Back in February 2019, I organised a workshop on ‘AI and Gender’, held by the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, co-convened with the Ada Lovelance Institute, and supported by PwC. The workshop was trans-disciplinary and trans-sectoral. It gathered together scholars from a wide range of academic fields, including computer science, history, philosophy of science, law, politics, sociology, literature, and gender studies. In addition, it brought together researchers and practitioners from industry and research centres outside of academic, as well as key figures from UK AI governance and policy. Over the course of day, seventeen 10-minute talks created a wide and detailed picture of the cutting edge of current research and initiatives into AI and gender. They also created some agreement, some disagreement, a lot of conversation, and a quite phenomenal buzz.
We took advantage of that communal energy at the end of the day when, led by my research assistant Clementine Collett, we invited our participants to take part in a collective intelligence exercise. The challenge was to come up with at least three recommendations for new areas of research concerning AI and gender. The result was our report: ‘AI and Gender: Four Proposals for Future Research‘, which develops and augments the ideas shared during this exercise by drawing on content from the workshop presentations, questions, and discussions, as well as from a broad range of wider literature and research.
The report outlines four of the weightiest challenges to gender equality presented by recent developments in artificial intelligence (AI). In tandem, it outlines four research proposals which would effectively tackle these issues. The proposals are not intended to be prescriptive, but rather, provocative. The report aspires to use these proposals as a mechanism to raise awareness, summarise the current challenges, and prompt practical action. As we continue to see rapid development of AI systems, now is the moment to address the challenges which AI presents to gender equality. It scopes and situates current research and interventions, identifies where further research and intervention is required, and acts as a call to action to tackle issues of injustice.
We launched the report at CogX 2019 with a talk by Clemi and myself, followed by a panel discussion on AI and Gender. A video recording of the Cog X events can be seen here.