Futurizonte Editor’s Note: Women can change the future of AI. In fact, women can change the future.
Original author and publication date: Valla Vakili – September 25, 2019
Open a web browser. Pick up a newspaper. Search for stories about artificial intelligence and the future of work. While scholarship on the topic is getting increasingly nuanced, you’re still likely to confront dire warnings about how smart machines are coming to take our jobs. Like, all of them.
Tesla and Space X CEO Elon Musk says mass automation is “the scariest problem” facing society because “what’s going to happen is robots will be able to do everything better than us … I mean all of us.” AI pioneer and venture capitalist Kai-Fu Lee believes that the technology could potentially eliminate 40% of existing jobs within the next 15 years.
Beyond their inherent pessimism, these kinds predictions have something in common: almost all of them come from men. Which isn’t surprising. The vast majority of people funding AI, working on AI, commenting on AI, teaching AI, and starting businesses involving AI are men, what Google researcher Margaret Mitchell calls “a sea of dudes.”
We are in fact swimming in male technologists and business leaders, a sea that already is largely responsible for the economic world in which we live—a world in which AI, a rapidly expanding platform with near limitless possibility, is too often imagined as a narrow tool for workplace automation.