Seated from left to right: Natalia Villalobos, Kavya Kopparapu, Karla Palmer, Jaclyn Rice Nelson and Kaitlin Ardiff.
At the recent Women in AI event hosted by Women Techmakers and DevFest NY and moderated by The New York Times VP and former Women Techmaker Natalia Villalobos, we heard from some incredible women working in artificial intelligence who are changing the field — and seeing how it’s changing our world. Here are a few things we learned from four of our speakers, each of whom focused on some of the diverse and distinct ways AI is leaving its mark.
1. Kavya Kopparapu on broadening AI's impact
Kavya Kopparapu is a research engineer at Google DeepMind, where she works on large language model (LLM) research. Kavya is an inventor with a deep interest in the interdisciplinary and practical applications of AI and she holds three patents and several publications on these topics. During the panel, Kavya said that the AI field should focus on collaborating with students to usher in an era of purposeful AI work with real, intentional research impact. “I advocate for AI's broad application, envisioning impact in diverse fields like biology or healthcare,” she said at the panel. “Collaborating with communities, particularly students, for purposeful AI work promises an exciting era of real impact and intentional research." Her work demonstrates the impact that AI could have on some of the world’s greatest challenges, like education equity and healthcare.
2. Karla Palmer on driving social impact and governance in AI
Karla Palmer is the manager of AI for Social Good and Sustainability at Google.org where she oversees the allocation of grants to organizations engaged in AI interventions aimed at tackling issues such as food insecurity, maternal health, and public benefits access.
At the event, Palmer said that AI has the potential to help us come up with innovative solutions to complex problems. For example, she said, AI algorithms can optimize the distribution of resources to combat food insecurity, enhance diagnostics and care in maternal health and improve access to public benefits. At the same time, we can’t ignore ethical concerns. "Not only do we need to think about high-level principles, but how do we regulate AI by sectors, right?” she said at the event. “And that's going to be a more long-term conversation."
3. Kaitlin Ardiff on building precision into AI
Kaitlin Ardiff's role at Google Cloud Consulting involves crafting custom machine learning models, ranging from personalized recommendation engines and image classification models to large-scale data pipelines. During her panel, she spoke about why it’s important to outline a comprehensive strategy that aligns with the objectives of the project when you’re working with AI. This foundation sets the stage for effective decision-making throughout the ML development process. Ardiff says: "Success lies in a solid plan, clear goals in model building, and effective post-construction management. Particularly regarding infrastructure and A3 programming, emphasizing daily precision."
4. Jaclyn Rice Nelson on the power of perseverance
Jaclyn Rice Nelson is the co-founder and CEO of Tribe AI, which partners with private equity firms, fortune 500 enterprises, and startups to leverage data to apply AI solutions to challenges within their companies to drive efficiency and innovation through machine learning. Jaclyn also co-founded Coalition Operations, an early stage fund that also serves as a networking group, where she hopes to give more women in the industry an opportunity to build their companies. “Whatever happens, however someone reacts to you, however you respond, just don't stop. That's usually the only difference between these platforms. You just will not stop, you will not fail, you will not give up,” she said during the panel. “That's the mantra, and that's kind of what keeps me going."
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