Stela Solar – the leader of the National AI Centre at Australia’s CSIRO – spoke with us recently at the Tech Leaders Forum for 2023. Stela said in her day-to-day engagement with Australians, she often hears people talking about AI and how it has ‘built-in’ bias.
At the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) they endeavour to intercept these biases within AI and she said while there are “definite methods” to do this, “we’ve got to implement them very proactively.”
She added: “AI models are built on data and through time, our data has gaps in it, there are biases that have been collected, and so how that data influences AI models matters.”
“If I think about what we can do to prepare that data – if I think about what we can do to intercept decisions from AI and then how AI is created with diverse teams – these are all some methods that we can implement in order to get better AI outcomes,” Stela explained.
She added: “There are some great examples of AI already helping us reverse some biases, such as Sapier.ai which is a chatbot technology which has early-stage interviewing processes that are done through a chatbot. It actually found that women are 30% more likely to be applying for roles when they’re evaluated by AI, rather than a human.”
“So there are these kind of opportunities we have where we could use AI to help us counter the bias that’s already around us. But to do so, we’ve got to come together as diverse teams, bring our experiences in, and then mindfully and responsibly shape what AI is,” Stela said.
She continued, explaining that all of these insights and best practices are what they’re aggregating together at the National AI Centre at the CSIRO so they can share this know-how with others.
“I myself landed into tech by accident. I was going to be a film composer, and throughout my university I studied commerce and arts. I needed to make some money, and I just accepted the first job that came my way, which was in tech,” she added.
“Then I learnt on the job. So short courses, having fantastic mentors, really helped me learn more about technology and it helped me realise that technology is actually very creative. I think I had this stereotype that only creative industries are creative, but I brought my passion for creativity into tech,” she said.
“So, working through with a startup and working with technology distributors, picking up certifications and courses on the way, getting into a big tech career as well for 10 years, I picked up a lot of experiences across the board from partnership roles in technology, to marketing roles in technology, sales, development, product management – there are such a variety of roles.
“But I would have never known them unless I landed that happy accident right out of university and accepted my very first inside-sales tech job, and then just started learning on the way,” Stelar said.
For more information about what they do at the CSIRO’s National AI Centre. visit here.
For more information from Women Love Tech about AI, visit here.