It is a very uncomfortable truth that there is a wide unfair disparity between Men and Women in Artificial Intelligence. This field is far too male-dominated. A report from a study conducted by wired and Element AI showed that there was only 12 % of female AI researchers in the world. If you go further to add demographics and race to the mix you will find out that a black woman might not make the mix. This is a startling statistic and one that deserves urgent attention. It is more so worrisome because AI is inadvertently going to reshape every aspect of our lives forever yet those developing this technology do not truly represent the society they are set to change.
And that is why high praise should be given to the dogged unrelentless women who against all odds to make an impact in this male-dominated profession.
In 2020 Forbes listed 8 women who were leading in Artificial Intelligence globally and the only black woman on that list was Dr Joy Buolamwini she has succinctly been described as “the conscience of the A.I. revolution.”
The work Dr Joy Buolamwini has done seriously got me thinking deep because up until when I started making my research to write this article on Dr joy’s work, I never knew there could be some sort of bias in the creation of AI algorithms but alas it is true!
Her groundbreaking work on the algorithmic bias as a doctoral student at MIT exposed the racial and gender biases hidden in facial recognition algorithms to the rest of the world. As a result of Buolamwini’s research, Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM all halted their face recognition services in 2020, conceding that the technology was not yet ready for public usage. The new documentary Coded Bias presents Buolamwini’s work in a compelling way.
Buolamwini, through her organization Algorithmic Justice League, is at the vanguard of a growing movement to uncover and solve the social repercussions of biased artificial intelligence technology.
When asked about the uphill task she had to endure to make her discoveries she had this to say:
“When I started talking about this, in 2016, it was such a foreign concept. Today, I can’t go online without seeing some news article or story about a biased AI system. People are just now waking up to the fact that there is a problem. Awareness is good—and then that awareness needs to lead to action. That is the phase that we’re in.”
Joy Buolamwini uses art and research to illuminate the social implications of artificial intelligence. She founded the Algorithmic Justice League to create a world with more equitable and accountable technology. Her TED Featured Talk on algorithmic bias has over 1.5 million views. Her MIT thesis methodology uncovered large racial and gender bias in AI services from companies like Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon. Her research has been covered in over 40 countries, and as a renowned international speaker, she has championed the need for algorithmic justice at the World Economic Forum and the United Nations. She serves on the Global Tech Panel convened by the vice president of the European Commission to advise world leaders and technology executives on ways to reduce the harms of A.I.
As a creative science communicator, she has written op-eds on the impact of artificial intelligence for publications like TIME Magazine and New York Times. Her spoken word visual audit “AI, Ain’t I A Woman?” which shows AI failures on the faces of iconic women like Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, and Serena Williams as well as the Coded Gaze short have been part of exhibitions ranging from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston to the Barbican Academy, UK. A Rhodes Scholar and Fulbright Fellow, Joy has been named to notable lists including Bloomberg 50, Tech Review 35 under 35, Forbes Top 50 Women in Tech (youngest), and Forbes 30 under 30. She holds two master’s degrees from Oxford University and MIT; and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Fortune Magazine named her to their 2019 list of the world’s greatest leaders describing her as “the conscience of the A.I. Revolution.”
On this special International Women’s day, we will love to celebrate Joy Buolamwini and give her, her flowers!
About her was culled from her LinkedIn page https://www.linkedin.com/in/buolamwini/