Vivienne Ming, PhD
“Almost every technology is inequality increasing because the people who are best able to make use of it are those who need it least: 99.999% of the world’s population has no say in how any of this is used. We need to think of AI as a human right, the same way we think of judicial review and access to vaccines.”
Vivienne Ming is a theoretical neuroscientist, entrepreneur, and author. She co-founded Socos Labs, her fifth company, an independent think tank exploring the future of human potential. She launched Socos Labs to combine her varied work with that of other creative experts and expand their impact on global policy issues, both inside companies and throughout our communities. Previously, Ming was chief scientist at Gild, an innovative startup that applies machine learning to predict optimal candidates for technology jobs and to bring meritocracy to job markets. She was also a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley’s Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience, pursuing her research in cognitive neuroprosthetics. Ming sits on the boards of StartOut, The Palm Center, Emozia, and the Bay Area Rainbow Daycamp, and is an advisor to Credit Suisse, Cornerstone Capital, and Bayes Impact.
Ming is also transgender and speaks frequently on her AI-driven research into inclusion and gender in business. Though she told O Magazine in 2013 that it’s important that “talking about my experience not undermine those who choose differently [regarding surgery],” she described her transition as profound. “My body became aligned with my identity,” she said.
Ming has spoken openly about her early academic struggles, which led her to leave university. After struggling with depression, suicide, and homelessness, she returned ten years later and received her B.S. with honors in cognitive neuroscience from the University of California at San Diego and followed this with a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, in parallel with the computational neuroscience program at the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition. She held a joint postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University and UC Berkeley, where she later joined as a research scientist and visiting scholar.