x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Dare To Know

This event occurred on
October 3, 2019
San Francisco, California
United States

TEDxSanFrancisco is a day long conference featuring compelling speakers who are masters in their industry, spanning tech, science, philosophy, design, and entertainment.

For the fourth year in a row, TEDx is back in San Francisco to push through the frontiers of knowledge with our theme “Dare to Know”.

Herbst Theatre
401 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, California, 94102
United States
Event type:
Standard (What is this?)
See more ­T­E­Dx­San­Francisco events


Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Bruno Zamborlin

AI Entrepreneur and Founder of Hypersurface
Bruno Zamborlin, PhD is a pioneer in the field of AI for Human-Technology interaction and ubiquitous technology. Zamborlin founded HyperSurfaces, a London-based technology company that uses edge-AI to convert any object of any material and shape into an intelligent HyperSurface: seamlessly merging the physical and data worlds without the need for buttons, touch screens or even internet connections. HyperSurfaces AI software runs on standard chips, and uses common vibration sensors to interpret the vibrational patterns detected on physical objects (such as those generated from human gestures or other interactions) in real time, and converts them into digital commands. Bruno’s work has been featured on BBC, Wired, TechCrunch, Discovery Channel, The Verge, Vice and many others.

Chirag Patel

Biomedical Data Scientist
Dr. Patel is a biomedical scientist who received his doctorate in Biomedical informatics from Stanford University. Since then, Dr. Patel’s long-term research goal is to address problems in human health and disease by developing computational methods to reproducibly and efficiently reason over high-throughput data streams spanning molecules to populations. Patel's group aims to dissect inter-individual differences in human phenomes through strategies that integrate data sources which capture the comprehensive clinical experience (e.g., through the electronic medical record), the complex phenomena of environmental exposure (e.g., high-throughput measures of the exposome), and inherited genomic variation.

Christian Marc Schmidt

Designer and Founder of Schema
Christian Marc Schmidt is the founder of Schema, a research and design firm based in Seattle, whose focus is on the intersection of design thinking and data visualization. Schema allows individuals and organizations, like Amgen, Bloomberg, and Google to understand complex data and turn it into action. Schema also works with startups, universities and cultural institutions. With a BFA from Parsons and MFA from Yale’s School of Art, Schmidt’s experience spans the fields of information design, interaction design, and media installation. His work has received recognition the D&AD, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, the Society for Environmental Graphic Design, Communication Arts, Print Magazine, and the Industrial Designers Society of America. Additionally Schmidt has taught in the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at New York University, the Visual Communication Design program at the University of Washington and Cornish College of the Arts.

Daniel Whiteson

Physicist Professor Author
Daniel Whiteson has a desire to understand the fundamental nature of our Universe. So naturally, he is a Professor of Physics at UC Irvine. Whiteson is also the co-author of “We Have No Idea”, a light-hearted look at the open mysteries of the Universe, and co-host of the podcast “Daniel and Jorge Explain the Universe". Whiteson and his colleagues have also created popular comics like “What’s in the data? The Higgs Boson Explained” and “True Tales of Dark Matters” which were both featured on PBS. Whiteson received his PhD from UC Berkeley and received a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania.

Jennifer Johns

Jennifer Johns is a powerhouse performer and keynote speaker who creates sounds and experiences that stir your soul, inspire your mind, and move your body. She has taken her brand of “Afro-diasporic world music” quite literally all over the globe. In 2008, Jennifer shifted her intention from the entertainment industry to creating art for social movements. Her brand of soul-inspiring sounds have landed her gigs at The Kennedy Center, The Apollo, and on stage for both the NFL World Bowl and the NFL Hall of Fame. Over the last 8 years, she has also become a Green For All Fellow, a BoldFood Fellow, and the First Artist in Residence at Langston Hughes Center for Performing Arts Institute.

Kasia Krzoska

Kasia is the executive producer at TEDxSanFrancisco

Kimberly Bryant

Tech Activist and Founder of Black Girls Who Code
Kimberly Bryant, Founder and Executive Director of Black Girls CODE, has spent more than 20 years in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries as Engineering Manager at various Fortune 100 companies. She started Black Girls CODE as a way to introduce young girls of color to the field of technology and computer programming with a concentration on entrepreneurial concepts. In 2013, Bryant was honored by the White House for her work in tech inclusion and her focus on bridging the digital divide for girls. Bryant has spoken at events such as TedX Kansas City, Platform Summit, Big Ideas Festival, and SXSW. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Vanderbilt University.

