How it all started

Everyone – from entrepreneurs to startups to corporate innovation departments – has been paying more attention to AI over the last few years. Following this insight, the idea was born to enable women to make the most of it.

Over the past few years, there have been a lot of discussions in the media about women in the AI industry. Many companies started running workshops, including in-house training on unconscious bias and support for motherhood in the workplace. 

Women in MKAI Forums

The opportunity to be part of the very first Women in MKAI Forum series is exciting beyond words. This event was organized within MKAI to bring women from technology, design and entrepreneurship communities. It is an opportunity to join hands with like-minded women to discuss themes that are pertinent, current and, in some cases, taboo. Our goal is to create a warm and nurturing environment of fellowship and support for women and members who share an interest in advancing women’s roles in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) fields.

It is a virtual space where women can ask whatever questions they want to ask and have a chance to be heard. Also, it provides ways for them to feel like they are not alone (i.e. doing the same thing as others.) The idea behind this group is for people to learn, support & share. We believe that sharing each other’s experiences, thoughts and ideas with other people will help everyone reflect upon themselves, their ways of thinking (and feeling) and help each woman become better at / more satisfied in their work relationships & life overall.

The purpose is to open the flow of information. A forum for opinion exchange. A place to inspire people with powerful ideas, stories, and quotes.

Empowering women into greatness within them

1st Forum – Empowering women by fostering diversity and inclusivity in the world of AI (August 2021)

Machine learning algorithms are better than humans at some things and worse than humans at others. For example, they’re excellent at identifying pictures of cats and not yet good enough at giving legal advice. On the other hand, it’s tough for a machine to detect humour, empathize with a person’s pain, or be creative.

Because of that, we created the first WIM Forum entitled Empowering women by fostering diversity and inclusivity in the world of AI. This was a call to action – we aimed to bring together capable women and those that support them. And then – talk more about this to raise awareness.

2nd Forum – Emotions, Spirituality and AI (September 2021)

During the 2nd Forum, our special guests Divya Dwivedi and Valeria Sadikovych explored the meaning of emotions, their role in the growth of an individual’s mind, and whether machines could be designed to feel. Are we trying to make machines more human or more like us? We believe we need to do both.

So, what will be the role of Women in MKAI in this new era? What kind of challenges do we need to prepare ourselves for? I’m sure that Women in MKAI are strong enough to solve the biggest riddles of humankind. The above is also true for the world of AI: we need to think and talk about ourselves and our products and services as human beings. After a brilliant set of panels, discussion and Q&A session, the second forum concluded with an open-minded conversation about how our emotions shape our realities.

3rd Forum – Mental health and AI

As professionals in the AI field, we can probably imagine how AI can help us increase our productivity and do better work. Maybe it will offer good ideas at the right time. On the other hand, this might be a temporary phase in history until we get used to having conversations with various types of AI from computers, mobiles, cars and other digital objects around us. Following this, we wanted to discover more about how this impacts our mental health and wellbeing.

Still – we wanted to explore the current state beyond this. Hema Lakkaraju and Alisha Arora helped us dive into this topic and take the discussion to another level. So, if we consider that AI is just a set of algorithms, then the values and knowledge embedded in its design and implementation potentially influence its behaviour.

Mental health is about achieving flourishing. Good mental health is not simply the absence of illness. Individuals are considered to be mentally healthy to the degree that they can achieve their personal goals, handle what life throws at them, and treat others with respect. A key component of mental health is thinking clearly — making good decisions and seeing reality as it is — which depends upon acquiring knowledge about our world and using it wisely. 

4th Forum: AI, Space Ethics and Women’s Contributions

Space exploration is an industry that relies on international cooperation and collaboration, but that diversity isn’t reflected in the current space workforce. However, space is not a neutral sector.

In order to take this to another level, we first need to make sure that women in the space sector don’t face several unique challenges in STEM fields that can discourage many from wanting to enter the field at all. Following this, Women in MKAI Forum – November edition, brought to the table a critical discussion about women’s careers in space and the field of science.

Through discussion and panels from our dear special guests, Anuradha T.K. and dr Odilia Coi, we encouraged the idea of women empowerment principles concept into AI systems that will lead to the long-term efficacy of AI, Space Ethics and women’s contributions and promising results.

Safe path to thriving

It’s our immense pleasure to know that this initiative inspired over 400 women who were at least once at our WIM Forums. It gave us such a strong willingness to keep up with great work and bring more crucial topics to the table during the upcoming year. During forums, we realised how important it is to empower each other, stimulate meaningful dialogue and encourage each other to thrive together. Looking forward to seeing what the future holds!