Innovators Under 35 Roundtable: Tech for Good

Barbarita Lara, Emercom, Hera Hussain, CHAYN, Minmin Yen, PhagePro, Elizabeth Nyeko, Modularity Grid, and Joy Buolamwini, Algorithmic Justice League

MIT Technology Review's Gideon Lichfield hosts a roundtable discussion with 2018 Innovator Under 35 honorees about using technological innovations for social good.

Barbarita Lara, CEO, Emercom

Barbarita Lara is a Chilean tech entrepreneur, computer engineer, and skilled coder driven by social innovation. She is CEO of EMERCOM, a tech company that creates disruptive communications solution, and project chief of SiE: Emergency Information System, which delivers emergency broadcasts without relying on conventional networks. She is also the tech director of Valparaíso.

Barbarita was a “Leader in Innovation” Fellow at The Royal Academy of Engineering in 2016/2017 and has been recognized by her country and university as a young leader for her contributions to the community and work in technological innovation.

Hera Hussain, Founder, CHAYN

Hera is the Founder of CHAYN, a global volunteer-run project crowdsourcing resources on the web to address gender-based violence. Born in Scotland, raised in Pakistan, and living in the UK, Hera knew from early on she wanted to empower women. She is a passionate believer in using the power of open-source technology and open data to solve the world’s pressing issues. When Hera isn’t running Chayn in her spare time, she works with governments and civil society to open data sets to fight corruption. She has been named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.

Minmin Yen, CEO and Cofounder, PhagePro

Dr. Minmin Yen researched the use of phages as an intervention for cholera during her thesis work in the Camilli Lab at Tufts University, resulting in publications in Nature Communications and eLife. As an undergraduate in biological engineering at MIT, she trained with Professors David Schauer and Darrell Irvine and researched oral vaccine delivery. Passionate about developing innovative solutions for infectious diseases, Dr. Yen was awarded the Howard Hughes Medical Institute MERGE-ID fellowship, which focused on translating bench science to clinical applications, for her graduate education. She traveled to Haiti to study the cholera epidemic and, with Professor Andrew Camilli and postdoctoral researcher Dr. Lynne Cairns, founded PhagePro with the aim of developing phage therapies to help the world’s most vulnerable communities.

Elizabeth Nyeko, Founder and CEO, Modularity Grid

Joy Buolamwini, Founder, Algorithmic Justice League

Joy Buolamwini is a poet of code who uses art and research to illuminate the social implications of artificial intelligence (AI). She founded the Algorithmic Justice League to fight the coded gaze-bias in AI. At the MIT Media Lab, she pioneered techniques that are now leading to increased transparency in the use of facial analysis technology globally. Her TED Talk on algorithmic bias has been viewed over 1 million times. More than 230 articles in over 37 countries have been written about her Gender Shades thesis work, which uncovered large accuracy disparities in commercial AI services. Joy is a Rhodes Scholar, Fulbright Fellow, and Google Anita Borg Scholar. She holds master’s degrees from Oxford University and MIT, and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is pursuing a doctorate degree at MIT aimed at participatory artificial intelligence.


Innovators Under 35
individuals whose superb technical work promises to shape the coming decades through the development of new technology or the creative application of existing technologies to solve problems.