Defining Humanity

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Our partnership…

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This year, we're partnering with the Ignatian Center to hold a speaker event on February 28th in addition to our annual TED talk. Themed "Defining Humanity," this event will explore the intersection of technology and humanity, and foster conversations about where our world is heading in the face of new technological advancements.

Technology has changed us, and it will continue to shape our lives, our organizations, our communities, and our future. How can we steward technology’s advance to benefit humanity to the fullest — supporting human endeavor, contributing to human flourishing in all its dimensions? Santa Clara University, which brings the inclusive perspective of Jesuit education to Silicon Valley, is pursuing answers.

We invite you to join us in a diverse dialogue with both guest and student speakers that will explore technology and the human spirit, engaging diverse partners in conversation and action.


Our Speakers


Allison Kopf

In 2015, Allison Kopf founded Agrilyst, a web-based software platform that uses data science to help indoor farmers manage their crops. It currently has $3.3 million in funding. She works with produce and cannabis growers, and her product can forecast what crops need to be harvested in a 30-day period with 90% accuracy. Agrilyst's technology makes it easier to understand expected yield, number of units and revenue, and claims it can reduce labor hours through automation.


Amy Kao

Amy Kao is on a mission to eliminate counterfeit drugs and ensure that every person has access to safe, quality medicines. Born in the USA, she has lived abroad in Shanghai, Singapore, and Hong Kong and is a first-hand witness to fake drugs in emerging markets. She now spends her time working both as a strategy management consultant – and heading up RxAll, a company she co-founded to combat counterfeit medicine using artificial intelligence and molecular spectroscopy.

The counterfeit drug problem is a $320 billion market with over 1 million deaths per year. Yet, there is currently little interest for developing countries in putting counterfeit medicine as an issue on the global agenda because the ecosystem that is needed to support such innovation is too great and the return on investment too little.

How can consumers protect themselves? Generating awareness is the first step. Join Amy, as she shares her personal story with fake drugs and discusses solutions developed in this space (including her own) – and brings to light how AI and machine learning are making huge strides in tackling this global health crisis. An enlightened public will create an opportunity in promoting transparency and accountability needed for communities (developed and emerging) to have access to safe and affordable medicine on a global scale.


Kara Berlin

Kara Logan Berlin is a Fundraising and Organizational Development Strategist focused on increasing efficiency, efficacy and impact in the social sector. With more than 20 years experience partnering with mission-driven organizations, Kara is committed to both the art and science of fundraising and is passionate about teaching others how raising money can change the world.

We have to be as passionate and committed to the art of funding the work as we are to the art of executing it. Do you want to change the world? How are you going to pay for it?


Emma Fontana

Emma is a second year student from the Bay Area. She is double majoring in psychology and communication and is minoring in international business. She is passionate about student wellness and is an EMT on campus. Outside of school, she enjoys drawing and painting as well as researching interesting psychological case studies. She lives by the mantra: “never leave anything unsaid” and hopes that she can accomplish that as a Tedx speaker.

We live in a day and age defined by technology. Life will never exist again without it, but what does this mean for us? This talk explores the possible biological and psychological ramifications technology and our mediated world have on us as humans.


Jess Miers

Jess Miers is an Internet Law generalist, certified privacy professional, and software engineer. She is currently a 1L member of the first Tech Edge J.D. cohort at Santa Clara Law studying Internet law and policy. Jess has a fiery passion for defending online free speech with a specific interest in CDA 230 and content moderation. Her passion for Internet advocacy drove her to found the SCU Internet Law Student Organization with the goal to inspire others to consider careers in technology law and to make Santa Clara Law the best place to study Internet Law.

For a law that governs about 99% of our daily online interactions, it's disheartening how little most users understand, let alone, know about the importance of Section 230. Without Section 230 the freedom for web services to moderate content and, in most cases, to even exist, would be jeopardized. Section 230 is the core foundation for online free speech but with recent amendments like the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and looming threats of repeal, this foundation is being quickly chipped away by regulators and anti-230 lobbyists that simply don't understand how the Internet works.


Andre Blair

Andre Blair is a first-year Santa Clara University student from a suburban town, McDonough, GA. He is studying business and plans on majoring in Finance and OMIS with a minor in music. Andre loves playing the piano and viola, singing in his A Capella group – Supertonic – and he loves playing pick up basketball on campus. He has always been dreaming of giving a TED talk because of the weekly tradition his family had of watching them every Sunday.

Today, movies and TV shows continually display science being used to modify humans and make them better and stronger like Captain America and The Incredible Hulk. This is clearly science fiction, but if it were possible to design humans how we see fit, should we do it? Well, scientists have recently gained the power to edit the DNA of humans, thus changing their characteristics, but the negative, ethical repercussions of its usage is greater than we may see at face value.