Responsible AI: Responsible Innovation and Data Science with Alka Roy and Shuchi Rana

By Regina Karson, WiBD US Board Member.

Shuchi Rana, Women in Big Data, Silicon Valley Chapter Director hosted Alka Roy, Founder of The Responsible Innovation Project mid-October 2020 to discuss what Alka termed the journey towards Responsible Innovation and AI. 

These notes are a high-level framework of the talk that you can find in detail at WiBD YouTube. The talk started with the need for the journey of responsible innovation, a practical framework, and closed with a call to action. 

Alka opened with a set of questions: Why does trust matter in the ecosystem of responsible innovation and data science and can we get there? How are we designing our future? And how is that design, designing us? 

She recommended an article by Alexis Madrigal: Tech’s Fractal Irresponsibility Problem on the tech community’s irresponsibility problem, which includes bias in predictive analytics. She also highlighted how the equity problem with technology access impacts trust, as does the pace of technological changes. And this gap continues to grow as the global datasphere grows with IoT, mobility evolution like 5G, AI, and cloud. 

Alka shared a preliminary view of the trust gap with tech companies, governments, universities, and the open source and industry forums from The Responsible Innovation Project’s Responsible AI? survey results. She said the trust gap impacts innovation, adoption, and our future. An updated view of the trust gap from a report released on Oct 30, 2020 is included here.

The need for building AI responsibly has become more mainstream and was listed as Gartner’s top tech trend in June 2020. Alka recognized that we are collectively still trying to figure out how to come up with practical ways to do it. 

The complex and interconnected web of decision making makes it challenging, she said:

  • We have many players in the data business.
  • Our datasphere is complex, fast, and distributed. 
  • Can we have a common decision-making framework?
  • What does it mean to integrate impacts on human well-being into our decision making? 
  • What would the metrics and incentives look like?
  • Is governance enough?

Alka started the Responsible Innovation Project after leaving her role at AT&T’s Innovation Center in 2019 to pursue these questions through a practical framework. The areas of her community and practice-based inquiry include:

  • Input that includes data
  • Decision Making Models and Algorithms
  • Human and Machine Interfaces
  • Emerging Tech and Embedded HardwareShe presented The Responsible Innovation Framework, which was recently covered by Forbes and redefines stakeholders, influence, and value sets. She talked about the importance of aligning business goals with delight, trust, privacy, openness, safety, dependability, and inclusivity. And how through case study exercises, early-stage startups and tech leaders are discovering the flexibility of applying the framework and making it relevant for them.See the video for a drill down on responsible innovation, stakeholders, interconnected values, and the call to action (CTA).

    CTA: reach out to alka@responsibleproject.com if you are interested in learning more and engaging in The Responsible Innovation Project. Their projects are created with community leaders and participation and include roundtable inquiry, toolkit evaluation, case studies, etc. Or read their latest Responsible AI? Survey Results or the latest articles on Trust and AI.

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