There is a troubling and persistent absence of women when it comes to the field of artificial intelligence and data science. Women constitute a mere 22 per cent or less than a quarter of professionals in this field, as says the report “Where are the women? Mapping the gender job gap in AI,” from The Turing Institute. Yet, despite low participation and obstacles, women are breaking the silos and setting an example for players out in the field of AI.
To honour their commitment and work done, we have listed some of the women innovators and researchers who have worked tirelessly and contributed significantly to the field of AI and data science. The list below is provided in no particular order.
The brainchild behind and the founder of The Algorithmic Justice League (AJL), Joy Buolamwini, has started the organisation that combines art and research to illuminate the social implications and harms of artificial intelligence. With her pioneering work on algorithmic bias, Joy opened the eyes of the world and brought out the gender bias and racial prejudices embedded in facial recognition systems. As a result, Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM all halted their facial recognition services, admitting that the technology was not yet ready for widespread usage. One can watch the famous documentary ‘Coded Bias’ to understand her work. Her contributions will surely pave the way for a more inclusive and diversified AI community in the near future.
A large chunk of researchers and scholars focus on improving algorithms for the machines to work efficiently. However, Cynthia Rudin, the Duke University computer science professor and engineer, worked tirelessly to utilise the power of AI to serve humanity and help society. As a result, she was bestowed with the Squirrel AI Award for Artificial Intelligence for the Benefit of Humanity 2021. Her research work majorly focuses on machine learning tools that help humans make better decisions, mainly interpretable ML and its applications. In a conversation with us, Cynthia wished that AI could solve the refugee crisis, reverse climate change and help end extreme poverty.
Allie K Miller
Allie is currently the Global Head of Machine Learning Business Development, Startups and Venture Capital at Amazon Web Services. She is in the supporting role for many big AI organisations. In her effort to increase representation, Allie co-founded Girls of the Future, an organisation that showcases girls aged between 13 to 18 who are innovating in the field of STEM. Moreover, she will be presenting the Data and Machine Learning keynote at AWS re: Invent with Swami Sivasubramanian, VP, Amazon AI. She formerly worked at IBM, where she oversaw large-scale product development using computer vision, conversation, data, and regulation.
Dr Lucia is a Natural Language Processing Professor at the Imperial College of London. She built and led the Language and Multimodal AI Lab, managing a team of 20 researchers and her research examines many aspects of data-driven approaches to language processing, with a focus on multimodal and multilingual context models. Her work has benefited several fields, including machine translation, quality estimate, image captioning, and text adaptation. She is currently involved and working on a number of machine translation projects, including multilingual video captioning and text adaptation, which will surely contribute to the advancement of AI-driven technologies in this field.
A prominent advocate of safe and reliable AI, Cassie is currently the Chief Decision Scientist at Google. Recently, she introduced the AI-for-everyone course Making Friends with Machine Learning. Her research interests include applied artificial intelligence and data science process architecture. At Google, Cassie co-founded the field of ‘decision intelligence’ at Google, combining social science, decision theory, and managerial science with data science to better understand how actions lead to results.
Although females are under-represented in the field of AI and technology, all is not lost yet; some incredibly inspirational female pioneers are shaping the world of AI.