Guests at Thrivals 4.0 will find out Sept. 21 when Watson, a talking supercomputer created by IBM, competes in a Jeopardy!-style game show format against audience members and special guests.

A 40-year project by IBM, Watson represents the cutting-edge of artificial intelligence. The computer and IBM program manager David Shepler will headline the afternoon segment of “Thrivals 4.0: The Future of Learning,” a daylong cross-disciplinary, thinking and learning experience created by UofL professor Nat Irvin that will kick off Idea Festival Sept. 21 at the Kentucky Center for the Arts. To see Watson in action, check out recent news coverage by CBS news .

University of Louisville students are eligible for free tickets by registering at Idea Festival.

UofL is one of four presenting Idea Festival sponsors. Founded in 2000, the event brings together thinkers and innovators to discuss and celebrate imagination, new perspectives and transformational ideas. Most of the sessions occur at the Kentucky Center for the Arts.

As a sponsor, UofL has given away several hundred free tickets for more than 20 Idea Festival sessions. UofL and individual schools, departments and faculty members also are sponsoring or participating in several events at the festival.

Thrivals 4.0

Created by Irvin, a College of Business professor and futurist, Thrivals 4.0 kicks off the Idea Festival with a showcase of trends, technology and personalities who have overcome socio-economic, geographic and age barriers to learning. Irvin said one of the big themes to be discussed at Thrivals is the idea of computers approaching human intelligence.

“What does it mean for our schools? What does it mean to families? How does it impact medicine?” Irvin said. “This is just the beginning of a revolution.”

Besides speakers Watson and Shepler, presenters include Sugata Mitra, developer of the “Hole in the Wall” and “Granny Cloud” learning experiments; Al Letson, poet, playwright, actor and host of the public radio sensation, “State of the Re:Union;” George Christ, pioneering professor of regenerative medicine at Wake Forest University, who uses new technology, stem cells and an inkjet printer to literally print new body parts; and the entire Wondaland Arts Society featuring Grammy nominees Janelle Monae and Nate Rocket Wonder.

Thrivals 4.0, sponsored by UofL’s College of Business, is 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sept. 21, at the Kentucky Center for the Arts. Tickets for the event, which are separate from Idea Festival tickets, are $49 and include lunch. They are available at the Kentucky Center website.

The Other Wes Moore

Wes Moore, the author of this year’s UofL Book-in-Common “The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates,” will speak 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m., Sept. 23, Kentucky Center for the Arts. He’ll discuss his book, which is about two young men from Baltimore with the same name, who ended up on drastically different life paths. Moore will also visit UofL Oct. 18 for a free, ticketed public talk. Tickets will be available to the public starting on Oct. 7. More information.  

Roundtable Conversation on Aging

University of Louisville Physicians and Advisors group will host a roundtable discussion related to aging. The free, public event is 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Kentucky Center for the Arts. Topics include “Better with Age: Valuing Older Adults in our Society,” “What Support Services are Available in Our Market,” “What are the Facts Regarding Health and Wellness over 65,” and How Can We better Position in our Region to Address Geriatrics Concerns, including Alzheimer’s.” Christian Furman, UofL geriatrics, will moderate. 

The Kentucky Film Educators Summit

Two UofL professors will participate in the Kentucky Educators Film Summit. Tom Byers, English professor, director of the Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society and acting director of Film and Digital Media Studies; and Sena Jeter Naslund, writer-in-residence, will be a panelists. The complete panel will discuss the rise of cinema studies and filmmaking programs in higher education, their usefulness, their future and what it takes for programs to thrive. The event is 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 21 at the Kentucky Center. Admission is free and open to the public.