Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Presenters Include:

What is Thrivals?

Thrivals is sponsored through a partnership between the University of Louisville College of Business and the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation. We bring over 630 guests, primarily upper high school and college students, together with professionals from the community to explore innovation and cutting edge ideas. We are especially interested in students who are the future disruptors, who are comfortable with the unknown, who yearn for global awareness and greater knowledge of understanding of some of the major driving forces that will shape our mid to long-term future. 

With our hosts - including the coordination and talents of Janellé Monae and the Wondaland Arts Society - we build a program to present programming that challenges our audiences to think and act with purpose. We believe the best ideas are those ideas that are discovered when together we have the courage to ask the tough questions.

This Year’s Topics:

Two very big ideas will collide on the stage of Thrivals 10.0: Algorithms and “Grit.”


First Big Idea: Grit – Why do some people quit while others persevere? Are there traits that predict our success for the future? Is it IQ, natural talent and abilities, or is there something else? Is there an algorithm that can help determine your success or failure? Our guests, whose backgrounds include dance, storytelling, painting, education, theater, music, art, artificial intelligence and social activism, will share their personal stories on the notions of “Grit” and how they found their own algorithms for success. 


Second Big Idea:  Big Data and Algorithms -The Dark Side. We often celebrate the rise of big data in helping to create for consumers more choices. But mathematician, data scientist and author of “Weapons of Math Destruction”, Cathy O'Neil, sees trouble ahead. O’Neil, a math geek as a child, obtained a PhD in math and became a professor at Columbia University and then went to work for a big hedge fund. There she realized a disturbing truth. Algorithms, the very love of her heart, had become entangled in large parts of our world’s economic and social systems and were being used to create a more unequal society. The models, being made by these mathematically powered applications in our data economy, were being made by fallible human beings based on faulty assumptions and biases. The algorithms tended to punish the poor while making the rich richer. She is warning that these algorithms are being used by big business and government and their use is often secret or with very little understanding by the public.

You are invited to join us as we explore the intersection of these two very big ideas as they collide on the big stage of Thrivals 10.0.