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December 5, 2019 – Technology: Doing Good on Purpose, Rather Than Evil (By Accident?) – Jim Fruchterman


Technology has immense power to help people. A single-minded focus on profits often requires companies to ignore 95% of humanity for excellent business reasons. Sometimes, companies mistake their economic interest as a valid reason to do things that actively hurt human beings. Our speaker will provide a more optimistic vision of how technologists, entrepreneurs and investors can choose a more positive path, using the innovation tools of Silicon Valley to maximize human benefit while still honoring most of the constraints of our modern capitalist system. He will share his path from helping blow up a private enterprise rocket, building venture-backed machine learning companies in Silicon Valley, and how he found his life’s work adapting the latest tech innovations to serve the other 95% of humanity.

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Jim Fruchterman is a leading social entrepreneur, a MacArthur Fellow, a recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, and a Distinguished Alumnus of Caltech. Jim believes that technology has the power to improve—even transform—the lives of people around the world. Jim focuses on bringing Silicon Valley’s technology innovations to all of humanity, not just the richest five percent. He is a former rocket engineer who also founded two successful for-profit technology companies. As Founder and CEO of Benetech, Jim created and scaled multiple software for social good enterprises spanning education, human rights, and environmental conservation. Jim has recently founded a new nonprofit, Tech Matters, to strategically apply technology to maximize impact, not profit.