Author: Noel Sharkey
Here Noel Shakey writes about Women standing against social injustice in AI.
The need for greater gender and ethnic in diversity in technology is growing from a whisper a decade ago to the roar of a world cup football goal. We can no longer ignore the injustice of a male-dominated algorithmic trade, a despicable parade of inequity and inequality. The naysayers who call out about the discrimination against white males, need to look at the facts of what Joy Boulamwini calls the coded gaze and the increases in algorithmic bias. True, having greater gender and ethnic diversity won’t solve all the problems of unfairness, but it will bleed its greatest excesses. Potential imbalances are less likely to go unnoticed.
In another Forbes article, I interviewed a number of prominent women who have spoken out on the question of gender diversity and why it is so important in the tech community. Companies with more women in senior roles produce greater shareholder returns and an inclusive environment means a greater chance for AI to do good.
Their responses explain how the retention of women in the workplace can be impeded by a dominant white male identity that reproduces itself and its privilege, by harassment, bullying and setting higher standards for women in coding. Problems of recruitment are also emphasized. Hiring often happens by word of mouth or through homogenous networks that reinforce the status quo. And, ironically, algorithms developed to make shortlisting and hiring fairer are so often biased because of a lack of diversity in the teams developing them. It is a self-perpetuating system.
Women Leading in AI
The newest initiative worthy of note is a new network started in May 2018, Women Leading in AI (WLinAI). Their explicit goal is to provide female role models and champions to encourage women in tech to grow both professionally and personally, whose members are women from all walks of life, including leading AI scientists, algorithm coders, privacy experts,politicians, charity sector leaders and academics.
To read the full article please visit the Forbes website.