A recent New York Times article released a list of people “behind the dawn of the modern artificial intelligence movement” – and not a single woman was named. It came less than a week after news of a fake auto-generated woman being listed as a speaker on the agenda for a software conference.
Unfortunately, the omission of women from the history of STEM isn’t a new phenomenon. Women have been missing from these narratives for centuries.
In the wake of recent AI developments, we now have a choice: are we going to leave women out of these conversations as well – even as they continue to make massive contributions to the AI industry?
Prior to computers as we know them, “computer” was the title given to people who performed complex mathematical calculations. These people were commonly women.
One 2018 study of 4,000 researchers who had been published in leading AI conferences found women made up just 12% of this group.
The omission of women isn’t limited to the AI industry, or even to STEM. As historian Bettany Hughes notes, women occupy a meagre 0.5% of recorded history.
A lack of gender diversity in AI has a demonstrated ability to harm and disadvantage women and, by extension, all of us. While many argue that improving AI training datasets could address the gender gap, others rightly point out that women should also be included in data-collection processes