THE IMPORTANCE OF AN INCLUSIVE AI DURING THESE UNPREDICTABLE TIMES
Our world is facing an unexpected and disruptive crisis. The spread of COVID-19 is causing unprecedented damages everywhere and people are obliged to adapt their behaviours to resist through these multiple transformations. I am certain that many tools are available to propose innovative solutions in order to successfully overcome this situation, taking into account women’s contributions and insights.
Let’s focus for instance on Artificial Intelligence: it is touching every sector of society and industry and deeply changing our daily lives. Despite a rapid development over the past 5 years, businesses have yet failed to engage women as equal partners in shaping the future. Indeed, only 22% of AI professionals globally are women (WEF, 2019).
I am strongly convinced that a better representation of women and diverse mindsets in the development and deployment of AI would reduce the gender stereotypes and the negative consequences they lead to. If that is not the case, evidence suggests that by 2022, 85% of AI projects will deliver erroneous outcomes due to bias (Gartner, 2018).
At the Women’s Forum, along with our partners, we want to make the change happen. It is crucial that women’s contributions and their leadership in the conception of AI are taken into account to have a positive impact on humanity as a whole.
By closing the gender gap, we have the opportunity to improve our chances of harnessing AI as a tool to fight existing disparities. We are committed to promote inclusive approaches in AI, so that we can avoid the real risk that the disparities we see today will worsen for upcoming generations.
Artificial Intelligence will only fulfil its potential to improve our world if everyone has an equal share in its development and implementation. The Women’s Forum strongly believes that the ability of AI to empower women is significant at all levels of society.
I am sure that we need to redesign AI in an inclusive and gender equal way that enables women to lead actions on its development and captures its potential to empower women in society.
This means that progress on inclusive AI and women’s empowerment depend on each other.
In this framework, at the Women’s Forum we launched the Women4AI Daring Circle, a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder working group which advocates for making the design and development of AI truly inclusive. It aims at encouraging organisations of all types and sizes to take tangible action to create an environment where women are not impacted by gender biases in AI and where they can be fully impactful.
Led by Microsoft, the Women4AI Daring Circle gathers Google, L’Oréal, BNP Paribas, Publicis Groupe and AXA, which work in collaboration with FTI Consulting, UNESCO and HEC. Ecole 42, Shearman & Sterling and the Oxford Internet Institute contribute to this Daring Circle as experts.
The Women4AI Daring Circle has the ambition to increase the gender-inclusiveness of the AI ecosystem with a focus on driving change in governance within businesses and organisations, as well as using the benefits of a collective approach to explore how AI could be directed to drive further inclusion of women and all people in different part of society.
After conducting qualitative and quantitative research into the nature of organisational approaches to gender inclusive AI, we launched a Call to Action at the Women’s Forum Global Meeting 2019, for organisations of all sizes, sectors, and from all countries, to apply a gender lens to AI.
This initiative aims at including women in AI development and deployment to mitigate the challenges of gender bias and other societal concerns, and exploring opportunities for AI to address barriers to women’s advancement in society globally. The Call to Action Women4AI has been signed by AXA, L’Oréal, Microsoft, Publicis Groupe, FTI Consulting and UNESCO, which are further committing to share best practices with the aim of catalysing widespread action in the AI ecosystem. I am very proud of this initiative and I completely measure its positive impactful.
And now, what’s next?
In 2020, the Women’s Forum will seek to engage with a broader section of the AI ecosystem, mobilising our outstanding community to influence G7 and G20 agendas to be more daring vis-à-vis inclusive AI.
We are committed to focus not only on how to encourage organisations to bring diverse voices into AI conception, but to explore in tangible terms what the benefits of these voices to AI are.
Given the spread of COVID-19, we are casting our attention to the ways in which this crisis not only impacts women but how women are leading as drivers of solutions.
Through our Women4AI Daring Circle, we will explore ways in which AI is being used as a tool in the context of COVID-19 and we will analyse the gendered perspective to its deployment to address the crisis.
The Women4AI Daring Circle will be at the heart of these important projects, investigating the ways in which AI can foster greater inclusion in society and building collaborations between the members of the Women’s Forum community to test this in practice as a basis for further replication and action.
I heartily thank all our partners supporting the Women’s Forum actions and ambitions to embrace power and purpose.
Let’s engage all together for an inclusive AI!