Today is International Women’s Day
2018 is going to be the year when the world makes significant progress for gender parity, and a spotlight is shined on the visibility, excellence, issues and importance of women in technology. Hashtags like #HereWeAre, #changetheratio, #MeToo, #TimesUp and #sheinnovates have made Twitter, and social media in general, sit up and engage in prominent forums about diversity, and high profile women like Melinda Gates have led the charge to promote the importance of women in tech.
Let’s face it, tech might be the most fast-paced and progressive industry on Earth, but it is lagging behind when it comes to tackling the major gender gap inherent in almost every field of science and technology.
According to Women in Tech the number of women working in the technology sector is significantly lower than most UK work sectors. Just 17% of those working in tech in the UK are female.
Furthermore only 7% of students taking computer science at A-Level are female, and only 50% of females that study IT and technology subjects go on to have careers in the field.
Women may be under-represented, but the need for women and female leaders in technology is clear – we need women in roles such as developers, innovation directors, data scientists, researchers and UX designers. As a company working in the development of artificial intelligence, we at Artesian see a clear and present need for women to take key roles, and believe that the industry will be vastly enhanced by a greater presence of women in all roles, at all levels.
A sentiment echoed by Alexa Gorman, Global VP of SAP who recently said “In areas like AI, having more females ensures that the algorithms and data sets develop to better reflect the diversity of the world in general”.
However, according to the 2017 Women in Machine Learning Conference only 13.5% of those working in the field are female.
With this in mind, to celebrate International Women’s Day 2018 we would like to take a moment to recognise the noteworthy accomplishments of Women in AI.
Leading Women in AI
Rama Akkiraju – Distinguished Engineer & Master Inventor
A leader in the mission of “People Insights” (a subject very close to our heart here at Artesian), Rama Akkiraju develops technologies that infer personalities, emotions, tone, attitudes, and intentions from social media data using linguistic and machine learning techniques. Her achievements in the field have significantly advanced the development of bots that really understand people, and can make a meaningful difference in people’s everyday lives.
Fei-Fei Li – Chief Scientist of Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
A renowned academic Fei-Fei’s Li’s mission is to democratise AI, and she believes diversity is fundamental to achieving this aim, saying “We all have a responsibility to make sure everyone – including companies, governments and researchers – develop AI with diversity in mind”. Fei-Fei Li’s accomplishments are many. She has published over 150 scientific papers in top-tier journals and conferences and built ImageNet, a 15 million image dataset that contributed to the latest developments in deep learning and AI.
Rana el Kaliouby – Computer Scientist
Rana has a PhD in Computer Science from Cambridge University. During her studies she identified a lack of research into artificial emotional intelligence, and believes that AI has traditionally been too focused on computational intelligence and not focussed enough on social or emotional intelligence, something she hasworked on redressing ever since. As Co-Founder of Affectiva her contribution to the development of AI technology has proven transformative for many industries.
Hua Wu – Technical Chief, Natural Language Processing
Hua Wu has been responsible for a number of breakthroughs in natural language processing (NLP), dialogue systems, and neural machine translation (NMT). She also built the technology behind Baidu’s conversational AI, which powers home assistants and smart IoT devices
Ayse Naz Erkan – Data Scientist
Ayse Naz Erkan has PhD in Computer Science. A problem solver in the truest sense of the word, she heads up the Content Understanding and Applied Deep Learning team at Twitter, and her work has served to solve the problem of making the social network a safer place.
Jane Wang – Research Scientist
Although Jane Wang doesn’t have a formal computer science background she has nevertheless made a significant contribution to tackling the hardest AI problems, and solving complex tasks though machine learning. Jane is concerned that the steep learning curve and hypercompetitive atmosphere of AI research can discourage diverse participation, and is a shining example of just what women can achieve in the field.
Carolina Galleguillos – Machine Learning Engineer
Carolina Gelleguillos won a government scholarship for a Silicon Valley internship which eventually led her to complete her PhD in Computer Science. Carolina has published computer vision research, and has developed computer vision and machine learning algorithms for giants like Google, Hewlett-Packard, Honda, and Thumbtack.
Visit thumbtack.com for more information.
Devi Parikh – Research Scientist
Devi Parikh has held multiple positions at top research labs and won accolades such as the 2017 IJCAI Computers and Thought award – considered the premier award for AI researchers under the age of 35. She is a leader in the research of Visual Question Answering (VQA) which is vital to the development of conversational agents/chat bots and augmented reality.
Marie desJardins – Professor of Computer Science
Marie desJardins is a leader in goal-driven machine learning and has designed methods an intelligent agent can use to figure out what and how to learn, publishing over 120 scientific papers so far in her career. She believes that whilst at the beginning of her career, the AI and computing industry attracted more diverse, multi-disciplinary talent, over time the direction of focus has actually served to exacerbate the diversity gap in AI.
Rachel Thomas – Data Scientist, Engineer and Researcher
When Rachel Thomas first started researching deep neural networks virtually no educational resources existed online. She made it her mission to change this and co-produced a free Practical Deep Learning for Coders course intended for anyone with reasonable coding skills on applied neural network approaches to develop their skills. As a result she has empowered more women, people of colour, international students, and the economically disadvantaged to participate in AI research and engineering.
Joanna Bryson – Computer Scientist
Joanna has expertise in designing intelligent systems into working AI systems to help understand natural intelligence. She has published many research reports, some of which have been controversial, has consulted The Red Cross on autonomous weapons, and is a member of an All Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence. In 2017 she won an Outstanding Achievement award from Cognition X.
Janna Eggers – Mathematician and Computer Scientist
Janna Eggers works to turn big data into smart action. She is involved in building AI systems that help companies make better decisions (again a subject particularly close to our heart here at Artesian). She focuses on understanding customer needs and creating technology products that customers love and that drive business growth.
Adelyn Zhou – Marketing and AI Influencer
Concluding our roundup is Adelyn Zhou. A recognized influencer in marketing and artificial intelligence (AI) by publications including Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc., Wired. She is working to make AI, machine learning and cognitive technologies more accessible than ever to every business large of small. She is the co-author of Applied Artificial Intelligence: A Handbook for Business Leaders, a practical guide on how to leverage machine learning to increase productivity and revenue.
Of course, there are far more talented women in artificial intelligence than we could ever hope to summarise in a single blog; indeed if we were to try you would literally be reading this all day.
What is clear however, is that these talented women leaders in technology are having a pervasive and meaningful impact in the world of AI, and that every woman, in every role, in any field of technology stands as a role model for a future generation of women working in technology.
They are inspiring a new generation of women to become the computer scientists, researchers, engineers, data scientists, and inventors of tomorrow, thereby redressing the gender inequality balance once and for all.
AI isn’t just for the boys
We are living in a digital age, and computer science and artificial intelligence is the modern day industrial evolution – according to McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), AI is contributing to a transformation of society happening ‘ten times faster and at 300 times the scale, or roughly 3,000 times the impact’ of the Industrial Revolution.
In such fast moving times, we need more top talent, and we need more women.
So today on International Women’s Day we celebrate the importance of women in technology, and the women in AI in particular for their contribution.
From everyone here at Artesian, we thank you for your leadership and the role you have played the development of our business, and the advancement of the technology we are harnessing to equip client facing teams with the resources they need to succeed in a modern commercial environment.