Women in AI: Tara Chklovski is teaching the next generation of AI innovators | TechCrunch

To give AI-focused female academics and others their deserved – and overdue – time in the spotlight, TechCrunch is publishing a series of interviews Focused on notable women who have contributed to the AI ​​revolution. We’re publishing these pieces throughout the year as the AI ​​boom continues, highlighting key work that often goes unrecognized. Read more profiles Here,

Tara Chklowski is the CEO and Founder of Technovation, a nonprofit that helps teach young girls about technology and entrepreneurship. She has been leading the company for the past 17 years and finding ways to help young women use technology to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues. He attended St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, before receiving a master’s degree from Boston University and a PhD from the University of Southern California in aerospace engineering.

Briefly, how did you get your start in AI? What attracted you to this field?

I started learning about AI in 2016 when we were invited to the AAAI (Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence) conference in San Francisco, and we got to learn about AI researchers using AI to tackle interesting problems. Had a chance to do a series of interviews. Space for stock. Technovation is a non-profit organization and our mission is to bring the most powerful, cutting-edge tools and technology to the most underserved communities. The AI ​​felt powerful and right. So I decided to learn a lot about it!

We conducted a national survey of parents in 2017, asking them about their thoughts and concerns about AI, and we were surprised to see how African American mothers were very interested in bringing AI literacy to their children , than any other demographic. We then launched the first global AI education program – ai family challengeSupported by Google and Nvidia.

We continued to learn and iterate since then, and now we are the only global, project-based AI education program with a research-based curriculum translated into 12 languages.

What work in the AI ​​field are you most proud of?

The fact is that we are the only organization that has a peer-reviewed research article on the impact of our project-based AI curriculum and we have been able to deliver it to thousands of girls around the world.

How do you deal with the challenges of the male-dominated tech industry and, by extension, the male-dominated AI industry?

it is hard. We have many allies, but generally, the power and influence rests with the CEO, and they are usually men and not fully empathetic to the obstacles that women face every step of the way. . You become the CEO of a trillion-dollar company based on certain characteristics, and these characteristics may not be the same ones that enable you to empathize with others.

As far as solutions are concerned, society is becoming more educated, and both genders are becoming more sophisticated in empathy, mental health, psychological development, etc. My advice to those supporting women in tech is to be bolder in their investments so we can make more progress. We have enough research and data to know what works. We need more champions and supporters.

What advice would you give to women wanting to enter the AI ​​field?

start today. It’s very easy to start messing around online with free and world-class lectures and courses. Find a problem that is interesting to you, and start learning and creating. The Technovation course is also a great starting point, as it requires no prior technical background and by the end you will have created an AI-based startup.

What are some of the most pressing issues facing AI as it develops?

[Society views] Disadvantaged groups are meant to be a monolithic group with no voice, agency or talents – just waiting to be exploited. In fact, we’ve found that teen girls are some of the earliest adopters of technology and have the best ideas. A Technovation team of girls created a ride-sharing and taxi-hailing app in December 2010. Another Technovation team created a mindfulness and focus app in March 2012. Today, Technovation teams are building AI-based apps, building new datasets focused on groups. India, Africa and Latin America – groups that are not being included in apps coming from Silicon Valley.

Instead of seeing these countries simply as markets, consumers, and recipients, we need to see these groups as powerful allies who can help ensure that we truly respond to the complex problems facing humanity. Creating innovative solutions.

What issues should AI users be aware of?

These technologies are going to advance rapidly. Be curious and learn as much as possible about how these models work. This will help you become a curious and hopefully informed user.

What’s the best way to make AI responsible?

By training groups who are not typically part of design and engineering teams, and then creating better technologies with them as co-designers and builders. It doesn’t take much time, and the end product will be stronger and more innovative thanks to the process.

How can investors better push for responsible AI?

Emphasize collaboration with global nonprofits that have access to a diverse talent pool so that your engineers can speak to a broader group of users and incorporate their perspectives.