another year brings another CogX, Europe’s biggest Ai conference, lead by FGC & Cognition X co-founder, Tabitha Goldstaub. Being the ultimate plug & knowing the tech world lacks a feminine touch, she Once again hooked up 50 fgc members with tickets to the conference. here’s what they learnt & how they see the future of women in tech.
Q1: Your thoughts on AI & future technologies? Cool? Scary? Positive?
Rupinder Garcha (RG): “I definitely left CogX with a new excitement around AI and the emerging technology space. I think we are only just beginning to understand the potential that AI can have across a range of industries; I think there is a lot of digital disruption on the horizon and its really exciting!”
Karolina Czarnecka (KC): “It could have so much positive impact! It's also necessary to help process all massive amounts of data we are collecting so that we are able to act on it.”
Grace Sutton (GS): “I have come away from the festival excited about the future of AI and technology as well as what is already happening in this space. What became clear … was that technology is a tool: one that has the potential to yield incredible impact and benefit or pose a threat of disruption and even deep injustice, depending on how we choose to utilise it.”
Sarah Bick (SB): “[There are] … many wonderful developments, and cool projects, really mind blowing, valuable, useful - but the question's ringing in my ears is
'Will we look back and feel better off without most of it?'.
Better off without, in terms of human purpose, distribution of wealth, energy consumption, mental wellbeing, societal structure? The sales patter of creating 'tools' for humans to do 'more' had a hollow ring. Environmentalists say we should be doing less, working less, consuming less. Where does AI sit in this?”
Tara Uygur (TU): “… the fear of the unknown, especially because to the majority of people AI is this mystifying technology and,
unlike in the past, these machines have strong resemblance to human cognition and in fact learn much faster than us.
The idea that AI may eventually escape our control is prevalent and an uneasy one to sit with. CogX and similar events are needed to educate the public about both the concerns and misunderstandings surrounding AI because all things disruptive also have an incredible potential to transform the world in a positive way. All in all I am extremely excited about AI and will be following it much more closely.”
Anh Nguyen (AN): “AI is everything you would imagine if travelling into the future, except we are already living in its existence which is cool but pretty scary. If we apply it the right way, we could solve a lot of problems.”
Q2: Do you (plan to) use AI & technology?
GS: “My phone notes folder is now full of AI & technology screenshots, articles links, twitter conversations and my own buzzing ideas! I have come away from CogX really encouraged in the approach to on in my own work : how could I better enhance the user experience? And, how can technology play a part in this?”
SB: “Yes I do! In a couple of ways. Our proof of concept site for The Cleared Folio is soon to redeveloped, where artwork tagging and suggestions are going to be far more evolved - we're looking at using machine learning here. We've also been testing artwork generation, which has been really fun though not the main direction we're going in. In terms of my own artwork, I am using and reappropriating AI tech more conceptually, less about the output and process, more so the implications and future ramifications.”
TU: Absolutely! I hope AI will be introduced to everyone's lives to improve them and personally I’m very interested in AI in healthcare for diagnosis, automating repetitive tasks freeing up time for professionals, and gathering data to improve patient care.
AN: “I hope to use AI and tech in future projects and would love to use it as part of the Global Goals Vision 2030.”
Mona Yang (MY): “I'm a UX Designer so I'm particularly interested in human-machine interaction. AI is both a promising yet complex and challenging technology us designers will need to come to terms with as AI becomes more and more embedded in the products and services we interact with. At the moment, I'm creating an online curated resource on the basics of AI for the tech community”
Q3: What was the most important learning for women?
GS: “… one of my biggest takeaways from the festival came after a CogX evening talk with Futuregirlcorp women Anh, Megan and Sarah, plus Anushka from CogX team and Miranda, an University lecturer in AI who also came to chat with us. [We] discussed everything from AI ethics, women in technology and business, Imposter Syndrome, the importance of paving your own way, as well as celebrating your achievements…
“these conversations, alongside seeing women in tech lead the way from the stage with fantastic talks, served as a reminder of how important it is for women to be at the forefront AI & emerging technology …”
…to ensure the future is one which is shaped by, and benefits from, a female perspective.
SB: “…be there and contributing throughout. We are in the pregnancy phase of a colossal beast, that once 'birthed' and rolled out across the globe into most facets of our lives, it will be so much harder to correct the mistakes. If AI is to replace many human tasks and responses, it is critical that it has balanced and inclusive teaching, that it is not trained on a male centred and tailored bias. Humans often grapple with unconscious bias, and its critical that this isn't further entrenched.
