A quick Google search for “women in AI” produces an unsurprisingly short list of female-identifying tech leaders advancing artificial intelligence. Below the initial search results is Google’s, “People also ask” section. The first question: “Can girls study artificial intelligence?” Ironically, this algorithm that identifies commonly searched for questions offers evidence that there is a gender gap in AI.
In fact, women make up only a quarter of AI positions in the industry. It’s never been more important to diversify the field of AI given the threat of bias — if humans are programming AI models, will their personal lens be reflected in the technology itself? Diversity of perspectives and lived experience are critical to weed out unconscious bias and develop effective AI. So the answer to Google’s question is “yes, girls can in fact study AI” and many women are excelling and advancing the field. Here are just a few that caught our attention:
Head of AI & Machine Learning and Member of the Executive Committee World Economic Forum
Kay is one of the foremost experts in the world on the governance of AI. She is a barrister, former judge and professor, technologist and entrepreneur who has an abiding interest in how humanity can equitably benefit from new technologies, especially AI. In her role she addresses many aspects of the beneficial and challenging technical, economic and social changes arising from the use of AI.
Dr. Poppy Crum
Chief Scientist, Dolby Laboratories; Adjunct Professor at Stanford University.
Poppy is responsible for integrating neuroscience and sensory data science into algorithm design, technological development, and technology strategy at Dolby. As a professor at Stanford, her work focuses on the impact and feedback potential of immersive environments, such as augmented and virtual reality, on neuroplasticity and learning. She is on a mission to build technologies that best leverage human physiology to enhance our experiences and how we interact with the world.
Dr. Radhika Dirks
CEO & Co-founder, Ribo AI
A quantum physicist and entrepreneur, Radhika’s work prove that we can combine human intelligence with artificial intelligence to enhance, rather than displace our humanity. Her work dives into the state of diversity in the AI sector, addressing the glaring gender imbalances and outlining the steps for change. She is an advocate for a future that fits our biggest ambitions—and makes the world a better place while we’re at it.
This is only a sample of the many women advancing the field of AI, but we need to continue to diversify. It starts with fostering an inclusive culture within our organizations to expand the representation of women (and all groups for that matter). For companies building AI solutions, diversity, equity, and inclusion among the people building the technology are equally as important as the technology itself to ensure they reflect the broad diversity of their customers and communities.