We are truth-tellers. And here’s the truth. If women aren’t encouraged, supported and given opportunities to follow a career path in artificial intelligence (AI), this incredible technology has the power to re-wire the human condition. Scary?
The YWLAI initiative is a program is specifically designed to promote representation of women in AI. It is based on the premise that a diverse range of talent working in the design and development of AI technology will help ensure applications and algorithms reflect a more balanced view of society, in a technology that has the potential to completely change the way people and organisations interact.
The program, which has secured funding from the Australian Federal Government’s Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE) program, will be built around an annual leadership camp, and provide successful applicants (up to 75 in year one) with ongoing mentorship, local events and a pool of scholarship opportunities to support career advancement. The initiative includes an online education campaign highlighting issues in AI gender bias, and featuring some of the brightest minds working in cutting-edge organisations in the field of AI.
Ashley Howden, CEO of KJR said: “AI is enabling rapid transformation of technology and automation and is poised deliver a seismic shift to industry in all its functions. At its greatest success, AI will fundamentally enhance the sophistication of the human condition. But, there is great risk to the viability of such advancements with a severe lack of women engineering and constructing AI, which will result in an inherent and exclusionary gender bias in AI judgment processes.”
“The Young Women Leaders in AI program will address the issues arising from gender inequity in the technology industry, and foster spokespeople and social diversity in AI for the future.”
Director of IntelliHQ Kelvin Ross said: “As an employer, it’s important to recognise that the future of successful AI is largely dependent on the contribution and involvement of women in our industry. Through the program we are incentivising their career development and bringing forward social diversity and equality in AI. It’s truly an exciting, and important opportunity to shift the direction of AI.”
Celeste de Mezieres, Griffith University electronic and biomedical engineering student said: “The field of engineering is rapidly evolving to integrate AI and machine learning algorithms into standard practice. One aspect that these systems struggle to emulate is emotional intelligence (EI) and as research indicates, this is an area that women often excel in.”
“It’s these kinds of programs that serve as platform to launch bright and engaged women into the AI industry.”
The YWLAI program centres on an annual, six-day leadership camp, commencing in April 2019 on the Gold Coast. The Leadership camp graduates will undergo a year-long ambassador program to secure local leadership roles in AI with continued mentoring on a national scale. The program is open to participants in all Australian states and territories, and successful applicants will be offered a sponsored place at the camp. Associated industry sponsors are invited to fund a scholarship to financially incentivise young women to pursue AI careers, and to provide female mentorship.
While official applications for the April 2019 intake are not yet available, if you’re interested in participating in the program, sponsoring or becoming a mentor, more information is available at http://womeninai.com.au/