There’s been a lot of changes that have taken place for women over the past few years as the fight goes on for equality. However, there’s still a long way to go with roughly only 20 percent of women making up the number of engineers employed at companies such as Facebook, Uber and Google. But that could be about to change, particularly in the world of artificial intelligence (AI).
The percentage of women currently working in machine learning is estimated to be less than 14%. However, with three new major AI policy and advocacy groups in place that are all headed by women, it won’t stay that low for long. One of them is called Partnership for AI and it’s just taken on Terah Lyons as executive director. Lyons was previously employed at the White House Office of Science as a policy advisor working on parts of the Obama Administration. Partnership for AI has been formed in order to “advance public understanding of artificial intelligence technologies and formulate best practices on the challenges and opportunities within the field.”
Another of the groups to be implemented is called AI Now. It is a research institute that’s concentrating on bringing together the engineers making the AI algorithms with those that will be using them. This then pulls in the knowledge and expertise of both fields and will solve everyday issues that people in that field experience daily, opposed to just those what programmers can come up with.
The third group to come about recently is one that focuses on getting women involved in AI training, and it’s called AI4ALL. The organization puts on summer camps at UC Berkeley and Stanford that teach AI to various high school students. Following on from the program’s success, it will be rolled out to four other institutions later this year. However, AI4ALL isn’t completely made up of women, 50% of its staff are men.
Olga Russakovsky is cofounder of AI4ALL and although she is confident the world of AI is changing for women, but whether it will be seen that much this year remains to be seen. “I don’t know if it will change in 2018, but, the shift has started”, she said after seeing what the summers with AI4ALL did for some women. “The change will happen with the next wave of students.”