The Women Changing The Face Of AI

The idea was born in a hotel room. In 2005, Hanna Wallach, a machine-learning researcher, found herself bunking with colleagues to attend the Neural Information Systems Processing (NIPS) conference. Wallach had been working in the field since 2001 and had attended numerous conferences, but this was the first time she had roomed with other women who specialized in machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence that researches how computer programs can learn and grow. As a discipline, it is overwhelmingly male: Wallach estimates that only 13.5% of the entire machine learning field is female. At the conference, Wallach and her roommates, Jennifer Wortman Vaughan, Lisa Wainer, and Angela Yu, began discussing their experiences and commiserating about the lack of female allies. “We couldn’t believe that there were four of us…

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