What does Alexa think?

By Amy Icke

An education working party, led by the GDST, has joined forces with Women Leading in AI, to challenge the inherent biases at the root of artificial intelligence.

Artificial Intelligence is everywhere. It is changing our world. Facial-recognition software is making the justice system fairer, computer-assisted recruitment is transforming the job market and it is revolutionising healthcare diagnostics. Which is great. But only if you’re a man.

Nobody would deny that technology is delivering huge benefits. But there’s also a growing awareness that when we delegate work to algorithms, things can go awry.

Largely reliant on historic data and programmed by a mainly homogenous group of computer scientists, artificial intelligence is replicating the biases of the past and often fails to represent the diversity of the communities it was created to help.

Enter the Women Leading in AI network. Last year, this pioneering group of women from an array of backgrounds decided enough was enough. For too long, the conversations about AI have been dominated by men, whether it is creating the algorithms that supports its day to day use, or discussing the underlying politics of this fast-changing world.

Women Leading in AI, founded in 2018, aims to be a global ‘think tank’ for a network of female thinkers, scientists, academics, businesswomen and politicians to discuss the future of AI – the ethics, bias and governance framework as well as the opportunities and challenges for the future.

This autumn, their work on regulation and policy has now been complemented by an education working party, led by Amy Icke and Rachel Evans from the GDST.

Represented on the working party, are schools, edtech start-ups, universities and lawyers, all united by a common aim to prepare today’s students for an AI future. At the group’s initial meeting, discussions included how to support teachers developing skills and knowledge around AI, the importance of teaching ethics alongside computer science, how to govern (and safeguard) educational data and how to create ‘brilliant digital citizens’. Exploring concepts of privacy, transparency, diversity, pedagogy and curriculum, the group concluded with a shared commitment to supporting educators and students to feel better equipped to navigate our changing world.

The education working party will present their initial findings at the Women Leading in AI conference in November. If you are involved in education and are interested in finding our more about the group, email Amy Icke, Online learning and Innovation Manager, GDST

To find out more about the work of the GDST in this field, watch our 2019 Techathon video.