The Future of Equality
Vivienne Ming: Renaissance Woman
By Jessie Wagoner
Making better people isn’t just a slogan for Vivienne Ming, it is a philosophy that guides her work and personal endeavors.
As a neuroscientist, technology maven, author and entrepreneur, she weaves her mission of making better people into each new project she develops.
“I’m interested in concretely changing people’s lives and making better people,” Ming says.
Using Technology to Improve Lives
Ming’s mission began by taking science and data to create artificial intelligence —or cognitive neuroprosthetics, as she calls it—to maximize outcomes for people. She first ventured into that realm in the education field, proposing the replacement of high stakes testing with AI.
When Ming’s son began to show signs of diabetes, she put her skills to work collecting data and researching how he was impacted. Through her research and a desire to help her son, as well as others with diabetes, Ming created Jitterbug, an app and mathematical model that predicts blood glucose levels, infers carb ratio and basal rate, predicts optimal insulin dosage and learns the personalized blood glucose impact of foods among other things.
Creating artificial intelligence is one thing, but teaching others how to use it is also a passion for Ming. She is also in the process of penning the book, “How to Robot Proof Your Kids.”
“What can you do to make certain twenty or thirty years from now that your kids are still relevant? That this is a world you want them to be living in?” Ming asks. “This is about making us more human. It isn’t about teaching your kids to program or whether they get good test scores or not. It’s about whether they are creative, whether they understand other people. It’s about whether they have the strength and courage to follow their own beliefs in the world.”
The Tax on Being Different
Her second book, “The Tax on Being Different,” ties together the importance Ming places on inclusion and diversity. She has traveled the world speaking on the topic, encouraging business leaders to make inclusion in the workplace a reality.
“I say to business leaders ‘you are costing your companies money,’” Ming says. “In the future of work, the number one competition will be for talent. If your market for talent is just straight white guys, you will not be able to compete.”
Ming also serves as Director of StartOut, a national nonprofit dedicated to creating great business leaders by fostering LGBT entrepreneurs. StartOut helps 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.
“When you are talking about LGBT or people of color, they are looking at a world where they know they will have to work harder. They ask, is my hard work actually going to pay off?” Ming says. “The more people like themselves they see in executive roles, the more likely they are to stay in the field and become a leader.”
To stay current on Ming’s numerous activities visit www.vivienneming.com.