An alarming number of employers have not yet carried out gender pay gap reporting,...read more
Artificial Intelligence is big with lots of attention on ChatGPT at the moment so it’s worrying that there aren’t more women working in AI or enought positive role models.
I read a report on Artificial Intelligence and the depiction of AI scientists in films this week. It focused on the 142 most influential cinematic works featuring AI between 1920 and 2020 and found 92% of all AI scientists and engineers on screen were men, with representations of women consisting of a total of eight scientists and one CEO. This is higher than the percentage of men in the current AI workforce (78%).
The researchers argue that films such as Iron Man and Ex Machina promote cultural perceptions of AI as the product of lone male geniuses. They also show that, of the meagre eight female AI scientists to come out of 100 years of cinema, four were still depicted as inferior or subservient to men. This is important because what girls see around them influences what they go on to do. The researchers warn that it could discourage women from going into AI science with a knock-on impact on the products created.
Dr Eleanor Drage, co-author of the report says: “This is not just about inequality in one industry. The marginalisation of women could contribute to AI products that actively discriminate against women – as we have seen with past technologies. Given that science fiction shapes reality, this imbalance has the potential to be dangerous as well as unfair.”
It’s vital that we change the narrative about AI careers from an early an age as possible, but also that we address the drop-out of women from STEM-related jobs and professions. That’s why Women Returners new STEM ReCharge pilot in the Midlands and North is a welcome development. It’s small scale, but, allied with other initiatives such as the work of Tech Returners, it’s important work. While attracting young girls and women into AI is vital, keeping them there and addressing the dropout issues, from male-dominated cultures to parenthood – many of which overlap – is also an essential part of getting more women into a field which will have such huge implications for our futures.