In a recent article, WIRED highlighted the extent in which white men are dominating the Computer Science classrooms, with the number of women studying subject falling, despite more women than men earning college degrees. With the ratio of men to women in technology continuing to be a hot topic, the team at RE•WORK have been reflecting on why diversity within the technology industry, particularly in Artificial Intelligence, is so important.
Diversity has notoriously been an issue across a wide range of industries, however technology, in particular, is an area where this needs to be taken seriously, due to its rapid and wide implementation throughout society. Not only is Artificial Intelligence being used in everyday life, but it is also applied in impactful decision making, from helping companies choose who to hire, to being used in the Criminal Justice System to predict the likelihood of reoffending. The potential for positive impact on society is evident, however so far there have been many cases where AI has shown negative biases in its decision making, for example of a racial and sexist nature. Often, in the early stages of development, systems are exposed to a limited data set due to the lack of input from a wide range of people, which results in biases creeping into systems. These biases may not be glaringly obvious, and may not be detected until the product has been rolled out for testing. A diverse team is essential to ensure these biases are identified early on in the process, or even better to prevent them from being there at all.
The lack of varied backgrounds in development is also resulting in the loss of consideration of needs of the diverse audience using the products. We’re currently in a situation where the majority of teams behind AI products are unable to take into account the full wants, needs and problems of its entire audience. Without a team that represents a the visions of a mix of cultures, ethnicities, and genders, Artificial Intelligence will not reach its full potential. Instead, we’re going to be left with a limited service, that instead reinforces stereotypes and fails to gain the trust of their entire audience.
With the aim of increasing accessibility and fairness throughout the entire process of the creation of AI products and services, RE•WORK established the Women in AI Dinner series to bring together a mix of experts, with a variety of backgrounds, experiences, knowledge to generate meaningful conversations about the technology. We’ve heard from many women working within technology who have shared experiences of not always being heard or fully respected by their male counterparts. The Women in AI Dinner Series aims to tackle this by creating an environment where an audience of all genders can come together to celebrate women’s expertise, which creates great benefit to all attendees. Not only are there many networking opportunities throughout the evening, but also chance to hear from global female experts who are applying a range of AI techniques to interesting and valuable projects. If you’d like to join us at our upcoming dinner on the 11th July, you can register your ticket here.