Upcoming Events: San Francisco

Wed 10/7

Image -  The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine W

The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World

Date: Wed, October 07, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Professor Pedro Domingos

Pedro Domingos, Professor, University of Washington; Co-founder, International Machine Learning Society

Machine learning is the automation of discovery – the scientific method on steroids – that enables intelligent robots and computers to program themselves. No field of science today is more important yet more shrouded in mystery. Pedro Domingos gives us a peek inside the learning machines that power giants like Google all the way down to the smartphone in your pocket. These programs are already helping us fight the war on cancer and predict the movements of the stock market, and they are making great headway with instant language translation and discovering new laws of nature.

Leading us through machine learning’s five major schools of thought (neuroscience, evolution, psychology, physics, and statistics) Domingos assembles a blueprint for the future universal learner – the Master Algorithm – and discusses what it means for you and for the future of business, science and society.

Image - Anne Marie Slaughter

Anne Marie Slaughter

Date: Wed, October 07, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Author of Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family

Women Can’t Have It All: Women Men Work Family

Anne Marie Slaughter, President and CEO of New America
In conversation with Clara Jeffrey, Co-Editor, Mother Jones Magazine

With the publication of her 2012 Atlantic article “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” Anne Marie Slaughter initiated a flood of discussions surrounding the wage gap, the role of family in the workplace, and the challenge of balancing career success with a fulfilling home life. Writing openly about her decision to leave her job as the director of policy planning under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Slaughter prompted a rich conversation about how men and women define success in the 21st century, and she broke the record for unique page reads on the Atlantic’s website. Slaughter’s newest book, Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family, expands upon this topic and offers a vision of true equality for working men and women. In Unfinished Business, Slaughter combines well-researched social theory, candid personal anecdotes and bold action steps to combat gender inequality in the workplace and at home. Join us as we unpack it all.

Thu 10/8

Image - San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Date: Thu, October 08, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
A neighborhood adventure with Rick Evans
Explore San Francisco’s Financial District with historian Rick Evans and learn the history and stories behind some of our city’s remarkable structures, streets, and public squares. Hear about the famous architects that influenced the building of San Francisco after the 1906 Earthquake. Discover hard-to-find rooftop gardens, Art Deco lobbies, unique open spaces, and historic landmarks. This is a tour for locals, with hidden gems you can only find on foot!
Image - New Member Reception

New Member Reception

Date: Thu, October 08, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
Bring a friend and explore the Club together!

Are you new to the Club? Just want to explore and check it out? Come take a peek, meet other members and staff and learn about all The Commonwealth Club offers. Experience firsthand how The Commonwealth Club has become the nation’s leading public forum. Bring a friend and explore the Club together!

Fri 10/9

Image - Scott Shane: National Security Reporter for The New York Times

Scott Shane: National Security Reporter for The New York Times

Date: Fri, October 09, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Scott Shane, National Security Reporter, The New York Times; Author, Objective Troy: A Terrorist, a President, and the Rise of the Drone; Twitter
Philip W. Yun, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, Ploughshares Fund—Moderator

Objective Troy tells the gripping and unsettling story of Anwar al-Awlaki, the once-celebrated American imam who called for moderation after 9/11 but ultimately directed his outsized talents to the mass murder of his fellow citizens. Awlaki, who devised a plot that almost derailed Obama’s presidency, and then taunted him from his desert hideouts, will go down in history as the first U.S. citizen deliberately hunted and assassinated by his own government without trial. But his eloquent calls to jihad, amplified by YouTube, continue to lure young Westerners into terrorism—resulting in tragedies from the Boston marathon bombing to the murder of cartoonists at a Paris weekly. Hear Scott Shane discuss the years of reporting that went into this masterful chronicle of our times.

