Let’s talk about artificial intelligence

You’re not alone if you’re unsure what terms like artificial intelligence (AI) mean or struggle to find the will to care. It’s easy to switch off when it comes to tech bro talk. Why do we want machines to be intelligent anyway!? We’ve seen all the movies, and they never end well. 🤖

But care, we should! Women have been under-represented in Silicon Valley, which has led to, among other things, products that aren’t designed for us. If we want our products and the future of the web to be fairer, we have to participate. Let’s start with AI. 

Artificial Intelligence is the study of making computers smart enough to automate tasks. Artificial technology learns from experience, like Siri – ‘she’ can analyse questions and improve future answers based on a continuous feedback loop. It’s not lost on us that Siri (Apple), Alexa (Google), and Cortana (Microsoft), along with other bots, are mostly coded by men but have feminine characteristics. Studies have shown that women are perceived as more warm and ‘human’ than men, so injecting feminine traits into AI is a somewhat problematic attempt at making it more widely accepted. 🤔 

The promise of AI

AI can replace the mundane tasks we do every day. In a workday, take notice of all the repetitive jobs you do; eventually, we’ll free up brain space and time for better things. While early solutions have been criticised for bias and discrimination, women will eventually benefit from AI automation when data models improve. We are skilled in empathy, listening, context-switching, intuition, and collaboration – superpowers for the future of work, where menial tasks should become a thing of the past.

In a work setting, artificial Intelligence is already helping to find talentwrite (future powr edition 😬?), support customers and make decisions. If you haven’t tried Open AI to write a poem for your loved one, you won’t be disappointed.

The perils of AI

Artificial intelligence is useful, but it’s not without its risks. From accelerating the spread of misinformation to the invasion of privacy, AI is only as ethical as the people who develop and use it. From the worst-case scenario of machines that don’t value human rights or the value of life, there are early and smaller signals of the tension between convenience and ethics.

AI-generated art is suddenly everywhere, and many are concerned that we’re about to destroy a bunch of creative jobs – not to mention intellectual property concerns. If you are interested in creating ‘magic avatars’ with apps like Lensa, make sure you read these apps’ privacy and data use policies – it’s your biometric data, after all! As for supporting the creative community, take a minute to google if the app is a known infringer of copyrights – or you might consider commissioning smaller local artists to create digital work for your profile pic. Instagram is full of artists who can produce something unique, and many are eager for commissions. 🫶

How to get involved

Women make the majority of household-related decisions, yet we live in a world where headphones, smartphones, voice-command systems, fitness monitors, and even car airbags have been designed for men. It’s also worth pointing out that women have been known to moderate bad corporate decisions and ensure impacts on wider communities and the world are considered. It sounds like AI needs you.

If you want to be involved in the movement, you don’t have to be a coder. As described by Deloitte, we need leaders across many areas with diversity in perspectives and lived experiences to develop strong and inclusive solutions. Need further inspiration? Here are 30 women owning this space and some communities to spark your interest or set off your search to find one in your local area.

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