It was once only an idea that machines would be able to think like humans. With the rapid advancements of technology, however, it is now a reality. It took extensive funding and efforts, but artificial intelligence is now one of the most popular topics on conversation when discussing the future, both in and outside of the industry. It only continues to significantly increase in its role in business and daily life in general. An important aspect of AI, which seems to not be discussed as much as it should be, is the important role that women are, and must continue to have in the world of artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence has already been introduced into many common business practices. It can help generate consumer insights based on knowledge gathered from data, make services more accessible, and improve processes altogether. For example, chat bots are used to help organizations stay on top of their customer service efforts. Chat bots can help answer basic questions, commonly asked questions and channel more complex questions that require human attention to the right department. Another example of AI is that of Open Source Intelligence. Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), is free and unclassified information that is publicly available. Artificial intelligence machines can then be trained to sift through OSINT and learn what to pick up and what not to pick up depending on the potential it might have to help a business. The machine can then learn what information is actually valuable to the business and thus perform this check more efficiently each time. This can save businesses significant time, money and energy and have AI pick up tasks and filtering that a human employee would otherwise take a longer time to do.
As there are many benefits of artificial intelligence, Stephen Hawking also helped to explain the need for diversity in the world of intelligence. In a Reddit online Q&A session about AI, Hawking said, “A super intelligent AI will be extremely good at accomplishing its goals, and if those goals aren’t aligned with ours, we’re in trouble.” Of the leaders that have helped shape the world of artificial intelligence, are a team made up of mostly white men. It is entirely crucial that women and minorities are involved in the development and rollout of artificial intelligence, so that the goals that are represented are those of all. If we are programming computers to think like humans, it is vital that they are not programmed (intentionally or otherwise) with the same prejudices we are trying to fight across the business world and beyond.
So it is vital for women to be working on the development of AI, yet there is a lack of women involved with it- but why? There are many answers to this question. There are undoubtedly gender stereotypes that are very alive in the technology and science areas. Furthermore, according to Marie Desjardins, a professor of computer science at the University of Maryland, women often seek fields with humanistic and communal goals. Desjardins say, “There’s a difference between agentic goals, which have to do with your personal goals and your desire to be intellectually challenged, and communal goals, which involve working with other people and solving problems.” Women often pursue the latter, which is not always associated with artificial intelligence. Even though the technology can improve people’s lives, the research into tech and AI does not highlight this. Thus, those with communal goals may not have as much drive to join the world of AI.
It is vital that the potential for working in the world of AI is explored by all. There are opportunities outside science/tech heavy roles, as AI requires a combination of Maths, Computer Science, Psychology and Storytelling. You can be a part of the development, encouragement and even with how it will affect the day to day for those that will use AI.
There are many ways to get involved, and it is absolutely crucial that more women do in order to ensure AI is built with equality at its core. Indeed, the tech world, in general, needs more women in order to help balance the industry. AI isn’t going anywhere and technology will only advance, so we have to make sure as many women as men are involved to create intelligence free from prejudice or bias.