Mon 10/12

Image - David Brock

David Brock

Date: Mon, October 12, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
Inside his Democratic war rooms

David Brock, Founder, Media Matters; Author, Killing the Messenger: The Right-Wing Plot to Derail Hillary and Hijack Your Government 
James Lance Taylor
, Professor and Chair, Department of Politics, University of San Francisco—Moderator

With the acumen of a seasoned Democratic activist, Brock takes readers inside his Democratic war rooms and their constant struggle with Republican candidates for control of the story lines and messages that will decide the 2016 election. He’ll provide a no-holds-barred playbook for what he says the new right-wing elite will do in this election cycle and what engaged and informed citizens who oppose them can do.

Living in the Material World

Living in the Material World: The Future of the Humanities

Date: Mon, October 12, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Professor Caroline Winterer

Caroline Winterer, Director and Anthony P. Meier Family Professor in the Humanities, Stanford Humanities Center; Professor of History and of Classics at Stanford University
Russell Hancock, Pianist, Saint Michael Trio, and President and CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley
Judy Salter, Board Member, Cal Humanities, and former President and CEO of Turtle Bay Exploration Park

The runaway success of material culture in the last two centuries has often overshadowed the pursuit of subtler, more humane forms of happiness and understanding. Recently even the great universities, the last strongholds of liberal education, have been struggling to define the value of critical thinking next to career building. How will these subtler pursuits survive the cultural onslaught of materialism? Join us for another panel discussion of how to live humanely in the 21st century.

Inside Political Campaigns: Money, Ethics and the Future

Date: Mon, October 12, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Can you be both ethical and victorious?

Ann Ravel, Chair, Federal Election Commission; Former Chair, California Fair Political Practices Commission
Ace Smith, Veteran Campaign Manager, Hillary Clinton, Dianne Feinstein, Jerry Brown; Veteran Campaign Strategist
Ben Ginsberg, Veteran Campaign Strategist; National Counsel, Romney for President 2008, and Bush-Cheney Campaigns of 2000, 2004 
Kirk Hanson, Executive Director, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University – Moderator

When it comes to political campaigns, it’s all about the money from various special interests. What monetary rules actually govern campaigns, and how often are they broken? What role will campaign finance laws play in 2016 and beyond? Meet the government official who oversees the financing of federal elections along with two long-time strategists from both sides of the aisle for an inside look at the way political campaigns actually work and a discussion about whether or not it’s possible to be both ethical and victorious.

Tue 10/13

Image - Lethal Generosity: Contextual Technology and the Competitive Edge
This event is Postponed

Lethal Generosity: Contextual Technology and the Competitive Edge

Date: Tue, October 13, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With author Shel Israel

Shel Israel, Author, Lethal Generosity: Contextual Technology and the Competitive Edge
Robert Scoble, Chief Startup Liaison, Rackspace; Author, Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy
Kevin O’Malley, President, TechTalk / Studio — Moderator

"Lethal generosity" is the concept that says by treating your customers with kindness and giving them highly personalized experience, companies will absolutely trump competitive efforts to hijack them. Joined by frequent collaborator Robert Scoble, Shel Israel will present a digital landscape where power has shifted from sellers and brand efforts to buyers who use social media to influence each other — and where he says contextual technologies such as mobile, IoT, data and location allow merchants to treat customers to unprecedentedly positive experiences.

Image - Drilling in the Amazon and Arctic

Drilling in the Amazon and Arctic

Date: Tue, October 13, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Lou Allstadt, Former Executive Vice President, Mobil Oil Co.
Andy Behar, Executive Director, As You Sow
Rene G. Ortiz, Former Ecuador Oil Minister; Former OPEC Secretary General
Leila Salazar-Lopez, Executive Director, Amazon Watch

With oil companies calling for a price on carbon emissions, is the energy industry finally changing its tune on pollution? Oil and coal have fueled economies and lifted people out of poverty. They also have fouled the air, land and water, especially in developing countries where governments are weak or corrupt. How fast will the world transition away from fossils to cleaner fuels? How can individual investors use their retirement accounts to vote for an oil change? How can the fossil fuel sector become cleaner as it evolves toward renewables? Join a conversation about powering the 21st-century economy while still using 20th-century fuels.

