Contact: Dan Law, Director – Thrival;

Date: May 11, 2017


Pittsburgh, PA — The Thrival Innovation + Music Festival has announced the theme, dates, host sites, and a new national partnership for the innovation conference element of the annual, Pittsburgh-based festival.

A two-day innovation conference (preceding Thrival Music), Thrival Innovation “addresses key challenges and opportunities relevant to our local, national, and international ecosystems,” according to Ascender, the Pittsburgh-based nonprofit that presents and produces Thrival each year.

Festival organizers have announced Intelligence: Humans X Tech as the theme for this year, with programs hosted at a variety of locations through Pittsburgh’s East End — including Google Pittsburgh, UPMC Enterprises, the historic Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, and a marquee event at Carnegie Museum of Art — from September 27-28.

Inspired by Pittsburgh’s fast-growing reputation for artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and robotics — bolstered by the presence of Google, Uber, Facebook, Amazon, Carnegie Mellon University, and others — Thrival Innovation will explore the relationship between humans and technology, and how it is rapidly changing the world around us at an unprecedented pace.

“Thrival has grown significantly over the years. In 2017, we have a great opportunity to bring Thrival Innovation to a much broader audience, demonstrating why Pittsburgh’s innovation story is so important to share with a global community,” says Bobby Zappala, Founder of Thrival and CEO of Ascender.

Thrival’s new partnership with NewCo — a San Francisco-based media and event company that “identifies, celebrates, and connects engines of positive change in society” — will draw in an array of national and international thought leaders to the Steel City.

“There is no better place than Pittsburgh to be exploring these topics,” says John Battelle, NewCo CEO and founding editor of Wired magazine.“NewCo works with partners around the world in dozens of cities, and we’re excited to partner with Thrival and our global network to examine a subject with such far reaching impact.”

Through Thrival Innovation, festival organizers intend to present an interdisciplinary and dynamic model to approaching AI challenges and opportunities, while keeping the Pittsburgh experience at the programming core.

“We’re at the frontier of this revolution. AI isn’t just science fiction to us, it is part our daily lives,” says Dan Law, Director of Thrival and Vice President of Business Development for Ascender. “Pittsburghers are catching driverless cars to go to work to in the morning. Everyday, we deal with the opportunities presented by this new technology, but also the consequences.”

A full schedule of Thrival Innovation programs will be released later this spring and early summer, as well as ticket sales and registration information. Thrival Music, a two-day outdoor live music experience, will conclude the festival on September 29-30 at the Carrie Furnaces.

For more information on the festival, visit, and follow Thrival on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. For more information on NewCo, visit