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Last week, Basecamp co-founder reminded everyone that tech is still a very insular place with his announcement that discussion of social issues were a “major distraction” and banned all “societal politics” discussions from their workplace. At a time when hate crimes against minorities are surging, asking employees to shed their identities and deny their lived experiences is horrifyingly tone deaf and self-serving.

Basecamp founders aren’t the first to shove uncomfortable conversations into the “societal politics” bucket. Coinbase CEO wrote the playbook for his entrepreneurial brethren when he announced, during the peak of racial justice protests in the United States, that…

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According to Pew Research, about four-in-ten U.S. adults say it has become more common for people to express racist views toward Asians since the pandemic began. In addition, Asian and Black Americans are more likely to report adverse experiences due to their race or ethnicity since the pandemic began. STOP AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) HATE’ report shows that their center received nearly 4K hate incident reports from March 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021. The number of hate incidents reported represent only a fraction of the total number of hate incidents and highlights the vulnerability of Asian Americans to…

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When Ian Moura and I first started compiling a list of non-profits in the space of AI Ethics, our intent was to map the ecosystem to understand what type of work was being funded and by which organizations. That’s when we noticed that people leading these organizations were overwhelming male and so I decided to take a closer look to validate our initial observation. (You can read some of our thoughts on the need for greater accountability for AI Ethics gatekeepers here)

It wasn’t our imagination. Women account for only 1 in 4 on these Leadership teams and while the…

Heather Dowdy Sr. Program Manager, AI & Accessibility at Microsoft

If you have never heard about Heather Dowdy, you are about to discover the fascinating and inspiring story of a woman with a deeply rooted life purpose; to make the world a more inclusive and accessible place.

Heather Dowdy grew up in a rough area at the intersection of disability and race. Yet anyone who takes a closer look at her childhood would think that this is quite an understatement. This reflects a sense of humility and selflessness that immediately showed in Heather Dowdy’s personality when we start to listen to her story.

In her own words:

“I was born…

100 Brilliant Women in AI Ethics™ Summit organizing committee

When I published the first 100 Brilliant Women in AI Ethics™ list in 2018, I had no idea that it would turn into a global movement and safe space for brilliant women to meet and learn from each other. Meet the amazing women who helped organize our 2020 summit.
And here are some ways you can get involved.
Nominate yourself or a peer for the Women in AI Ethics™ (WAIE) directory.
Volunteer your time and talents to help others.
In solidarity,
Mia Shah-Dand

Many thanks to Susanna Raj @susannaraj53 for pulling these together. Susanna Raj is a Cognitive Science /…

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This past week, news about Dr. Timnit Gebru, the eminent and beloved AI Ethics scholar fired by Google roiled the industry and highlighted the unsavory reality of being Black and ethical in a space dominated by powerful white men. It revived traumatic memories for many women of color who have faced gaslighting, exploitation, and erasure in the toxic tech industry. It also brought to light the broader issue of credibility and objectivity of AI ethics research funded by big tech.

Earlier this year, my colleague Ian Moura and I called out how elite institutions, the self-appointed arbiters of ethics are…

Elite institutions, the self-appointed arbiters of ethics are themselves guilty of racism and unethical behavior but have zero accountability.

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In July 2020, MIT took a frequently cited and widely used dataset offline when two researchers found that the ’80 Million Tiny Images’ dataset used racist, misogynistic terms to describe images of Black and Asian people.

According to The Register, Vinay Prabhu, a data scientist of Indian origin working at a startup in California, and Abeba Birhane, an Ethiopian PhD candidate at University College Dublin, who made the discovery that thousands of images in the MIT database were “labeled with racist…

Q & A with Dr. Alex Hanna, Google Social Scientist and AI Ethics Researcher

Written for WAIE 2020 by Danielle Trierweiler 8/28/20

*Please note: questions and answers have been paraphrased for the purpose of this piece and are not exact wording

Public (Mis) Perceptions of AI

Q1: AI Research is very powerful and it can be quite nuanced. What have you found effective when explaining the importance of ethical and inclusive algorithms and AI to the layperson?

A: First, I try to clarify what AI is- there is a common perception is 2001 Space Odyssey or Star Trek but in practice, a lot of AI is more mundane, such as probability and models, AI…

Dr. Timnit Gebru Senior Research Scientist at Google

“How are you doing?”

Dr. Timnit Gebru’s fireside chat with Lighthouse3 CEO Mia Shah-Dand began with this personal check-in that’s increasingly necessary during such troubled times. This present moment in our history is full of struggles for all of us, and although she was quick to point out that others have it far worse than she does, it is admittedly fraught for Dr. …

Mia Dand

Responsible innovation at scale in AI & Emerging Tech. CEO,, ex-Google, HP, Symantec, eBay. #AI #BigData #Ethics #Governance #DiversityinTech

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