Wed 10/14

Dr. Alan Wu
This event is Postponed

Taking Ownership of Your Clinical Laboratory Test Results

Date: Wed, October 14, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
An informed individual makes the best patient

Alan Wu, Ph.D., Director, Clinical Chemistry, Toxicology and Pharmacogenomics Laboratories, San Francisco General Hospital; Professor, Laboratory Medicine, UCSF; Author, Toxicology! Because What You Don't Know Can Kill You and The Hidden Assassin: When Clinical Lab Tests Go Awry

While we’ve changed what we put into our bodies, we have not been engaged with what is being done to our bodies. Roughly 70 percent of all medical decisions are based on clinical lab test results, yet we don’t know what medical tests are ordered or how results are interpreted. For 30 years, Dr. Alan Wu has conducted blood tests for patients and has written four paperbacks based on real cases, and he believes that an informed individual makes the best patient.

Image - Ben Bernanke: Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve

Ben Bernanke: Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve

Date: Wed, October 14, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
An unequaled perspective on the American economy

Ben Bernanke, Former Chairman, Federal Reserve; Author, The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath
In conversation with Michael Moritz, Managing Partner, Sequoia Capital

Part of the Club’s Series on Ethics and Accountability, underwritten by the Charles Travers Family Foundation.

Bernanke was appointed chair of the Federal Reserve in 2006, capping a meteoric trajectory from a rural South Carolina childhood to professorships at Stanford and Princeton, to public service in Washington. There would be no time to celebrate, however – the bursting of the housing bubble in 2007 set off a domino effect that would bring the global financial system to the brink of meltdown.

Now, Bernanke pulls back the curtain on the tireless and ultimately successful efforts to prevent a mass economic collapse. Working with two U.S. presidents and two Treasury secretaries, Bernanke and his colleagues used every federal capability to keep the U.S. economy afloat.

From his arrival in Washington in 2002 to the intense days and weeks of the crisis, and through the Great Recession that followed, Bernanke presents an unequaled perspective on the American economy. For the first time, he reveals how the creativity and decisiveness of a few key leaders prevented an economic collapse of unimaginable scale.

Thu 10/15

Image - Russian Hill Walking Tour

Russian Hill Walking Tour

Date: Thu, October 15, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
An active neighborhood adventure!

Join a more active Commonwealth Club Neighborhood Adventure! Russian Hill is a magical area with secret gardens and amazing views. Join Rick Evans for a two-hour hike up hills and staircases and learn about the history of this neighborhood. See where great artists and architects lived and worked, and walk down residential streets where some of the most historically significant houses in the Bay Area are located.

Image - Charging Ahead: PG&E CEO Tony Earley

Charging Ahead: PG&E CEO Tony Earley

Date: Thu, October 15, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Tony Earley, Chairman & CEO, PG&E Corporation

California creates more wealth per puff of carbon pollution than anywhere else on the planet, and its largest electric utility, PG&E, has become one of the cleanest power providers in the country. Now the state has laid out ambitious new goals for generating an even greener and smarter economy. That means higher standards for renewable energy, mandates for new ways of storing electricity, a concerted push toward electric vehicles and new approaches to pricing the power that runs our connected lives.

The transition will mean big changes for two industries with a historic reliance on fossil fuels: investor-owned power utilities and traditional automakers. What role will these century-old pillars of commerce play in the new energy ecosystem? With a host of start-ups and big names in high-tech challenging old business models and vying for pieces of the clean energy market, can they prove innovative enough to adapt and succeed in a carbon-free future?

In the run-up to the United Nations climate conference in Paris, join us for a conversation about powering the California of tomorrow.

Fri 10/16

Image - Wendy Davis and The War on Women

Wendy Davis and The War on Women

Date: Fri, October 16, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
A trailblazing women’s rights activist.

Wendy Davis, Democratic Politician; Former Texas State Senator 
In conversation with Sandra Fluke, Social Justice Attorney

"Something special is happening in Austin tonight #StandWithWendy" —

In June 2013, Senator Wendy Davis was propelled into the global spotlight as she attempted an eleven-hour filibuster to block a Texas state senate bill that would dramatically restrict abortion in Texas, an effort that kept over 180,000 people glued to the live stream and made national headlines.

