12 Amazing Women in AI and Ethics to Follow in 2018

12 Amazing Women in AI and Ethics to Follow in 2018
February 19, 2018 LH3_Admin

The possibility of creating sentient machines that can think and act like humans raises many ethical issues. We’re already encountering reinforced human bias in AI algorithms  and with autonomous “killer” robots looming on the horizon,  an open discussion on the perils of unchecked AI is even more imperative.

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we highlighted 12 brilliant women leading this much-needed discussion on AI & ethics and development of responsible AI solutions that will benefit everyone. Let me know of any others we should highlight in the comments below or tweet @MiaD

1) Joy Buolamwini @jovialjoy 

Algorithmic Justice League

First person on our list is Joy Buolamwini, founder of Algorithmic Justice League to fight bias in Machine Learning. The Algorithmic Justice League is a collective that aims to highlight Algorithmic Bias through Media, Art, and Science. Joy researches social impact technology at the MIT Media Lab. She is a Rhodes Scholar, a Fulbright Fellow, an Astronaut Scholar, a Google Anita Borg Scholar, and brilliant speaker who has given talks at TEDx, the White House, and the Vatican. You can learn more about Joy and her work at Algorithmic Justice League


2) Terah Lyons @terahlyons

Partnership on AI

Terah Lyons is the executive director of Partnership on AI, an organization established to study and formulate best practices on AI technologies, to advance the public’s understanding of AI, and to serve as an open platform about AI. It includes well-known players like Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft. Terah was formerly policy advisor to the U.S. chief technology officer at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), where she was behind the Obama administration’s deep dive into AI’s potential to change the world. You can get more information on Terah’s work at Partnership on AI


3) Kate Crawford @katecrawford

AI Now Institute

Kate Crawford needs little introduction as she is a well-known figure in the world of AI. A Distinguished Research Professor at NYU and principal researcher at Microsoft, Kate is also the co-founder of AI Now Institute along with Meredith Whittaker. One of the group’s main focuses is to ensure that the engineers making AI algorithms are working closely with the people who will use them. In the case of a medical application, for example, they want to make sure that doctors are consulted as part of the research. This kind of work will help point AI toward tackling the kinds of problems that actually need solving, as opposed to only the problems that a computer programmer thinks to work on. You can learn more about Kate’s work at https://ainowinstitute.org


4) Olga Russakovsky @ai4allorg


Dr. Olga Russakovsky, is one of MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35 for 2017. Olga, is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at Princeton University and the co-founder of AI4ALL along with Fei-Fei Li. AI4ALL is a national nonprofit educating the next generation of AI technologists, thinkers, and leaders. Olga is working to make the field of AI more diverse and inclusive by introducing underrepresented K-12 students to AI and AI’s power to address social and human challenges. You can learn more about her work on inclusion and diversity at AI 4 All


5) Ajung Moon @RoboEthics

Open Roboethics Institute

AJung is a roboticist with over eight years of experience investigating the ethical and social implications of robotics and AI. She is an internationally recognized expert in her field and has been heavily involved in the shaping of global policy and discussions surrounding artificial intelligence and autonomous systems. She is one of twenty members of the International Panel on the Regulation of Autonomous Weapons. Ajung is also is an executive member of the Executive Committee of the IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems. You can learn more about Ajung’s work in RoboEthics at Open RoboEthics


6) Kay Firth-Butterfield @KayFButterfield

World Economic Forum

Kay Firth-Butterfield is the Project Head for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at World Economic Forum and the Vice-Chair, IEEE Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems. She co-founded AI-Austin, AI-Global and the Consortium for Law and Policy of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. She was recently named one of the top 25 Women in Robotics. Kay is also a Barrister-at-Law and former Part-Time Judge in United Kingdom. In the US, she has been a Professor of Law and International Relations, Associate Fellow, Centre for the Future of Intelligence at University of Cambridge and Fellow at Robert E. Strauss Center on International Security and Law, University of Texas. You can follow Kay’s work on AI Austin website


7) Rumman Chowdhury @ruchowdh



Rumman Chowdhury is a Senior Principal at Accenture, working on cutting-edge applications of Artificial Intelligence and leading their Strategic Global Initiative on Responsible Artificial Intelligence. Rumman advises companies on ethical AI practices and work with organizations such as the World Economic Forum, and the IEEE’s Wellbeing Metrics Standard for Ethical Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems. You can sign up for updates on Rumman’s work in responsible AI on her website.