Lauren Kunze

Lauren Kunze is the CEO of Pandorabots, a leading chatbot platform that powers conversational AI software for hundreds of thousands of developers and top global brands. Kunze, an expert on state of the art AI problems, built her first chatbot at age fifteen. She focuses on topics like natural language understanding and generation with respect to the larger AI ecosystem. Kunze speaks and writes frequently about chatbots and AI at conferences like Mobile World Congress and South by Southwest and for publications like TechCrunch and Quartz. Kunze has been quoted in outlets like the Wall Street Journal, BBC, Guardian, Wired, Quartz, RadioLab, TechCrunch, Reuters, The New Yorker, and New York Times Magazine. She has also written four novels published by HarperCollins and scripts for movies and television shows. She graduated from Harvard in Literature and Language, and Neuroscience.

Leah Rosenberg

Based in San Francisco, Leah Rosenberg’s art spans painting, installation, sculpture, printmaking, and food, while focusing on the role of color in our lives and its emotional or psychological impact. Her work has been presented in solo and two-person exhibitions nationally and internationally. In the Bay Area, she was a recipient of the Irvine Fellowship through the Lucas Artists Residency Program at Montalvo Arts Center, the Kala Fellowship at Kala Art Institute, and most recently completed a residency at Recology. Past residencies include the Vermont Studio Center, Project 387, Facebook, Inc., Google, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and McColl Center for Art & Innovation in Charlotte, NC, where she inaugurated their gallery with Color for the People, her site-specific installation exploring color and flavor. Her commissioned mural, Everywhere A Color, which is permanently installed in the International Terminal of SFO, and her book, The Color Collector’s Handbook, published by Chronicle Books (2018), invite everyone from all over the world to connect through color. Rosenberg received a BFA from Emily Carr Institute in Vancouver, BC (2003) and an MFA from California College of the Arts in San Francisco, CA (2008).

Oak Felder

Oak Felder was born in Istanbul, Turkey, and that is when his passion for music began. While he was content to stay on the island, in 2001, Felder won a scholarship to Georgia Tech University. Since then, he and his production partner, Andrew “Pop” Wansel has collaborated with some of the hottest names in the business from Ariana Grande and Britney Spears to Miguel and Wiz Khalifa. He is a Grammy winning artist who prides himself on putting the artist first, while he continues to make his own mark on the music industry. Most recently, you can hear Felder’s work on Alessia Cara’s hit song “Growing Pains.”

Olenka Steciw Villarreal

Innovator and Founder of Magical Bridge Foundation
In 2008, after seventeen rewarding years in Silicon Valley, Olenka Steciw Villarreal decided to use her business experiences and education to start the Magical Bridge Playground Foundation. The foundation brings to life innovative playgrounds that serve visitors of all ages and abilities to build more inclusive communities. With a team of experts, city officials and volunteers Villarreal designed and developed the first groundbreaking Magical Bridge Playground in Palo Alto, CA. Once it opened to the public in 2015, she emerged as a respected thought-leader and advocate for playgrounds which reflect the need for play by everyone in a community. As co-inventor and patent-holder of several playground components, Villarreal frequently guest teaches at Stanford University. She is thrilled about how the foundation's work is inspiring a much-needed and truly magical play and lighthearted movement.

Onno Faber

Citizen Scientist and Founder of RDMD
Born in the Netherlands, Onno Faber received his Architecture degree in 2006. He has been solving problems and building things for as long as he can remember and started his first company in 1998. More recently, Onno was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease called NF2, a disease which affects only 1 in 30,000 people. Instead of feeling defeated, Onno sprung into action and started his company, RDMD in 2018, which helps others who suffer from rare diseases like him and foundations to accelerate treatments. Faber hopes his company empowers patients and communities to accelerate therapy development in rare diseases.

Richard J. Davidson

Psychology and Psychiatry Professor/Author and Founder of the Center for Healthy Mind
Richard Davidson is Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and Founder & Director of the Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin-Madison.Davidson’s research is focused on the neural bases of emotion and emotional style and methods to promote human flourishing including meditation and related contemplative practices. He has published more than 400 articles and is the co-author of “The Emotional Life of Your Brain” and “Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body”, both published by Penguin. Davidson has been recognized for his research through various awards, such as a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Award and an Established Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders (NARSAD). Davidson received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Psychology and has been teaching psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since 1984.

Robert Strong and Adam Cheyer

Robert Strong was voted San Francisco’s Best Magician two years in a row also voted San Francisco's Best Comedian twice, Robert Strong has performed for two Presidents of the United States. He’s a 10 year artist in residence at The Smithsonian, a resident magician at Google, and TEDxSanFrancisco’s favorite wizard. Read more about him here. Adam Cheyer is a co-founder of Siri Inc. and formerly a director of engineering in the iPhone group at Apple. Prior to Siri, he was a computer scientist and project director in SRI International's Artificial Intelligence Center, where he was the Chief Architect on the CALO project. Cheyer was also a member of the founding team at and a founder of Sentient Technologies (formerly Genetic Finance).

