Our Voices

Socos Labs co-founder Vivienne Ming: A.I. is a ‘tool with which we can understand ourselves’

Vivienne Ming, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights’ newest board member, says she’s grateful to be at a place in her career where she gets to solve some of the world’s biggest problems. For fun, that is – and for free.

The Socos Labs co-founder realized that, over years of work and sweat, artificial intelligence is a “tool with which we can understand ourselves,” she told nearly 300 RFK Compass Summer Investors Conference attendees.

Part of that understanding is intimately personal for Ming, whose now-14-year-old son has both autism and Type 1 diabetes.

“A.I. is a tool; something which is simultaneously the most overhyped and underappreciated tool in the world today. It’s what we do with that tool that matters,” she said.

Ming, joined by Insight Partners’ Lonne Jaffe, spoke at the conclusion of the first day of the conference, which is convening in-person for the first time since 2019.

A theoretical neuroscientist, entrepreneur and author, Ming launched Socos Labs to combine her varied work with that of other creative experts and expand its impact on global policy issues, both inside companies and throughout our communities.

Ming previously had been a visiting scholar at U.C. Berkeley’s Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience, pursuing her research in cognitive neuroprosthetics. But in her free time, she invented A.I. systems to help her son and others, including people with bipolar disorder wanting advance notice of manic episodes, and orphaned refugees seeking to be reunited with extended family members.

She sits on boards of numerous companies and nonprofits including StartOut, The Palm Center, Cornerstone Capital, Platypus Institute, Shiftgig, Zoic Capital, and HUMM.

“It’s us,” she said. “We’re the ones who solve problems, even when we have immensely powerful tools. We’re the ones who make a difference. I believe that’s how we make decisions on investments, and who we support.”

For more about the RFK Compass Program, visit https://rfkhumanrights.org/our-programs/compass.