8) Eleonore Pauwels @AI_RRI_Ethics

Wilson Center

Eleonore Pauwels is the director of the Anticipatory Intelligence Lab at the Wilson Center’s Science and Technology Innovation Program. She specializes in the governance and democratization of converging technologies, analyzing and compares how transformative technologies, such as artificial intelligence and genome-editing, raise new opportunities and challenges for health, security, economics, and governance in different geopolitical contexts. Pauwels regularly testifies before U.S. and European authorities, including the U.S. Department of State, NAS, NIH, NCI, FDA, the National Intelligence Council, the European Commission, and the UN. You can learn more about Eleonore’s work at Wilson Center.


9) Danah Boyd @zephoria

Data & Society

Danah boyd is the founder and president of Data & Society, an organization committed to identifying thorny issues at the intersection of technology and society, providing and encouraging research that can ground informed, evidence-based public debates, and building a network of researchers and practitioners who can anticipate issues and offer insight and direction. Danah is also a Principal Researcher at Microsoft, and a Visiting Professor at New York University. Her research is focused on making certain that society has a nuanced understanding of the relationship between technology and society, especially as issues of inequity and bias emerge. She is the author of “It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens”. You can read more about Danah’s work at Data Society


10) Beena Ammanath @beena_ammanath

Humans for AI

Beena Ammanath is the Global VP – Artificial Intelligence/Data/Innovation at HPE and founder of Humans For AI, which is a non-profit organization with volunteers across business, engineering, science from various industries from tech to legal to retail to education. She is co-author of the book “AI Transforming Business and has been honored several times for her contribution to tech and her philanthropic efforts, including the San Francisco Business Times’ 2017 Most Influential Women in Bay Area , WITI’s Women in Technology Hall of Fame , and others. She believes AI’s pervasive impact will require humanity to control the pace to which it is woven into the fabric of society. Beena’s goal is to humanize AI to enable and empower the AI workforce of the future to be inclusive and to be as diverse as the real world. For more insights on her approach, watch this recent panel discussion “Ethical AI: What kind of society do we want to have?” with Hessie Jones, CMO for Humans for AI and Girl Geeks Toronto.


11) Mira Lane @mira_lane ‏



Mira Lane is Partner Director of Design & Ethics – Artificial Intelligence for at Microsoft. Mira’s team is responsible for thinking about the ethical implications of technology and how it might impact the people and societies that are using it. Her background as an artist and computer scientist gives her a unique perspective into how new technologies shape our experiences and our world. Mira has helped create a discipline around ethics at Microsoft that is dedicated to thinking through the implications of AI and helping the organization be more thoughtful about and accountable for what it is designing and building. Learn more about Mira’s work on her LinkedIn Profile.


12) Cortnie Abercrombie @cortnie_cdo

AI Truth

A recent addition to this list is Cortnie Abercombie who recently left her Executive role in Artificial Intelligence at IBM to start AI truth, an organization focused on bringing together AI practitioners and the public so they can collaborate to ensure AI does in fact make the world a better place. You can read more about her proposed approach at AI truth


About the author: Mia Dand is the CEO of Lighthouse3.com, a Strategic Research & Advisory firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Mia is an experienced marketing leader who helps F5000 companies innovate at scale with digital and emerging technologies. She has built and led new digital/emerging tech programs for global brands including Google, Symantec, HP, eBay and others. Mia is a strong supporter and champion for diversity & inclusion in tech. You can connect with her on Twitter @MiaD or LinkedIn

This article also appeared on Medium for Women’s History Month 2018