Artificial intelligence has a serious diversity problem. Algorithms that increasingly influence much of our daily lives are created by technologists who aren’t necessarily doing the best job representing gender, racial or economic diversity.
That’s why the West Virginia University Reed College of Media teamed up with MediaShift to co-host “Hack the Gender Gap: A Women’s Hackathon on Diversifying AI,” which brought together college-aged women from around the country to add their voices to the emerging artificial intelligence market.
The three-day event kicked off on Nov. 9 with a special guest symposium, featuring women at the forefront of tackling AI’s diversity problem. The panelists and attendees outlined some of AI’s risks, including emerging threats to privacy and the danger of replicating existing institutionalized biases in AI. The panel also explored the opportunities to create a more diverse AI that can benefit communities around the world. The symposium was open to the public, giving a larger audience the chance to join the conversation.
Student participants broke into teams with faculty and professional mentors as the women’s hackathon began on Nov. 10. This event gave participants a deep dive into the current state, problems and opportunities facing AI, and offered a series of creative exercises and fast-paced activities for teams to brainstorm solutions for a more inclusive AI that meets the future needs of a diverse society.
Prior to the symposium, hackathon participants and other guests were given the chance to meet our speakers for evening and mingle with one another.
Evening welcome and introduction to panel provided by Maryanne Reed, Dean of the WVU Reed College of Media.
While the Hackathon was a women’s only event, the symposium was open to everyone, giving a larger audience the chance to join the conversation. The symposium explored how innovations like artificial intelligence can unite and empower us, while also confronting how it can divide us.
Welcome and inspiration provided by Dana Coester (WVU), Erin Reilly (Reillyworks) and Erica Anderson (Google News Lab). Rules and logistics provided by Mark Glaser (MediaShift).
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