LGBTQ+ in AI: Vivienne Ming and the Human Power of AI

As an American theoretical neuroscientist and AI expert, Vivienne often challenges the conventional narrative of AI technology
This Pride Month, we honour AI expert Vivienne Ming whose ideas on machine learning continue to expand human capacity and unlock future opportunities

Dr. Vivienne Ming remains at the forefront of harnessing AI to unlock human potential.

As an American theoretical neuroscientist and AI expert, her work finds herself challenging the conventional narrative of AI technology. She seeks to achieve this by working to improve lives with her knowledge in neuroscience and bioscience. 

Often describing herself as a “mad scientist”, Vivienne is also an inventor and author, boasting extensive experience in applying machine learning to develop neurotechnologies for medical conditions. 

For her inspiring work within the technology industry, Vivienne has been named an LGBTQ+ AI thought leader, having been featured in the BBC 100 Women in 2017 and one of the Financial Times’ ‘LGBT Leaders and Allies Today’.

Changing the narrative with AI

Vivienne was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley after completing her PhD.

Over the course of her lengthy career, Vivienne has founded six startup companies and launched Socos Labs, which she refers to as the “mad science incubator”. It is here that she explores seemingly impossible-to-solve problems across a range of key industries.

Socos Labs, a successful think tank, consults on AI, neuroscience and education reform. Through her work, Vivienne continually seeks to apply machine learning to lessen health effects - with chronic stress in communities being a particular example via her work as co-founder and Chief Scientist at Dionysus Health.

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Likewise, Vivienne is involved with many organisations that challenge poor education and health. Through this work, she has led many studies exploring the connection between how people learn and create. Interested in how AI, human learning and creativity can be intertwined, she often discusses how AI can be used as a tool for discovery and learning.

She currently sits on the board of organisations such as Neurotech Collider Lab, The Human Trust and OptoCeutics.

Vivienne continually demonstrates that hiring metrics within the workplace in fact have little influence on a company’s success and has worked with large organisations such as Accenture on how they can train their staff to be more creative at work.

She has also led many studies linked to how people learn and create, and seeks to explore the link between AI, human learning and creativity. Vivienne discusses how AI can be used as a tool for discovery and learning.

“The AI that makes a difference is the one that changes the world around it,” she once said in an interview with Forbes.

Making technology ethical

With the current business landscape, ensuring that AI is being used ethically is paramount - particularly within healthcare and education, where the technology can affect real change.

“The grounding of ethical AI is that the person building it must understand the whole problem they're working on,” Vivienne said to Forbes.

Vivienne’s research into AI led her to create “Muse”, a machine learning-based tool for parents to support young people’s creativity, motivation and emotional intelligence. She created the app to empower other parents to submit daily insights into their child’s behaviour. The AI is able to tailor activities for parent and child, whilst also helping them to celebrate milestones.

“We felt that one of the things that was truly missing was some way to empower parents, to take what decades of research and hundreds of papers had learned about what paid off in the long term outcomes of children,” Vivienne said in an interview, “and wrap it up in a way that parents could use in a way every day.”

She also develops other tools for learning at home and school and uses AI to assess bias in hiring and promotion within the workplace and neurotechnologies to treat dementia. In her free time, she designs AI systems to treat her son’s diabetes.

For her ground-breaking work in AI, Vivienne has been named one of “10 Women to Watch in Tech” by Inc. Magazine. She also speaks frequently LGBTQ+ issues and gender within technology and continues to be a strong advocate across the industry.


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