Women in AI: King’s College’s Kate Devlin studies AI and intimacy | TechCrunch

To give female academics and others focused on artificial intelligence some well-deserved and overdue spotlight time, TechCrunch is launching a Interview series Focus on the extraordinary women who are contributing to the artificial intelligence revolution. As the AI ​​craze continues, we will publish multiple articles throughout the year highlighting critical work that is often overlooked.Read more introduction here.

Kate Devlin is Lecturer in Artificial Intelligence and Society at King’s College London. The author of “Turn On: Science, Sex, and Robots,” which explores the ethical and social implications of technology and intimacy, Devlin’s research examines how people interact and react. Technology – past and future.

Devlin ran the UK’s first sextech hackathon in 2016 and directs advocacy and engagement for the Center for Trustworthy Autonomous Systems, a collaborative platform supporting the development of robotics and artificial intelligence systems that are “good for society”. She is also a board member of the Open Rights Group, an organization dedicated to defending digital rights and freedoms.


In a nutshell, how did you get started in the field of artificial intelligence? What drew you to this field?

I started out as an archaeologist, eventually crossing disciplines and completing a PhD in Computer Science in 2004. The idea was to integrate these disciplines, but I ended up doing more and more research on human-computer interaction and how people work. Interactions with artificial intelligence and robots, including acceptance of such technologies.

What work (in AI) are you most proud of?

I’m delighted that intimacy and artificial intelligence are now being taken seriously as an academic field of study. There is some amazing research going on. It used to be seen as very niche and unlikely; now we see people building meaningful relationships with chatbots – meaningful because they actually mean something to those people.

How do you deal with the challenges of the male-dominated tech industry and the male-dominated artificial intelligence industry?

I don’t. We just keep at it. This is still shockingly sexist. Maybe I don’t want to “lean in”; maybe I want an environment that isn’t defined around the qualities of masculinity. I guess it’s a two-pronged thing: “The increase in home-based work because it’s better suited to taking care of children, and let’s face it, that’s still falling on us.” Give us more flexibility until we don’t have to do the bulk of the care ourselves.

What advice would you give to women seeking to enter the field of artificial intelligence?

You have the right to take up as much space as a man.

What are the most pressing issues facing artificial intelligence in its development?

responsibility. Accountability. There is a current level of fervor surrounding technological determinism, as if we are hurtling toward some dangerous future. We don’t have to be. This can be rejected. It’s okay to prioritize a different path. rare. Part of the problem we face is new; the size and scale make it particularly difficult.

What issues should artificial intelligence users pay attention to?

Uh… late capitalism.

More useful: check the source – where did the data come from? How ethical is the supplier? Do they have a good social responsibility record? Would you let them control your oxygen supply on Mars?

What is the best way to build artificial intelligence responsibly?

Regulation and conscience.

How can investors better promote responsible artificial intelligence?

Thinking about this from a purely business perspective, if you care about people, you will have more satisfied customers. We can see through moral cleansing, so that really makes it important. Hold companies accountable for considering the impact of human rights, labor, sustainability and social issues on their AI supply chains.

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