Community Corner: Saving the World Through Technology, Entertainment, Design

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Video Still from TEDxSanJoseCA (TEDxSanJoseCA)

Video Still from TEDxSanJoseCA (TEDxSanJoseCA)

KCBS Community Corner
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SAN JOSE (KCBS) – On April 14th, 2012, innovative leaders in Technology, Entertainment, and Design will gather in San Jose to inspire the public to “pay it forward.”

It’s the annual TEDxSanJose Conference happening at the Bellarmine College Preparatory campus in San Jose.

The theme for this local conference is “Pay It Forward” and will feature 22 speakers covering a range of topics including fighting cancer, preventing human trafficking, using technology to help the blind, and planting trees for the environment.

KCBS’ Connie C. Kim talks to Executive Director Diane Michlig and one of the speakers, Jim Fruchterman:

“This is a crucial time where people want to be involved in things that are bigger than themselves,” Executive Director Diane Michlig said. “Our speakers really believe that, too, and they are sharing their own personal journey. We are hoping to inspire people to actually take action and pay it forward.”

One of the speakers is Jim Fruchterman, president of Benetech which is a nonprofit that develops technology for use in education, human rights, and environmental causes.

He’s launching a new project called Social Coding for Good that matches high tech workers with nonprofit needs.

“One of the challenges we face in Silicon Valley is that we’re trained [to believe] that if it doesn’t make a pile of money, then we should not do it,” Fruchterman commented. “The message I hope to give through this talk is that we need to see that technology benefits all of humanity, not just the richest ten percent.”

Fruchterman’s personal journey began as a high tech entrepreneur when one of his investors vetoed using their technology to help blind people because it wasn’t profitable. That’s when he started his nonprofit.

Benetech now operates the largest digital library for the blind and is also the largest software developer for the human rights movement.

“I found it was so much more fun and more challenging to work on these big social issues than solely to work on making money.”

The motto of the TED movement is “ideas worth spreading” and Michlig adds that anybody can step up and be extraordinary.

The TEDxSanJose Conference begins at 9AM on Saturday, April 14th and is available to watch live online. For more information go to TEDxSanJoseCA.com.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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