April 2018 Published in Forbes
When we think of the challenges currently facing artificial intelligence, what are the first things that come to mind? A quick scan of forums and newspapers will show there is no shortage of debate on how AI could have a negative impact on society, ranging from humans being out skilled by robots to existential concerns.
While most of these concerns are largely a product of fear and fantasy, there is one undeniable and immediate challenge facing the industry – that of gender inequality.
Let’s put things into perspective: a new report released this month has found that only 18% of authors at leading AI conferences are women, and more than 80% of AI professors are men. Moreover, women comprise only 15% of AI research staff at Facebook and 10% at Google.
Despite all the buzz and excitement surrounding AI at the moment, it is wrong to assume the industry is immune from pressing societal issues like diversity. Women are clearly underrepresented in the AI sector, and these findings pose a significant question to consider – is AI at risk of perpetuating gender inequality rather than solving it?
At Fountech, we firmly believe women need to have an active role in shaping current and future generations of AI technologies, ensuring gender stereotypes are not reproduced. Second to this, we must identify how AI can be effectively employed in both business and social environments to help eradicate gender bias and promote gender equality.
Fountech is committed to promoting gender equality and setting an example for the rest of the industry to follow. Indeed, we were pleased to welcome Chloe Chira to the Fountech team as our new AI SystemDeveloper this month. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge on AI and robotics, and this is complemented by her creative and artistic approach to models.
Looking to the future, it is important not to let news of the technological breakthroughs overshadow the diversity challenge. This is not something that can be addressed overnight; rather, it demands cooperation from the public and private sector and a willingness to actively encourage women to consider a career in AI. Every organisation has a part to play, and by addressing this challenge, we can ensure AI ushers in a new era of gender equality where everyone stands to influence and benefit from the latest innovations.