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CHAPTER 5: Call to Action

What’s next for Feminist approaches to AI? We explore practical next steps for key actors in ensuring that AI doesn’t embed bias, and can instead be positioned to overcome bias and help to realize a bountiful, equitable future.

Published onSep 13, 2021
CHAPTER 5: Call to Action

At the <A+> Alliance for Inclusive Algorithms, we propose a holistic approach to solve the tech exclusion problem from its roots:

We call for taking dynamic steps to include an intersectional variety and equal numbers of women and girls in the creation, design, and coding of the technology we want. Beyond encouraging more investment and better strategies for women and girls to gain skills: we want diverse women proactively involved in all AI processes, shaping the technology that affects every part of our lives.

We propose the vigorous participation of women and girls, from settlements to cities, from rural environments to primary and secondary schools and universities, better informing the design and implementation decisions of government officers and companies, engineers and management teams miles away from the societies they are trying to serve and the problems that they are trying to address.

We believe that there is not only room for, but urgent need for, women and girls’ expert frontline experience and input, participation and co-creation, at each and every stage of AI development and deployment.

We call for Affirmative Action for Algorithms that are conceived to correct for bias from the moment of conception. Algorithms that solve the problems needed on the ground with problem definition and solution design sourced from the frontline. We advocate for the adoption of guidelines that establish fairness, accountability and transparency for algorithmic decision making (ADM) in both the public and private sectors, opening up and debiasing the algorithmic Black Box.

You do not need a math degree to have lived and understood the systemic fixes that need to be escalated in society, to include more, and to serve better. By combining the knowledge on the ground from the feminist frontline with more diverse and inclusive teams composed of computer scientists, machine learning experts, data scientists and mathematicians, social scientists, ethnographers, economists, and citizens an even larger alliance can be created for tackling and actively correcting for systemic gender and race inequalities.

This, in our view, is a better avenue than taking old systems and old assumptions, optimizing them for efficiency and digitizing them with old biases at scale, and only then -maybe- correcting for bias after harm has been caused.

Our proposal is both practical and possible to pilot: open the room and seat women and girls at your crisis tables where you are deciding the next tech interventions, including AI interventions, to solve the current enduring crises.

Given the pace at which AI and Algorithmic Decision-Making systems are being deployed we need to seed the future we want with inclusion, multidisciplinarity, and gender, race and class diversity. We are ready to pilot that future, seizing the urgent now of long term COVID-19 response work firmly in the context of the equally urgent need to create more democratic, new systems so that we all can thrive.

Test a participatory model. See the difference it makes in the outcomes that create the collective future we deserve. See and seize women and girls’ potential. Repeat the process again and again. Once a space for innovative thinking is opened to one billion women and girls, the world will see one billion transformative ideas emerge. But only if an ecosystem for their ideas to flourish is created now.

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