Technologies powered by artificial intelligence are already in use all around us, even in aspects of our daily lives where the enhancement is completely undetectable, from the financial sector to healthcare and the apps we use to the news we read. “In the sphere of business, AI is poised have a transformational impact, on the scale of earlier general-purpose technologies,” according to the Harvard Business Review. However artificial intelligence finds its foothold in the future, its impact will touch all of us regardless of who we are and where we come from. This is particularly important in thinking about the ways we approach integrating artificially intelligent systems, whether they’re platform business solutions or household robots, into our lives.
While the technology industry and the field of computer science were once almost entirely dominated by men, the rush of women at the forefront of pioneering AI developments today is only one example of how women are making huge progress in tech leadership. Diversity is important in every industry, and the women shattering the glass ceiling of the tech world embody the workplace evolution ushering in a more balanced work force, from the top down. All three Wibbitz offices around the world represent a 50/50 ratio of male/female staff. In fact, one of our own ceiling-breaking, AI-leading women tops this list of seven women leading the global transition to AI:
1. Lee Levi
Natural Language Processing Developer at Wibbitz
As our Natural Language Processing (NLP) Developer, Lee Levi plays an integral role on the Wibbitz team. Lee is responsible for the tech behind Wibbitz’ text-to-video platform, owning everything related to the way a computer can understand written language. With a degree in computer science and linguistics from Tel Aviv University, Lee has made her career specializing in connecting human language to the future of computers and artificial intelligence. “Everything is going towards AI,” Lee said. “I think women play a huge role in pushing this further.” In terms of NLP specifically, Lee sees how the computer can only “think” how it is trained to think, and can only make sense of the types of materials it is taught to understand. With that in mind, diversity in the fields of NLP and AI are absolutely crucial to ensure computers are trained to be well-rounded and unbiased. Lee works from the Wibbitz R&D (and 45% female) office in Tel Aviv, and in Israel, only 35% of high-tech workers are female. But according to her, this trend won’t last: “Women are as good as men, and I think it’s our time to shine.”
2. Fei-Fei Li
Chief Scientist of AI/ML at Google & Director of the Stanford AI Lab
In addition to her position as Chief Scientist at Google, Fei-Fei Li is also the director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (AND a professor of computer science at the university). Li’s own work has focused specifically on machine learning, language processing, and image recognition, but her overarching commitment to the successful integration of AI into our human lives has rocketed her to the forefront of the AI vanguard. Alongside Melinda Gates and other powerful female technologists, Li is committed to ensuring that women play a leading role in the future of Artificial Intelligence. “AI is about to make the biggest changes to humanity, and we’re missing a whole generation of diverse technologists and leaders.”
3. Hannah Wallach
Co-founder of the Women in Machine Learning Conference
When Hannah Wallach, Jennifer Wortman Vaughan, Lisa Wainer, and Angela Yu attended the Neural Information Systems Processing Conference in 2005, they knew that the fields of artificial intelligence, and in particular, machine learning, were overwhelmingly male-dominated. According to Wallach, women make up only 13.5% of the entire field of machine learning. What they did not expect was to be the only four women in attendance at the entire event, so in response, they started a conference of their own. The Women in Machine Learning Conference serves as a forum for female technologists, inventors, and academics to share their research and accomplishments with others doing AI work across the country and around the world.
4 & 5. Kate Crawford and Meredith Whittaker
Co-founders of AI Now
The AI Now Institute (housed at New York University) bills itself as an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to understanding the social implications of artificial intelligence. Co-founders Kate Crawford Meredith Whittaker, though, have endeavored to go beyond mere understanding. Their recent report out of the Institute outlines the huge and impactful shortcomings of artificial intelligence ethics to date, and takes that diagnostic element one step further by determining a complex and detailed policy roadmap. Their underlying idea is that if AI is to become a crucial part of every industry and civil life, an ethical framework must be established—one that extends beyond responsibility and accountability at the level of individual interests. “We think it’s absolutely critical to start to make diversity and inclusion matter,” Crawford told WIRED. “To make it something more than just a set of words that are being spoken and invoked at the right time.”
6. Jana Eggers
Chief Executive Officer at Nara Logics
Jana Eggers was a mathematician and computer scientist before becoming the CEO of Nara Logics, where she and her team are spearheading a very specific type of artificial intelligence. Nara Logics’ platform utilizes neuroscience-based AI and machine learning technology to build synaptic connections in huge data stores. Their approach is based on the premise that big data only matters if you’re able to build a contextual understanding around any defined dataset. Where many AI platform solutions focus on algorithms that cluster and generalize, Nara Logics drills down to specified, contextualized data matching to help businesses in virtually every industry.
7. Daphne Koller
Chief Computing Officer at Calico Labs
Daphne Koller brings an impressive history of accolades and accomplishments to her work as Chief Computing Officer of Calico Labs. She has been on countless lists of influential people in science and technology, is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, and was a MacArthur Foundation Fellow. Calico Labs, meanwhile, is a Google-funded company working to tackle aging and increase the human lifespan by harnessing advanced technologies to better understand our biology. As Chief Computing Officer, Koller has set out to assemble and lead a star-studded team of world-class experts bridging the fields of biology, artificial intelligence, automation, machine learning, and more.