Women in Big Data Global



Women Shaping AI: A Man’s View

Women in Big Data

By WiBD Team,

October 5, 2017


AI (artificial intelligence) refers to the ability of a machine to learn and perform tasks that are perceived to require human intelligence. AI units mimic humans by performing tasks and solving issues in their environment. They can detect problems and generate solutions. The technology has gone as far as replacing human personal assistants. In the next few years, we will see AI involved in every aspect of our lives.

Because of the fast growth of AI technology, there is need to make sure all aspects of machine learning are dealt with sufficiently to avoid costly mistakes. This can only be achieved when diversity is taken into account. The people employed to create AI platforms should be from different social, cultural and religious backgrounds—and from both genders. At the moment, AI is a male-dominated platform, but things are changing. Although their numbers are still relatively small, women are not being left behind.

Today, there are more women than ever participating and influencing the future of AI, as in the case of Ester Pescio, COO and Co-founder of Rulex Analytics. This is a result of the discovery that women have an important role to play in the field. Men simply cannot achieved the required results on their own. Diversity brings along different ideas and approaches. For this reason, women cannot be left behind in AI. Their contribution is critical to the future of the technology. Why is this so?

The Ability to See Situations Differently

Women tend to look at issues differently than men. They are better at augmented decision-making, as well as solving problems and analyzing situations. Men look at the broader picture while women are more detail-oriented. For instance, when creating a technology that looks at women’s issues, men may not understand the detailed features that relate to women.

When Vanessa Xi, the CEO of YONO Labs, could not find an app for measuring fertility, she went ahead and created YONO, a first-of-its-kind that measures the basal body temperature through the ear to help women track their fertility. This app was created out of need. It addressed women’s needs because, in the first place, it was created by a woman in search of a solution.

When men alone are involved in AI development, they will tend to approach problems only from the male perspective. The result will be intelligent systems that think and act like men. The gender question will not be answered; at their worst, such AI systems may even be prejudiced towards women. As with Vanessa’s situation, women can bring to bear experiences that address situations shaping the future of AI.

The Question of Diversity

When both men and women work together in the AI field, you will find a broad range of ideas and approaches to different situations. Men are wired to think in a particular way, while women might see the same situation from a different angle. Their experiences in life are also different. This means that when they work together as a team, the end product is more likely an AI platform that can handle situations across a broader spectrum. It can make use of the detailed intuition of a woman and the power and strengths of a male figure. The machines created will not just think like men but like human beings.

Women as Nurturers

Women are naturally able to give their all to their ideas. They have the patience, determination and will to work hard to ensure they get what they want. The ability to mother and nurture is a key skill that the field of AI can benefit from. Also, women can better multitask and have better intuition. These are qualities that help them become more productive. While a man may look look at an issue from only one angle, a woman may be able to come up with two or more strategies to enhance the idea. Men also tend to be less patient; when something does not bear the intended results, they quickly give up. Women, on the other hand, do not give up as easily. They are also more empathetic. This means that AI solutions that factor in women will be better able to connect with human beings on an emotional level.

The Need for More Niche Specific Approaches

The Artificial Intelligent field is evolving toward platforms that can handle increasingly specific functions. This means that instead of simple bots that can handle general, uncomplicated tasks, we will see a move to more detailed approaches to tasks. For this to happen, women must be at the center stage of the creation. They can handle issues that require attention to detail better, while at the same time they have the required patience to make sure the innovations bear fruits.

Also, women tend to work together with other people in harmony and trust. Where they are involved in augmented decision making, they are better at solving problems, which translates to growth. You will be able to reach your goals faster as an organization when you include more women. Because women are an essential part of the growth of the explainable AI technology, they should be encouraged to take up more demanding positions, because they have what is required to shape its future. This will ensure that machines do not think like men but like all human beings. The skills necessary involve computer science, psychology, math, and storytelling.

At the moment, few women take up technical positions in AI. This makes it a male-dominated platform. This might not be intentional, but it will be hard for a man to understand and perceive issues from the point of view of a woman. For this reason, there is a need for more women to come in and shape the future of AI.

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