Equal AI: the open letter

With AI, we’re standing on the brink of a new era. At its best, AI will transform our lives by making technology more efficient, reliable, and capable, opening up tremendous human potential. At the same time, it brings a new danger, of unconscious human biases being programmed into the heart of the technologies that will shape our future.

In France, President Macron has made a strong commitment to challenge these biases in AI. Yet, in the UK, the US, Germany, and other industrialized nations, there has not yet been any broad commitment to address this critical issue, nor have standards been set, for how AI should be created.

According to the WEF “Global Gender Gap” report, it will take 100 years to unlock the potential of gender equality in terms of health, education, and politics, and 217 years to reach economic parity. Without these commitments and standards, AI will not improve — and could in fact make worse — the biases of our societies.

At its best, AI will transform our lives by making technology more efficient, reliable, and capable, opening up tremendous human potential. At the same time, it brings a new danger.

The internet today is inherently unequal, largely because it was created by organizations dominated by men. As we enter the AI revolution that will define our future, women make up less than 30% of research positions worldwide. Across the four largest tech companies — Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook — fewer than 20% of technical roles are held by women.

At the same time, machines are teaching themselves from data sets that reflect or even amplify society’s past and present biases: “Homemaker” is to “woman” as “programmer is to “man”; “mother” is to “nurse” as “father” is to “doctor.”

Committing to diversity in AI leadership and defining the standards by which we will hold all AI will take a society-wide effort — across government and industry.

We are signing this letter to call for a set of standards for AI to make sure they are forces for progress, not impediments to it. Who’s with us?

 

Robert Locascio

Founder and CEO, LivePerson

Arianna Huffington

Founder and CEO, Thrive Global

Baroness Lane Fox

Founder, Doteveryone

Jimmy Wales

Founder, Wikipedia

Justine Cassell

Associate Dean for Technology Strategy and Impact, Carnegie Mellon University

Together we can create #EqualAI

As AI goes mainstream, help us remove unconscious biases and create it equally.

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