Can artificial intelligence really advance gender equality?

Lacey tells me about LifeForce, another AI innovation designed specifically to support women, mothers and single mothers. It is an AI-enabled platform designed to match supply and demand for relief supplies following the Russian invasion of Ukraine: “The initial product design took into account the needs of women and especially single mothers after men were drafted into the Ukrainian resistance effort, as well as the design of its analytics, product creation prioritization, and ticketing system for delivery support and community-driven assistance. Another low-tech detail with huge impact was also considered – shelters were designed and built with integrated children’s play areas.”

Brianne Kimmel – the founder of Worklife Ventures and today the world’s most active investor in generative AI – believes that AI is the greatest force for equality and democratic ideals we have ever known. Brianna doesn’t think gender bias is inevitable in AI, and tells me she’s seen many tools that help people, especially men, be more empathetic and give women an equal voice in meetings: “Poised, an AI -powered meeting assistant, gives you real-time metrics like interruptions, filler words and talk time during a meeting. This is especially helpful for managers to empower and invite junior staff to share their ideas in meetings. We’re seeing a whole new wave of tools helping us be kinder in email and other forms of written communication, giving credit where credit is due. Future promotions are based on contribution and merit, not just having the loudest and most confident voice in the room.”

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dr Emilia Molimpakis, neuroscientist and CEO and co-founder of thymia, explains how the problem of bias in AI can help us develop real-world solutions.

dr Emilia explains that while AI can be an incredibly powerful tool, if not developed responsibly, ethically and with great care, it can open the door to significant biases of all kinds, including gender bias. To say, “That’s because AI can’t think for itself; It can only make inferences based on the data sets it was trained on. So if the data is collected in a way that is inherently biased, it will introduce biases into the model as well. For example, in a model attempting to estimate the prevalence of depression, if there are more women than men in the dataset, or there is not an equal split between women and men with high and low depression scores, or the researchers include only women with high depression scores and men with low scores, you can easily imagine the model then assuming that any new woman it meets is more likely to have a high depression score by nature.”

Continue to tell me that “women are so often underrepresented in research and data — particularly in fields like healthcare — resulting in many public datasets being inherently biased against them in various ways. It is up to the researchers developing the AI ​​tools to continually look for such biases in their datasets and in the models themselves in order to detect and correct them. This is considered ethical AI and is best practice. The Alan Turing Institute has published some really excellent guidelines on ethical AI principles, and when researchers follow them, they can easily remove potential gender bias in their models.”

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“For the same reason that AI models can naturally induce bias, they can also be used to dispel unfair biases that are socially ingrained in us humans. If an AI model is fed a balanced dataset based on a diverse group of men and women, all receiving equal pay and moving up through the ranks equally, that AI model will then learn and assume that each new woman or any new man it meets should be treated equally. AI could be used to breathe new life into what a stagnant societal and workplace environment is in terms of gender inequality and could help show with greater objectivity that women and men can and should be treated equally and given equal opportunities.”

As we live in the midst of an AI revolution, the most important thing we can do is stay current. AI and its future is not something that has to happen to women. Maybe for women?