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Dr. Vivienne Ming on Hyperintelligence, the Future of Education, & How We’ll Optimize Human Potential

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“I want a world where EVERYBODY is fully realized. Not just those that can afford it.”
— Dr. Vivienne Ming

Greetings, superfriends, and welcome to today’s show!

My guest today is a theoretical neuroscientist, technologist and entrepreneur who was named one of Inc. Magazine’s top 10 women to watch in tech in 2013. She co-founded Socos, a cutting-edge startup which applies cognitive modeling to create adaptive, personalized educational technology. She is also a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley's Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience pursuing her research in neuroprosthetics.

Previously, she was a junior fellow at Standford’s Mind, Brain & Computation Center and earned her Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon. Her work and research has received a ton of media attention including the New York Times, NPR, Nature, O Magazine, Forbes, and The Atlantic.

In this interview, we discuss her INCREDIBLE STORY, how technology will be used to predict our learning and performance, how we can change life outcomes, how prosthetic devices will be used to alter and repair or brains and bodies, and the very realistic possibility of a hyper-intelligent superhuman race… and that’s just in the first 30 minutes.

This episode is brought to you by the all new SuperLearner Academy!

This episode is brought to you by the all new SuperLearner Academy!

In this episode with Dr. Vivienne Ming, we discuss:

  • Dr. Ming's journey from a rough childhood and young adulthood to the success she is today
  • What is the guiding principle of Dr. Vivienne Ming's life (hint: it deals with optimizing human potential!)
  • How does Dr. Vivienne Ming to “maximize human potential,” and where are the low-hanging fruits?
  • How is Dr. Ming working to redefine what education looks like?
  • The AI models built by Dr. Ming and her wife to predict people's grades, performance, and success
  • What actually predicts success and life outcomes in children and in adults based on 122 million profiles?
  • How is this ability to predict people's future outcomes actually a curse?
  • What is Socos, Dr. Ming's startup, and what are they doing?
  • What factors are MOST likely to make a child successful?
  • What is “meta learning” and how does it factor in to life outcomes?
  • What is fixed and what is changeable in people's lives?
  • What are “neuroprosthetics,” and why are they so exciting right now?
  • What is the coolest research going on right now in neuroscience?
  • What is “neural dust” and why is it a REALLY BIG deal?
  • What is the biggest risk with cognitive prosthetics, and why are they scary or not scary?
  • What is the likelihood that we will be able to “encode” knowledge into our brains, versus decoding it?
  • How can we learn more effectively?
  • What are endogenous vs. exogenous motivation, and how do they affect us?
  • What is “sleazing” in educational technology?
  • An example of how Dr. Ming's thoughts on learning more effectively are 100% in line with those I teach!
  • How feedback relates to success in education and learning
  • What should you hire based on, if you're hiring employees?
  • What $100 has Dr. Vivienne Ming spent recently that most impacted her life
  • What book has Dr. Ming given most as a gift and how has it inspired her work?
  • What 2 pieces of homework would Dr. Vivienne Ming assign to our audience for this week?

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Favorite Quotes from Dr. Vivienne Ming:

“I had a lot of advantages and yet, really, by the age of 25, I'd pretty thoroughly ground my life into the dirt.”
“You don't work for happiness. You work to live a life of substance.”
“I found this world where people weren't just studying the brain, they were building AIs, and machine learning tools to study it. And suddenly, learning was easy!”
“I always say, you can pronounce my college transcript. It's ‘FFFFFFAAAAAA.'”
“It took moments in a life that I hope no one else ever has to go through to reach this point, but for me, as with so many other stories out there in the world, they were crucial for me to understand…”
“My interest is to maximize human potential.”
“Give me access to an email or a chat stream and I can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about people… but, it's a cursed crystal ball.”
“Can we, in younger children, literally increase working memory span… It turns out that we can.”
“What's really depressing and scary to me is how much we accept as fixed, versus how much is actually changeable in someone's life.”
“I want to live in that world… It's not because I think people are better if they're smarter. I just think that if everyone were smarter, together, collectively, it would be a better world.”
“Don't get focused in aligning your employees with your business… Figure out how to align your business with your employees.”
“It's not what you know, it's why you know it.”
“Part of what I describe as a life-changing moment is living a life of substance. And that often means doing something because you know  it will make the world around you better, even if it's harder. Even if it means it will make you a little less happy in the moment.”



  1. Luiz
    at — Reply

    Thanks, I learned a lot of interesting things in past episodes.

  2. Shivaditya Purohit
    at — Reply

    loved th heart and the depth of the conversation. The way that Dr. Metivier shared from his enormous experience and insights was just amazing. Thank you Jonathan for doing this podcast!! 🙂

  3. Rob
    at — Reply

    Great interview with Dr. Greg Wells! He mentioned a doctor from Colorado around the 42:30 point of the podcast, discussing turmeric and black pepper. I couldn’t make out the doctor’s name. Can you provide me with his full name and maybe his website or contact info. Interested in his products.



  4. Muhammed Sani Ibrahim
    at — Reply

    I am new here, and learning really fast.
    Thank you.

  5. Leonia
    at — Reply

    Maybe oarts of the things he has to share are right, maybe not. If I look at him which impact his nurturing and living style has on himself I see a very old looking man! He is year 1973!! That is not old and he looks definitly much older!! If I would not know his birthyear I would guess that he is in his mid-60ies!! A bit concering for someone who claims his lifestyle is suitable for a long life, isn’t it?

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