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Daring Circles
Artificial intelligence


Written by Claire Calmejane, Chief Innovation Officer, Société Générale

Finance is at the heart of the economy, and the opportunities that digitisation and AI provide will help to make finance much more accessible to all and simpler for everyone. It is, however, of the utmost importance to bring in a diverse perspective to this process of further developing AI, as this will contribute to building a more inclusive AI ecosystem. Diversity is an indisputable driver of the economy and creator of wealth. A McKinsey study recently showed that overcoming gender inequalities could contribute to at least $13 trillion in global GDP by 2030.

 But by diversity, I don’t only mean gender or race – age is just as important. Particularly our younger generation, who have been particularly affected by the economic and social impact of Covid-19. I believe it is vital for the new generation to reinvent banking with a diverse pool of talent; if you want to build the future, come into finance and technology.

Because we, at Societe Generale, believe diversity is a key ingredient at the heart of a good innovation engine, we are proud to have recently sponsored two hackathons for teens to increase diversity and inclusion in artificial intelligence – ‘Teens in AI France’ & ‘Girls in AI’. Today, only 15% of Data Scientists in the world are women, which is detrimental to the development of an inclusive and bias-free AI. This gives full meaning to the initiative that aims to demystify AI and encourage young women to go into this profession. Thirteen of Societe Generale’s data scientists, as well as data engineers, design thinkings and business professionals, mentored the teens during the hackathon and came away as being extremely impressed by the quality of ideas.

 My impression as a judge of these hackathons was that the youth are passionate about reinventing the world, and that they bring another angle into how to examine certain problems. Big corporate companies need to make sure these ideas are incorporated into guidelines to ensure that we develop AI and that AI models are inclusive (which is why Societe Generale has produced guidelines on AI & inclusivity).

 In terms of what it means to apply inclusive AI, for me it’s about the possibility of skilling the youth from the outset of their early life to train them about how AI works, and the implication of good and bad AI. I believe in supporting these hackathons for teens because I feel larger corporations need to help support the overall economy, and especially post-Covid as supporting the youth segment. Societe Generale has pledged to support the mentorship of teams as a result, and is looking forward to running our youth programme in September.

 In the future we will live in a world where employability will be skills-based, and traditional education is not the only way to acquire these skills. Because of that I believe in the importance of supporting these hackathons because they provide skills for life, and for everyone.