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A LinkedIn chief perfectly sums up why diversity is critical in artificial intelligence

Lianna Brinded
Head of Yahoo Finance UK
Source: Universal Pictures

There are barely any women working in the world of artificial intelligence (AI) and, consequently, the types, products and services that run our lives are being built for only a small section of society.

During a panel titled Women in the New World of Work, the co-founder and vice-president of products at LinkedIn, Allen Blue, perfectly summed up the consequences of having women make up just 22% of the global AI workforce:

“AI and machine learning are becoming fundamental to basically how all pieces of technology are built. So, for example, your phone has it, your bank has it, it’s kind of everywhere. So it’s important, going forward, to make sure that we are designing and building all of that technology the right way.

“The only way to do that is having diverse leadership and people that come from many diverse backgrounds that are actually building that stuff. The tales of biases that are unintentionally built into systems because the data is biased by itself or the choice of the objective functions for a piece of AI are poorly selected, are well known.

“Having a diversity of viewpoints to build those products that are becoming ubiquitous for all of us, rather than just a bunch of dudes who are the people that currently run the technology around this stuff.”

Blue highlighted how the biases in facial recognition software stems from the lack of diversity in the engineering team that would have built the tech and developed the data.

This year, as part of the Global Gender Gap Report 2018, the World Economic Forum teamed up with global jobs site LinkedIn to look at how one of the world’s most lucrative careers markets is faring in the war to gain greater equality in the workplace.

It found that among professionals in artificial intelligence (AI), only 22% of women were represented in the workforce. That amount is three times greater than other industry talent pools, the WEF report said.

Source: WEF/LinkedIn