Poppy Crum

Expert in Technology-Driven Innovation & Human Evolution, Stanford University Adjunct Professor, Chief Scientist at Dolby Laboratories, Neuroscientist, and Technologist

Poppy Crum Headshot
  • Builds innovative technologies that leverage human physiology to improve the ways we interact with the world
  • Dr. Crum's TED Talk on using advancing technology to empower our collective future has been watched over 1 million times
  • Fascinating, fast-paced presentations unlock the ways new technologies will rapidly change how we live—impacting everything from healthcare to retail, defense, and relationships

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Dr. Poppy Crum is a visionary futurist and neuroscientist whose work sits at the intersection of technology advancement and human evolution. Highly regarded in both the technology sector and academic circles, she is an Adjunct Professor in Computer Research at Stanford University and the Chief Scientist at Dolby Laboratories, a leading global innovator and developer of audio, imaging, and voice technologies. An advocate for the kind of technology that learns more about us as we use it, Dr. Crum works to bridge the gap between rapidly evolving technology and insightful, more effective human interaction. At Dolby, she builds technologies that best leverage human physiology to enhance our experiences and the ways we interact with our world, using a deep understanding of human behavior, personalized data, and technologies including wearable technology, immersive technology, AI and machine-learning, facial and voice recognition software, and AR and VR to power industry innovation. Dr. Crum’s presentations focus on how personalized technology will continue to shape us as humans, what a future world where we use technology to make ourselves more human, and not less, might look like, and the ways industries and organizations should be thinking about using technology to enhance human performance and communication. A 2018 TED and SXSW speaker, Dr. Crum is exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau.

In fast-paced and thought-provoking presentations that encourage audiences to embrace new technology rather than fear it, Dr. Crum dives deep into the advancements that will change the world in coming years. Whether exploring how technology will be able to predict the future onset of a life-altering medical conditions just by picking up on changes in speech patterns, or how we will eventually be able to “retrain” our brains as we sleep to improve daily function, Dr. Crum helps organizations embrace change while reframing the ways they think about everything from talking to consumers and understanding demographic patterns to amplifying personalization in products and marketing strategy. Noting that many behaviors today wouldn’t be possible without the advent of new technology and data collection, and that everyone experiences the world in a unique way, Crum’s presentation encourages audiences to consider how technology can improve the collective human experience as well as products and services offered by specific industries. She believes the power of intelligent technologies is only realized with dynamic optimization and learning of as much of our personal and contextual data as possible.

At Dolby, Dr. Crum directs the growth of internal science. She is responsible for integrating neuroscience and sensory data science into algorithm design, technological development, and technology strategy. At Stanford, her work focuses on the impact and feedback potential of new technologies including gaming and immersive environments such as Augmented and Virtual Reality on neuroplasticity and learning.

Dr. Crum is a US representative and vice-chair to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and a member of the Stanford Research Institute Technical Council. She is also a member of the Board of Industry Leaders for the Consumer Technology Association. Prior to joining Dolby Laboratories, she was Research Faculty in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where her neurophysiological research focused on understanding the neural correlates of how we hear in a complex acoustic environment and the functional circuitry of the auditory cortex.

She is a Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society, and a 2018 recipient of the Advanced Imaging Society’s Distinguished Leadership Award. She is a 2017 recipient of the Consumer Technology Association’s Technology and Standards Achievement Award for work towards the introduction of over-the-counter hearing-aid devices. She was named to Billboard magazine’s 100 most influential female executives in the music industry. Prior to academic study as a neuroscientist and work in industry, she was a performance violinist.

Dr. Crum is a frequent speaker on topics related to the intersection of human experience, artificial intelligence, sensory data-science, and immersive technologies.

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Dr. Poppy Crum: How Humans Will Evolve with Technology

Poppy Crum: Technology Knows What You're Feeling | TED

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VIRTUAL OFFERING - Restoring Our Sense of Safety and Social Freedom: The Role of Technology in a Post-Pandemic World. Life has changed and will be changed forever on. Our sense of safety in public space – planes, movie theaters, work environments...  is broken. However, in this talk, Poppy will discuss how the consumer technology we surround ourselves with every day paired with AI and machine learning have been used, and are accelerating to play a new role in helping us re-establish safety in the spaces and environments we share, as well as informing our own sense of health.

