This past September, we explored "Intelligence: Humans X Tech," and examined, together, the intersection between humans and technology and what this means for our society's future.

Take a look below for an overview of our 2017 topic areas, speaker, program design, and host locations. 



Plenary Session I

Tech Forward: Entrepreneurship, Cybersecurity, & Emerging Technologies

@ Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

Experts have speculated that artificial intelligence will become so routine in the near future that it will be barely noticeable in our daily lives. In other words, humans and technology will link together in ways only once imaginable. However, many questions remain. Who will create these innovations? How will we protect ourselves in this new frontier? What technologies will drive this revolution and what will be the impact?

Sponsored by


Panel 1

"The New Entrepreneur Toolkit: Tech, Human, & Social Capital for Startups"

Jørn Lyseggen, Founder & Chief Executive Officer - Meltwater

Matt Michelsen, Founder - Gotham Alpha

Amy Nelson, Chief Executive Officer - Venture for America

Amos Schwartzfarb, Managing Director -  Techstars Austin

Babs Carryer, Director of Education & Outreach - University of Pittsburgh, Innovation Institute (MODERATOR)

Panel 2

"Secure By Design? Blockchain, New Database Platforms, & Why They Matter"

Joe Bender, Decentralization Engineer - ConsenSys

Tom Marnik, Director of Worldwide Consulting - ANSYS

Chris Wilmer, Assistant Professor - University of Pittsburgh

Aaron Watson, Executive Producer - Going Deep (MODERATOR)

Panel 3

"New Empire Makers: How to Succeed in the Rust Belt & Other Emerging Markets"

Stan Joosten, Innovation Manager - Procter & Gamble

David Passavant, Chief Executive Officer - numo, LLC

Elle Shelley, Executive Vice President - Launch Forth

Luis Von Ahn, C0-Founder & Chief Executive Officer - DuoLingo

Tracy Certo, Founder & Publisher - NEXT Pittsburgh (MODERATOR)

Panel 4

"The New Cybersecurity Playbook: Innovating & Protecting the Digital Frontier"

Benjamin Campbell, Vice President & Director of Security & Infrastructure, numo, LLC

Chris Carmody, Senior Vice President - UPMC

Michael Madison, Law Professor - University of Pittsburgh

Steven Pifer, Senior Fellow - Brookings Institution

Matt Stroud, Criminal Justice Researcher/Writer - ACLU (MODERATOR)

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Risks & Opportunities in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

@ The Kelly Strayhorn Theater (East Liberty)

In collaboration with XPRIZE and hosted at the historic Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Thrival Innovation addressed, head on, the consequences of an artificial intelligence revolution — ranging from the effects on our day-to-day lives, to the impact on jobs and the economy, to the way government and lawmakers handle automation on a massive scale.

In partnership with


Thought Talk

"The Moonshot Mentality: Solving Grand Challenges with Artificial Intelligence"

Sean McGregor, Technical Lead, XPRIZE

Panel 1

"Skynet or Shangri-La? The Role of AI Ethics & Policy in Shaping Our Future"

David Danks, L.L Thurstone Professor of Philosophy & Psychology - Carnegie Mellon University

Amrit Dhir, Global Operations - Google for Entrepreneurs

Jana Eggers, Chief Executive Officer - Nara Logics

Iba Masood, Co-Founder & CEO - TARA.AI

Sean McGregor, Technical Lead - XPRIZE

Ted Sarvata, Co-Host - Concerning.AI (MODERATOR)

Panel 2

"Better Than Us? Humanity's Place in an AI-Driven World"

William Generett Jr., Vice President for Community Engagement - Duquesne University

Shinjini Kundu, Physician/AI Researcher - University of Pittsburgh Medical School

Jennifer Lum, Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer - Forge.AI

Shivdev Rao, Executive Vice President - UPMC Enterprises

Tuomas Sandholm, Professor of Computer Science - Carnegie Mellon University

Andrew Yang, Founder - Venture for America (MODERATOR)

Thursday, September 28



Plenary Session II

Human Touch:

Culture & Communication in the Age of AI

@ UPMC Enterprises (Bakery Square)


While the automation revolution presents an array of economic and market opportunities, the proliferation of artificial intelligence and robotics will undoubtedly have a human cost associated with it. Yet, time and again, we witness major tech companies and new innovation miss the mark as scale, development, or go-to-market strategies fall short of their objectives. If people (still) remain at the center of the equation, how can we successfully foster technological growth at an unprecedented scale while helping humanity prosper and flourish?

Sponsored by


Panel 1

"It's Not Just About the Tech: Knowing Your Market & Effective Brand Communication"

Yvonne Campos, President - Next Act Fund

Brian Monahan, Head of Vertical Strategy - Pinterest

Laura Willming, People Business Partner - Harry's Grooming

Sheel Mohnot, Partner - 500 Startups

Scot MacTaggart, Founder, Pitchwerks (MODERATOR)

Panel 2

"Robots Don't Care, But You Do: Designing Things for Actual Humans"

Alex Deans, Inventor - iAid Technology

Sara Diepenbrock, Senior Brand Manager - Procter & Gamble

Minette Vaccariello, Lead Design Strategist - UPMC Enterprises

Kristi Woolsey, Practice Lead - MAYA Design

Brian Buirge, Co-Founder - Good Fucking Design Advice (MODERATOR)

Panel 3

"Headspace in the Workplace: Mental Health & Our Unsustainable Work Culture"

Nick Adkins, Founder - Pink Socks Movement

Erin Dertouzos, Chief People Officer - Quartet Health

Jessica Federer, Digital Leader

Amanda Lowe, Principal - Flywheel

Olivia Benson, Director of Community Engagement - Women & Girls Foundation (MODERATOR)

Panel 4

"Tech Culture Re-boot: Diversity, Equity, & Our Evolving Ecosystems"

Kelauni Cook, Founder - Black Tech Nation

Jennifer Van Dam, Digital & Community Engagement Manager - Innovation Works

Josh Lucas, Founder - Work Hard Pittsburgh

Alec Wright, Chief Innovation Officer - GSVLabs

Ilana Diamond, Managing Director - AlphaLab Gear (MODERATOR)

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Intelligence: Humans X Tech

@ Carnegie Museum of Art (Oakland)

Thrival Innovation concluded with a first-ever collaborative event with the Carnegie Museum of Art to recognize Pittsburgh’s unique and evolving role within the Fourth Industrial Revolution. With a focus on interactivity and AI, this marquee event celebrated the work of world-renowned artist and technologist, Ian Cheng — while featuring over a dozen technology demos, art presentations, exhibits, and keynote talks from thought leaders and industry executives shaping the global marketplace.


Co-Sponsored by

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In partnership with:


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2017 Thrival Partner events:


The Incline's "Who's Next" 1 Year Birthday Bash
Wed, September 27 @ Ace Hotel (Gym)
Hosted by The Incline, in celebration of their 1st birthday and 150 "Who's Next" honorees.


It’s 2017: Why Aren't There More Women in Tech?
Thurs, September 28 @ Ascender
Hosted by WELD (Women for Economic and Leadership Development)


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