The impact of emotional intelligence on artificial intelligence

April 30, 2018

Women 4 Technology, Bailey Fisher’s peer-to-peer forum for commercial leaders in technology and life sciences will celebrate 10 years since its launch in Cambridge, with an event exploring a highly topical issue. “The Impact of Emotional Intelligence on the Future of Artificial Intelligence” brings together experts to lead discussion on the importance of a diverse team in creating artificial intelligence systems that accurately reflect the lives of the individuals who will be affected by the technology. It is a hot topic, with the recent publication of the Lords Select Committee report into AI in the UK, calling for ethics to be at the centre of the development and use of artificial intelligence; and last week’s Alphabet Founders Letter in which Google co-founder Sergey Brin sounded a warning about the dark side of the machine learning revolution, saying that tech founders can no longer maintain a “wide-eyed and idealistic” attitude about the impact of their creations, but need to show “responsibility, care and humility”.

Speakers at Bailey Fisher’s Cambridge event are Professor Rose Luckin, a world-renowned expert in the use of AI within education; Dr Kanta Dihal, whose cutting-edge research at Cambridge’s Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence intersects science, science fiction, AI and literature; and Anthony Finbow, Executive Chair of Eagle Genomics, a Cambridge company recently named as winners in the Red Herring Top 100 Europe Awards celebrating leading private companies and most innovative start ups.  The Q&A session will be moderated by Dr Matthew Howard, AI Lead at Deloitte and former European Lead at IBM Watson Healthcare.

Women 4 Technology was launched in 1998 by Bailey Fisher Executive Search, in response to requests from female clients for a forum to share ideas, discuss issues of relevance to their role, and make connections. At the time, this was ahead of the game, and the network was one of the few that paved the way.  From 20 women round the table for lunch at the first event, the network has grown to over 2,000 nationally and internationally, with events in Cambridge, London and Manchester.

Ann Fisher, founder of Women 4 Technology & Bailey Fisher says “The first event really struck a chord.  We’d brought together a room of inspirational women, all successful business leaders; an inspirational speaker – US online entrepreneur Sarah Davies of Fashionphile – and everyone left wanting to know when the next event would be.  Inspiration became our key ingredient and we have been fortunate since to have welcomed some of the most visionary and successful business women as speakers. Baroness Martha Lane Fox disrupted the travel industry back in the 90s with and went on to become UK Digital Champion. Martha spoke at one of our first House of Lords events; Edwina Dunn, the brains behind Tesco Clubcard and now running The Female Lead; Shirin Dehghan, who founded software company Arieso and grew the business for 10 years before selling to JDSU in what was at the time one of the largest European exits of the year. But its not just technology, we have also been inspired by incredible women from other fields.  Sarah Outen shared her story of rowing solo across the Indian Ocean at the age of 23.  Olivia Breen talked about her journey to becoming a medal winner in the London 2012 Paralympics.  At the age of 16, she spoke to 100 international business leaders at our summer reception in the House of Lords, and totally inspired us all. The key things that made their achievements possible are also highly relevant in business – team work, planning, determination, communication and a positive mindset.”

After 10 years of events in Cambridge and London, and a Manchester launch in 2017, Women 4 Technology is looking to the future.  Initially founded as a business forum exclusively for women, in recent years men in commercial leadership roles have been welcome and encouraged to attend.  As Ann Fisher says “Diversity is key.  Inspiring women is still at the core of what we do, but whether at work or in life we don’t exist in a vacuum. We all need to work together to a common vision. This has huge benefits from a business point of view. Numerous studies show that diverse teams outperform homogenous ones. We shouldn’t exist in an echo chamber, we need challenges to our thinking to keep growing and evolving.  That is the impetus behind our AI event. We want to highlight the need to bring a greater diversity of viewpoints to the creation of AI systems, building teams that are diverse not just in terms of gender, but also age, ethnicity, background, outlook. In this way we can impact on the creation of AI systems that more accurately reflect the needs of those whose lives they will affect, and offer the more responsible and ethical approach to the AI revolution that is being called for.”


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