This year’s Inforum will focus on the theme of Human Potential and explore the limitless possibility of human achievement. It exposes new ways to tap into more human capabilities through the innovation of science and technology.
Artificial intelligence (A.I.) is changing the way that humans think, act, feel, work, and play by allowing a person or group to do much more with the time that we have—spending it more wisely by doing the same tasks more efficiently, or using the time we’ve saved to do things we couldn’t do otherwise.
In addition, A.I. is helping us make quicker, more accurate decisions to greatly improve our efficiency and productivity, and begin to ‘solve the unsolvable’, tackling problems once thought to be impossible. Inforum welcomes some well-known thought leaders to help us investigate this topic.
Athlete, activist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist
With 7 Grand Slam titles, 5 Wimbledon championships and 4 Olympic gold medals, tennis legend Venus Williams is arguably one of the most accomplished and inspiring women in the history of sports.
Beginning her rise to the top at the age of 14, Williams quickly took the world of tennis by storm rising to the top-ranked position, breaking countless records, and winning numerous championships. Not only is Williams a force on the court, the fashion community has taken notice of her bold sense of style with numerous recognitions, including landing on Vogue’s ‘Top 10 Best Dressed’ list and Sports Illustrated’s ‘Fashionable 50.’
Encouraged by her mother at an early age to explore her creative side, Williams enrolled in fashion school where she was instantly drawn into the world of fashion and interior design. True to her bold spirit, Williams parlayed her fine-tuned business acumen with her healthy competitive spirit into two successful design ventures.
In 2002, after obtaining an Interior Decorator certification, Williams founded V Starr Interiors, a full-service commercial and residential interior design firm, which recently announced their partnership with Airbnb partner, Niido to design their first-ever apartment complex. Continuing with her love for design, Williams obtained an Associate of Science in Fashion Design and in 2007 she launched the activewear brand, EleVen, the largest apparel line ever launched by a female athlete.
Sticking to her entrepreneurial spirit, in 2009 Williams along with her sister, Serena became the first female African-Americans to have a stake in an NFL franchise after joining the ownership group of the Miami Dolphins. The following year, Venus published her motivational book, “Come to Win” which reached No. 5 on the New York Times Best Sellers list.
Throughout her career, Williams has been a steadfast advocate for equality. In 2006, UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural organization, titled her as the first “Promoter of Gender Equality.’ In 2017, it was her unwavering fight, which led Wimbledon to award women players the same pay as their male counterparts and in September 2009, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) honored Williams with the Americanism Award for publicly speaking up for Israeli player Shahar Pe’er who was barred from the Dubai tennis tournament.
Williams’ achievements throughout her legendary career have merited her a plethora of additional accolades, including being honored as Glamour Magazine’s ‘Woman of the Year,’ ESPN’s ‘WTA Player of the Year,’ and Forbes’ ‘Celebrity 100’ among others.
Williams holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Indiana University East and an Associate of Science in Fashion Design from The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.
CNN political contributor & host of The Van Jones Show
Van Jones, social entrepreneur, CNN political contributor, and host of The Van Jones Show, will join Infor COO Pam Murphy in a Fireside Chat to discuss human potential and how science and technology innovation is playing a large role in our evolution.
Jones is a Yale-educated attorney and author of two New York Times best-selling books, “The Green Collar Economy” (2008) and “Rebuild the Dream” (2012). The second book chronicles his journey as an environmental and human rights activist to becoming a White House policy advisor. Famous for his heart-felt election night coverage, Jones showed up as “the voice of reason” for people in red states and blue throughout the volatile 2016 political season. Jones has founded and led numerous social enterprises engaged in social and environmental justice. These include:
- The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, which promotes criminal justice reform.
- Color of Change, which works for racial fairness through its more than one million members.
- Rebuild The Dream, a 21st Century “think tank” that champions innovative solutions to fix the U.S. economy and uplift the next generation. which promotes innovative policy solutions.
- The Dream Corps, an organization that brings people together to solve America’s toughest problems. The Dream Corps’ major initiatives are: #YesWeCode, aimed to help 100,000 young women and men from underrepresented backgrounds find success in the tech sector; #cut50, an initiative focused on making communities safer while reducing the number of people in our prisons and jails. And Green For All, which advances environmental solutions that prioritize families and workers living on the frontlines of some of the worst pollution in America. In response to much civil unrest and energy post election, Jones launched the #Love Army — a values based movement that is working for an America where everyone counts.
- Magic Labs Media, founded by Jones and where he currently serves as its President.
Celebrated scientist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author
Ecologist, geographer, biologist, anthropologist, and author of popular science books including the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Guns, Germs, and Steel” (1997), Jared Diamond is also a dauntless explorer of the world.
His inspirational session will take the audience on a journey through some of the most profound evolutionary questions of our time: Why do some societies prosper while others die? What can we learn from the collective history of every human society? A practitioner of sustainable development, Diamond will show how we got here, and where we are headed.