AI for Social Impact: The Importance of Diversity in AI

The swift advancement of AI is already reshaping industries, economies and societies worldwide. However, within its transformative capabilities, there exists a crucial task: ensuring responsible development and deployment of AI systems, with a focus on diverse data sets and inclusive outcomes.

The second in a series of webinars, the Lenovo Foundation hosted the AI for Social Impact: Importance of Diversity in AI webinar on June 13, 2024, exploring how non-profit organizations can integrate diversity and inclusion into AI technologies and solutions. The session featured a keynote on diverse data in AI solutions by Dr. David Ellison, Chief Data Scientist of Lenovo, followed by a panel discussion with leading voices at the intersection of AI and diversity: Laura Benbenaste, LATAM Integrator for Tech & Humanity at Ashoka; LaVonne Roberts, Executive Director of Scott-Morgan Foundation; and Marine Rabeyrin, Director, Commercial Education Sector of Lenovo EMEA and Lenovo representative for Cercle InterL. Moderated by Andrea Richardson, EVP, Global Head of DEI & Multicultural Strategy at Zeno Group, the experts discussed their efforts to integrate diverse data sets into their AI solutions in various ways, ranging from education to disability to social and economic diversity.

Here are four key takeaways to making AI more inclusive:

  1. Social organizations can promote diversity and inclusion in AI development/projects through proactive measures and inclusive practices.

LaVonne Roberts said that social organizations aiming to promote diversity and inclusivity in AI should seek companies that go beyond their immediate goals, particularly by addressing various forms of diversity and disabilities. Laura Benbenaste adds that the learning challenge for social entrepreneurs is understanding new technology, but she emphasizes a need for alignment on perspectives and goals, not just technological solutions. Marine Rabeyrin mentions that organizations should demand companies to provide AI solutions for representation in disability, diversity, gender, etc. One way to accomplish this goal is by developing pledges for gender fairness and responsible AI adoption.

  1. Organizations can mitigate cultural and regional biases in AI by leveraging its capacity to capture and integrate diverse cultural nuances effectively.

Organizations can tackle cultural and regional biases in AI by leveraging its capability to capture and apply cultural nuances globally. For example, LaVonne Roberts mentioned that AI can capture the essence of someone’s mannerisms and personality, helping preserve someone’s personhood and uniqueness. This can be especially beneficial to those with disabilities, such as ALS. Additionally, Marine Rabeyrin adds that global NGOs should adapt AI services to local contexts, enhancing accessibility and relevance across various regions and cultures.

  1. Collaborative partnerships offer a pathway to enhance diversity and inclusion in AI.

Enhancing diversity and inclusion in AI is achievable through collaborative efforts among organizations. By partnering with others sharing the same mission, companies that are specializing in accessible and affordable technologies can collectively drive impactful change.

  1. Measuring impact and transformation in diversity and inclusion within AI involves assessing outcomes.

According to the panelists, measuring impact and transformation in diversity and inclusion within AI involves initiatives such as developing open-source solutions, tracking the adoption of responsible AI pledges, and assessing changes in ethical governance practices among companies. While measurement tools are still evolving, it’s crucial to evaluate progress to refine strategies and improve outcomes effectively.

Looking Forward

By incorporating diverse perspectives, AI initiatives can address region-specific challenges and foster inclusivity on a global scale. As we navigate the complexities of AI development and deployment, it’s imperative to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion at every stage. Let’s forge a path towards a more equitable and sustainable future for all.

Learn more about Lenovo’s Responsible AI policy.



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