Ironically, she reveals that the technologies that may give us the most pause in our sense of personal freedom are, in fact, the technologies that can most help restore our sense of safety and social freedom with each other in our new normal. The ubiquity of sensors in our environments, in our consumer devices, and on our bodies as wearable technologies, all paired with AI, is becoming one of the most powerful indicators of our mental and physical wellness. This network is gathering and learning the signatures of the biological digital footprints we each share – our breath, heart rate, vocal patterns, and more. And Poppy will share how it will become an intimate partner in helping us come back together with a new sense of freedom in our own personal wellness and confidence to re-establish social safety in how we work and play. 

VIRTUAL OFFERING - AI for Medical Insight: Caring for Our Health Without Leaving Our Homes. A critical strategy in managing the spread of Covid-19 was simple in concept, but difficult in practice – remove all physical social interaction. This could be done by many of us as we stayed in our homes and worked remotely, but impossible for those on the front line of critical care (like doctors, nurses, and emergency responders). To avoid crowding medical facilities, people are recalibrating their own daily risks to avoid unplanned emergency medical care, and instead caring for themselves.

In this talk, Poppy will discuss the transformative role consumer technology paired with AI can play from our homes in supporting our health diagnostics and remote medicine. How the ubiquity of sensors in our environments, in our consumer devices, and on our bodies as wearable technologies, all paired with AI, is becoming one of the most powerful indicators of our mental and physical wellness – gathering and learning the signatures of the biological digital footprints we share from our breath, heart rate, vocal patterns, and more. For instance, AI algorithms are able to accurately detect an individual ill with Covid-19 by assessing their speech characteristics. Even the ear buds we wear to listen to music can provide health insights to indicate if we should contact a doctor or are safe to go into the office or get on a plane. This presents an unprecedented opportunity to gather rich personal data to empower health professionals to a provide truly personalized medical assessment and treatment plan through remote diagnostics. All from our own living rooms. By using the same devices we use to listen to music or watch a movie, Poppy will share how we can be part of improving our own safety, the safety of the frontline healthcare workers, and increase our own quality of care.


Optimizing Human Performance Through Technology. In a stunning presentation packed with visuals and interactive exercises, Dr. Poppy Crum explores the human and consumer applications of rapidly-advancing technology. Ticking through the many ways smart technology will improve our lives in years to come, Dr. Crum paints a picture of a future society where companies better understand how customers experience their individual worlds to provide them with products that match their specific needs, where doctors more quickly diagnose and treat patients, where our brains evolve to see at the same resolution as computers, and where the  human capacity for knowledge is expanded exponentially. An optimistic and inspiring overview of a technology-enabled future where human capacity and performance is turbo-charged, as well as the ways organizations can embrace this change now, Dr. Crum argues that technology will not replace human interactions and experiences—but rather make them better than we could ever imagine.

Democratizing Technology To Better Our Collective Future. Here, Dr. Crum explores the impact of democratized technology to enhance and elevate society. As Dr. Crum explains, human beings have essentially been in the “Dark Ages” when it comes to understanding how our environment affects us personally. But, in a future world where technology is proliferated and utilized more efficiently globally, human beings will not be destined by the conditions they grow up in or by their past experiences. An uplifting look forward, this speech explores the ways technology will affect society and relationships to create a more unified and productive world.

How Personalized Data Will Change The Way We Experience The World—And Why Not To Fear It. Each day, consumers and organizations hear new stories about the ways data can and has been misused. But personalized data is an empowering tool that will change human experiences in profound and positive ways. In this high-level presentation, suited for decision-making audiences, Dr. Poppy Crum explores why we should care about personalized technology, shares examples of personalized data and ubiquitous sensing working well now, and looks at the ways it will allow us to experience the world differently moving forward.

The Future of Storytelling. New technology has not only allowed for new products and human experiences, but also new ways of storytelling. As changing forms of media grow in popularity and scope, businesses are also able to connect with audiences in previously unimaginable ways. Here, Dr. Crum looks at the future of storytelling and what audiences concerned with changing media ought to be paying attention to now.

How To Get New Technology Into The World. As Chief Scientist at Dolby Laboratories, Dr. Crum is aware that, oftentimes, regulatory legislation is not written to necessarily optimize technology. Here, Dr. Crum helps businesses with innovative or new technologies and models think through how to overcome hurdles and get new ideas out into the marketplace rapidly.

Additionally, Dr. Crum can specialize her speeches to include:

  • Hearable and wearable technology
  • Immersive technology and sensory experience
  • New dimensions of human experience and interaction through intelligent technology, facial and voice recognition software, sensors, and computational advancements
  • Successful futures for Human / AI collaboration
  • Neurophysiological and neuroplasticity insights towards consumer technology innovation 
  • The probabilistic nature of human experience and what that means for technology

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