Today, Davis continues to act as a trailblazing women’s rights activist by fundraising for Planned Parenthood and defending it from recent public attacks. Davis is also in the process of starting a new women’s initiative that will attempt to expand opportunities for young women.

Join us for a discussion about the powerful effects women in leadership positions can have and learn about Davis’ plan to enlist more people in her effort to combat what she sees as a war on women.

Mon 10/19

Image - Chinese Medicine and Managing Diabetes

Chinese Medicine and Managing Diabetes

Date: Mon, October 19, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

John Nieters, Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine; Certified in Integrated Diabetes Care, XinHua Hospital

Dr. John Nieters will share his experience in treating diabetes, drawing on both ancient and modern solutions intended to control diabetes or reduce the risk of becoming diabetic. Learn about his method of implementing tools from five branches of traditional Chinese medicine with technological advances of Western medicine. Also discover early warning signs and how to turn around a pre-diabetic condition through case studies that illustrate the impact of these treatment protocols.

Longevity Explorers Discussion Group: Better Aging. You. Your Parents.

Date: Mon, October 19, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

This regular discussion group will be exploring new and emerging solutions to the challenges of growing older. Not only will we be uncovering interesting new products at the intersection of aging and technology, we will also be conducting a series of ongoing deep dive discussions into topics like brain health, apps for seniors, hearing and wearables for seniors. The results of our discussions will be shared with a larger community of older adults interested in improving their quality of life through our partner in this initiative, Tech-enhanced Life, PBC. The discussions will be facilitated by Dr. Richard Caro, whom many of you have heard speak at prior grownups forum events.
Image - Adam Johnson: Pulitzer Prize Winning Author

Adam Johnson: Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author

Date: Mon, October 19, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Adam Johnson, Associate Professor, Stanford University; Author, The Orphan Master’s Son and Fortune Smiles

Kathryn Ma, Author, The Year She Left Us and All That Work and Still No Boys; Jury Member, The Commonwealth Club’s California Book Awards — Moderator

This program is part of the Good Lit series underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his acclaimed and bestselling novel The Orphan Master’s Son, Johnson is one of America’s most provocative and powerful authors. In his latest novel, Fortune Smiles, he continues to give voice to characters rarely heard from while offering something we all seek from fiction: a new way of looking at our world. In six masterly stories, Johnson delves deep into love and loss, natural disasters, the influence of technology, and how the political shapes the personal. Unnerving, riveting and written with a timeless quality, these stories confirm Johnson as one of America's greatest writers and serves as an indispensable guide to our new century.

Tue 10/20

Image - Liberation of the Philippines 1945: A 70th Anniversary Commemoration

Liberation of the Philippines 1945: A 70th Anniversary Commemoration

Date: Tue, October 20, 2015
Time: 11:30 AM

Michael Armacost, Former U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines
James Zobel, Chief Archivist, MacArthur Memorial Museum
Richard Keith, Major General (Ret.), Veteran of the Philippines Liberation Campaign, 1945

Join a special gala luncheon to commemorate the liberation of the Philippines by American forces and their Filipino allies in 1945. Guest speakers, along with displays, memorabilia and visual documentation, will be presented.

Image - Surviving to Thriving: Avoid 3 Pitfalls of Grief Keeping You Stuck in the Past

Surviving to Thriving: Avoid 3 Pitfalls of Grief Keeping You Stuck in the Past

Date: Tue, October 20, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM

Michelle Peticolas, Grief and Loss Specialist

Grief, though a natural response to loss, can be disorienting, painful and hard to manage. It can also be the doorway to a more powerful and purposeful life, if you know how to enter it. In this talk, Peticolas will share her practical strategies for allowing feelings without falling apart, how to have closure without losing connection, and ways to relate to others so you minimize conflict and get the support you need. If you are struggling with emotions, feeling stuck or having difficulties with others, she says you might be missing some important tools in your grief toolbox. Come learn her strategies for releasing feelings, letting go and moving forward so you can have a life worth living.