs in the design of experiments and in the analysis of neural data. We also train students at UC Berkeley in these ideas and methods.


Cognitive Neuroprosthetics

What if it was 20 ±2?

"The abilities to learn, remember, evaluate, and decide are central to who we are and how we live. Damage to or dysfunction of the brain circuitry that supports these functions can be devastating, leading to Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, PTSD, or many other disorders. ...One promising approach is to build an interactive device to help the brain learn, remember, evaluate, and decide. One might, for example, construct a system that would identify patterns of brain activity tied to particular experiences and then, when called upon, impose those patterns on the brain."
"How to Make a Cognitive Neuroprosthetic", MIT Technology Review


Director & Board Secretary


StartOut is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to creating great business leaders by fostering LGBT entrepreneurs. Currently with 57 annual events and over 5,200 participants nationwide, StartOut inspires, educates and supports LGBT entrepreneurs. We have chapters in Austin, Boston, New York, and San Francisco with Los Angeles in development.

We help create the next generation of LGBT business leaders by helping aspiring entrepreneurs start new companies, helping current entrepreneurs to grow and expand their businesses, and engaging successful entrepreneurs as role models and mentors for less established entrepreneurs. We also strive to foster LGBT leadership in the business community.

Welcome to StartOut -- 2015 Edition from StartOut on Vimeo.


Advisory Board

Can data science save lives? Bayes Impact thinks so. The San Francisco-based nonprofit is using data for good to help governments and nonprofits tackle social problems.

A trio of entrepreneurs – Andrew Jiang, Eric Liu, and Paul Duan – left the private sector to found Bayes. Rather than helping technology companies convince more people to click on ads, the entrepreneurs decided to use their skills to create social change.

“If you look at the way organizations are run, the future is going to be more data-driven,” said Bayes Co-Founder and President Duan. “And we want to be the agent of that change.” - Forbes

Credit Suisse

Advisory Board

While many academics and other firms have conducted similar studies, the report released Tuesday by Credit Suisse may very well be the largest of its kind. The bank's research arm has created a database that will track the gender mix of some 28,000 executives at 3,000 companies in 40 countries around the world on an ongoing basis. The report then compared that data to the financial results of the companies.

What it found: better performance for companies that have women on the board (just as it found last time). But the bank also looked at women not on the board, and saw a link between companies with more female executives and higher returns on equity, higher valuations, better stock performance and higher payouts of dividends. "There's a very strong outperformance of companies that have women in management, particularly in operational roles," said Stefano Natella, Credit Suisse's global head of equity research. - Washington Post

Bay Area Rainbow Day Camp


Mission Statement

The mission of the organization is to empower gender expansive youth to practice gender self determination in order to live authentically and joyfully within their communities.

Vision Statement

The play-based camp will provide a safe space for the exploration of gender identity and expression, to build community for gender expansive youth and their families and to support these youth and their families with self-empowerment and resiliency curriculum.

To supplement the children’s day camp experience, psychotherapists who are gender specialists will be available after drop off and before pick up to answer questions and facilitate the parent support discussion group.

Camp Kickin' It

Gild, Former Chief Scientist

"How Big Data Is Playing Recruiter for Specialized Workers"

"Of late, growing numbers of academics and entrepreneurs are applying Big Data to human resources and the search for talent, creating a field called work-force science. Gild is trying to see whether these technologies can also be used to predict how well a programmer will perform in a job. The company scours the Internet for clues: Is his or her code well-regarded by other programmers? Does it get reused? How does the programmer communicate ideas? How does he or she relate on social media sites?"

"Dr. Ming’s answer to what she calls “so much wasted talent” is to build machines that try to eliminate human bias. It’s not that traditional pedigrees should be ignored, just balanced with what she considers more sophisticated measures.

In all, Gild’s algorithm crunches thousands of bits of information in calculating around 300 larger variables about an individual: the sites where a person hangs out; the types of language, positive or negative, that he or she uses to describe technology of various kinds; self-reported skills on LinkedIn; the projects a person has worked on, and for how long; and, yes, where he or she went to school, in what major, and how that school was ranked that year by U.S. News & World Report." - New York Times

Gild Logo

Credit Suisse, New Markets Advisory Board


Openning the tools of weath management to everyone

Our Family Coalition

Former Board Treasurer


Our Family Coalition promotes the equality and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer families with children. We foster community leadership in advocacy efforts that promote social justice.

Our Family Coalition

Jitterbug, Parent & Inventor

Confronted with Type 1 Diabetes

"There are... parents who understand how to take the lead—while doctors remain set in their old ways. Instead of the formerly all-knowing doctor, Vivienne Ming’s best friend for her son is data-driven technology. When their son, Felix showed symptoms of child onset diabetes, they did what they knew best: they started collecting every bit of data they could on Felix’s eating, exercise and behavior." - Shel Israel, Age of Context

My son is amazing and so we are building:


This is a personal project of love and frustration. It is an app and mathemtical model to

  • predict blood glucose level,
  • infer carb ratio and basal rate,
  • predict optimal insulin dosing,
  • detect anomalies like poor infusion sites and illness,
  • learn personalized BG impact of food, and
  • accept natural language input like, "I'm going to eat a medium apple."


On Mic & Camera

In Print

  • "Silicon Valley’s Embrace of the Gay and Lesbian Community" New York Times
  • "Hiring With Science: Big-Data Brings Better Recruits" Forbes
  • "Building a More Diverse Workforce Through Software" Re/Code
  • "Your web presence just picked your next job" Wired UK
  • "Gild Says Algorithms Can Lift People Out Of Poverty" Silicon Valley Insider & ZDnet
  • "Will Algorithms Replace Resumes? Why Neuroscientist Dr. Vivienne Ming Says Using Big Data to Find Hidden Talent Is Not Only the Wave of the Future; It's the Only Way to Bring Real Diversity to the Workplace" Tweeting for Change
  • "The Future of Personalized Learning" Compass Learning
  • "Parenting Techniques from Vivienne and Norma Ming" Compass Learning
  • "The 3 Hottest Debates at SXSWedu" IAT
  • "Down with Divas" Forbes
  • "They're Watching You at Work" The Atlantic
  • "Your Job, Their Data: The Most Important Untold Story About the Future" The Atlantic
  • "Google Glass Developers: We're still flying half blind" CNET
  • "Vivienne Ming: The Transformative Power of Being Yourself" The Advocate
  • "Profiles - Vivienne Ming"New Learning Times
  • "Can you see the real me?"O Magazine
  • All The World's A Resumé: The Facebook Generation Enters The WorkforceForbes
  • The Hot List: The 10 Hottest Women in BusinessWILES Magazine
  • "What IT recruiters know about you -- whether you're looking or not"ComputerWorld
  • "How big data is playing recruiter for specialized workers"New York Times
  • "10 Women to Watch in Tech in 2013"Inc

Education Research

Neuroscience Research


I'm a terrible networker but I love to talk over tea and always enjoy a fascinating conversation.

Socos: 2140 Shattuck Ave. #601, Berkeley, CA
Handle: @neuraltheory

And I'm always happy to give a talk on almost any subject (my opinions are legion and my data entertaining) if you can help us share our educational tools with families aroudn the world..

Dieter Dog

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