“If our FGC girls are anything to go by, women have so much to offer in the Ethics and Oversight space”
we shared lots of worrisome but necessary insights and concerns at unintended tech uses and potentially irresponsible businesses. Grateful for initiatives such as WAI”
TU: “The most important lesson for women is that we shouldn’t be afraid of entering the tech world! It needs us! … we can build a tech world that serves everyone and that benefits from cross-sector collaboration.”
AN: “…ensure that women are part of the conversations and decision making developing AI and tech in order to build solutions that fully represents us. Diversity within tech is key in developing solutions and tools for everyone, not just a select group of people.”
Q4: What did you learn at CogX?
RG: “…. a number of different learnings around using and applying AI for good, yet the biggest takeaway for me was around the importance of data if we are really going to move forward and harness the potential of AI.
“I learnt that figuring out your business case is key, then you must understand the datasets you have - it's important not to get lost in the technology that's out there.”
Our digital journey should go hand-in-hand with datasets that we have access to. Most excitingly for me were discussions of how data with AI could be used to address inequalities that exist in healthcare; AI could be incredibly useful to the NHS to relieve the strain the system is under or to create more personalised and targeted healthcare. Data coupled with AI is undoubtedly the future!”
KC: “We are starting to collect large amount of great quality data, but we don’t have enough resource to process it and to analyse it. We need AI and new technology! Automation is becoming a must. In 5-10 years a lot of people will need to re-skill as processes will become automated. Human adaptability is becoming a very important skill. Additional we also don’t want to automate processes as they are, but to improve them. Technology has a vital role to play in saving the word and our environment. Big impact expected in climate change fight!
“We need to move away from human design (limited in its complexity) to machine learning (unlimited data learning). Think multiple sensors on cars for safety vs. training a car how to drive. “
Some of the AI technologies like chat bots are not that great yet, but we have to do things badly first to understand where the technology and knowledge gaps are.
GS: “I enjoyed listening to Leena Nair, Chief HR Officer at Unilever discuss the application of technology in HR including the large scale digitisation of Unilever recruitment. Leena pointed toward technology as a tool to humanise interactions: moving from a “Thank you for your application” auto-email response to instead a personalised feedback report for each of the thousands of individual candidates that apply to the Unilever graduate scheme. Where human effort and capacity reaches its limits, AI and technology can facilitate a humanised approach on scale, both effectively and efficiently.
“technology isn’t something to replace the human factor but should exist to make our lives and our work easier, freeing us to focus on that which we are uniquely placed to do: creative and strategic thinking, judgement and empathy.”
SB: '‘I wasn't aware of the extent of Deep Fakes until attending the Cyber Security panel. They reeled off so many easy to use ways of creating fake photos, voices, videos, articles, mature social accounts. It was said that not enough R&D and investment was being spent in protection and that the scale of the implications that we're facing are huge and many will be unexpected -
“80 % of email spam alone, is generated by just 100 spammers - with 45% of all email traffic being spam.”
Most of us have learnt to identify spam messages, and most of us know to consider whether an image has been photoshopped, but soon we will know longer be able to trust anything we see or hear digitally. And when that time comes, in person connections and critical thinking will be paramount.”
TU: “… AI’s complexity goes beyond tech – we need to focus on education, ethics and emotional awareness because this is needed in order to create tech that serves everyone in the best way possible.”
AN: “I learnt that we are already living with AI, whether we realise it or not.”
MY: “..my favourite talk was by Diane Coyle, Bennett Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge on the topic of AI and Policy. She talked about the complexities of AI from a policy perspective and the technology shouldn't be left to just data scientists and machine learning engineers to handle. Policy makers, academics, philosophers, economists and civil society all need to be a part of the conversation in addressing the implications and effects of AI on society.”
WHAT A DOWNLOAD!
LOOK’S LIKE THE FGC GANG LEARNT A LOT!
As the girls & tech industry knows, more women & general public need to part of these pending ubiquitous transformations. We’re glad to have been able to play a part in that by sharing our learnings (here & on Instagram) & having some really curious fgc gals at CogX
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See what the fgc gang learnt at CogX 2018 HERE, lock into CognitionX’s Twitter to get the freshest Ai info, WATCH everything from CogX on their Youtube, & make sure to lock into our socials for your chance to attend CogX 2020