Sam De Brouwer

Songwriter and Producer
Oak Felder was born in Istanbul, Turkey, and that is when his passion for music began. While he was content to stay on the island, in 2001, Felder won a scholarship to Georgia Tech University. Since then, he and his production partner, Andrew “Pop” Wansel has collaborated with some of the hottest names in the business from Ariana Grande and Britney Spears to Miguel and Wiz Khalifa. He is a Grammy winning artist who prides himself on putting the artist first, while he continues to make his own mark on the music industry. Most recently, you can hear Felder’s work on Alessia Cara’s hit song “Growing Pains.”

San Francisco Girls Chorus

Now in its 40th season, the five-time GRAMMY Award-winning San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) is one of the nation’s leading youth arts organizations. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe, SFGC regularly presents an acclaimed local subscription series, travels across the country and around the world as a cultural ambassador for San Francisco, and collaborates with leading arts organizations including the Kronos Quartet, San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, and San Francisco Film Festival. Recent concert highlights include debut performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. with The Knights and Carnegie Hall with the Philip Glass Ensemble. In February 2018, SFGC released Final Answer, its newest album featuring Kronos Quartet on Philip Glass’ Orange Mountain Music label. More information on SFGC’s concert activities and acclaimed Chorus School for girls and young women ages 4 – 18 can be found at

Sheena Allen

Fintech Entrepreneur and Founder of Capway
Born in Terry, MS, with a dual degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, Allen is a fintech entrepreneur who has changed banking and financial services. Her second company, CapWay, provides financial health and education to those that did not have this access before. She has been featured in various publications, including Black Enterprise and EBONY Magazine. Sheena is a 2018 Business Insider Under 30 Innovator and part of the 2019 class of Forbes 30 Under 30 and Inc. Magazine 30 Under 30.

Stuart Firestein

Dr. Stuart Firestein is the former Chair of Columbia University's Department of Biological Sciences where his laboratory studies the vertebrate olfactory system, possibly the best chemical detector on the face of the planet. Aside from its molecular detection capabilities, the olfactory system serves as a model for investigating general principles and mechanisms of signaling and perception in the brain. His laboratory seeks to answer that fundamental human question: How do I smell? Feinstein received the 2011 Lenfest Distinguished Columbia Faculty Award for excellence in scholarship and teaching. He is a Fellow of the AAAS, an Alfred Sloan Fellow and a Guggenheim Fellow. His two books book on the workings of science for a general audience have been published by Oxford University Press and have found not only a wide general readership but have been adopted by numerous High School and University science courses. Ignorance, How it drives Science was released in 2012 and has been translated into 9 languages. His second book, Failure: Why Science is So Successful, was released in 2016. A 2013 TED talk on the subject has over 1.9 million views.

Tan Le

Neuroinformatics Entrepreneur / Founder and CEO of Emotiv
Tan Le, Founder and CEO of Emotive, is an innovator in the field of neurotechnology. Born in Vietnam, Le and her family immigrated to Australia in 1981 as refugees. She was named Young Australian of the Year for her outstanding community service in Melbourne’s Vietnamese community and Australia’s Most Successful Women Under 30. In 2011, Le founded EMOTIV, a neuroinformatics company that develops mobile electroencephalography (EEG) systems used to advance the understanding of the human brain and accelerate the creation of life changing solutions. In 2018, she received the Industrial Research Institute Achievement Award and he National Portrait Gallery of Australia has commissioned Le’s portrait to be added to its permanent collection. Her upcoming book "The NeuroGeneration: The New Era in Brain Enhancement That Is Revolutionizing the Way We Think, Work, and Heal" is available for pre-order at

Tito Jankowski

Bio-hacker and Founder of Impossible Labs
Tito Jankowski graduated from Brown University with a degree in Biomedical Engineering and has seen been many things: a biohacker, hardware manufacturer, a sailor and most recently an entrepreneur. Jankowski is someone who who will shift your perspective and expand your mind with his use of new cutting edge materials to solve global warming. In 2016, Jankowski and his friend, Matthew Eshed, founded Impossible Labs, a consultant company focused on new business opportunities from climate change. Jankowski hopes to commercialize sustainable technology and in turn, reduce climate change.

Organizing team

De Brouwer

Los Altos Hills, CA, United States