AI Isn’t Intelligent Until It’s Diverse

We speak a lot about artificial intelligence (AI), and the implications that it has for our society. What we speak about less is the dangers of the fact that AI is predominantly created by a limited demographic, and that this has significant implications for its behaviour. Things need to change, and fast; how can organisations and government collaborate to achieve this urgent and important goal?

Last week, I spoke at a panel for the launch of AI Strategy for Sales and Marketing, where pioneers in the field gave their view on the future of AI. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to speak about my transition into technology from a non-technical background and my journey with Code First Girls.

I graduated from UCL with a degree in Spanish and Politics in the throes of pandemic 2020, and which was the trigger point to take the leap to pursue my interest in a technology career.

Since then, I have led multi-award-winning volunteering work to improve diversity in technology, taught ~25 women to code, been featured on the BBC as an intern at Rolls-Royce’s AI Hub (R2 Data Labs), and become a Product Manager at a cutting-edge AI data and analytics start-up.

Whilst I would now count myself as part of the technology community, I didn’t “fit” most of the expectations of a conventionally-successful person in this industry. Even on the most basic educational level, because I didn’t study STEM based subjects at 16, the majority of recruitment processes would already count me as out of the race.

Diversity has been proven time and time again to be a strong competitive edge in the field, however, companies often cite their struggles with finding the candidates.

I would argue that this “talent gap” comes from:

  • The systemic disadvantages faced by underrepresented groups at every step of the education and recruitment funnel
  • A lack of awareness of the potential career avenues open to entry level talent from different backgrounds
  • The digital skills gap in the UK (and beyond) meaning that talent are not accessing the educational resources required to kickstart their journey

As such, it is important to recognise that diverse talent comes from diverse backgrounds. If we want to change the face of the “typical” technology team, we have to democratise tech education, overhaul conventional recruitment processes, and empower talented individuals to shape our digital future.

Alternative routes into technology are so important for bringing more intersectional talent into the industry, and making the most of the creativity, drive and spark that comes from underrepresented voices in the room.

If you’d like to read more about the AI panel and opinions shared, the press release is here: https://aijourn.com/press_release/experts-gather-to-debate-key-ai-issues-explored-in-a-new-book-on-ai-strategy/

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