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Here are nine women who have had a massive influence on the rise of AI.

In December 2023, The New York Times published an article identifying the top figures behind the rise of artificial intelligence (AI). The problem? It was a list exclusively made up of men, shining a light on the gaping gender gap in AI.

While we know that bringing together talented and diverse pools of people improves innovation, this gap is all the more important in a field that has the potential to reshape almost every aspect of our lives.

​​To celebrate the diverse thinkers in the world of AI, we’ve collated a list of women making waves in the industry. By no means is this an exhaustive compilation – there are more gifted individuals in the field who deserve recognition than we can give credit to. But to start, here are 10 women you should know about as we sprint into a new tech gold rush.

Jaime Teevan 

Chief Scientist and Technical Fellow, Microsoft 

Jaime Teevan became Microsoft’s first-ever chief scientist in 2018, tasked with driving research-backed innovation. Spearheading the company’s New Future of Work initiative during the height of COVID-19, Teevan began researching how AI could enhance communication and improve collaboration in remote and hybrid work. Later tasked with finding ways to integrate OpenAI’s GPT-4 into Microsoft’s core products following a major partnership between the two companies, Teevan’s team helped bring the Microsoft 365 Copilot to market.

Dr. Fei-Fei Li

Sequoia Professor of Computer Science and Cofounder, AI4All

Dr. Fei-Fei Li is the founding co-director of Stanford University’s Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence. A renowned academic in the field, Li worked on the large-scale dataset ImageNet in 2009, which became a key ingredient for the rise of deep learning models in the 2010s. Li is an outspoken champion of diversity in STEM and AI, and a sharp advocate for focusing on the challenges of disinformation and bias in the field.

Timnit Gebru

Found and Executive Director, Distributed Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (DAIR)

Timnit Gebru has become a big name in the field of AI, even if she didn’t explicitly set out on this path as a Stanford electrical engineering undergraduate. 

Between September 2018 and December 2020, she worked at Google, as co-lead of the Ethical AI research team. Gebru is best known for having written one of the most influential AI ethics journal articles, arguing in 2021 that biases rooted in large language models (LLMs) were a result of a conscious choice to prioritize speed over safety. The fallout led to the company’s demand that she remove her name from the paper. Gebru responded with a list of her own conditions, which ultimately led to her being ousted from Google, according to her tweets at the time. Since then, Gebru has become a founder and executive director of the AI research institute DAIR, where she examines the tech industry’s dependence on underpaid workers and the ideological roots of AI developers.

“The training data has been shown to have problematic characteristics resulting in models that encode stereotypical and derogatory associations along gender, race, ethnicity, and disability status,” Gebru’s seminal paper reads. 

Dr. Joy Buolamwini

Founder and Artist-in-Chief, Algorithmic Justice League

Dr. Joy Buolamwini is a pioneer of AI research, focusing on how racism, sexism, colorism, and ableism result in underrepresented groups becoming vulnerable to bias in the creation of algorithms. Her book Unmasking AI: My Mission to Protect What Is Human in a World of Machines deconstructs the “coded gaze” – evidence of encoded discrimination and exclusion in tech products – which she created the Algorithmic Justice League (AJL) to dispel.    

AJL combines “art, storytelling, and research” to raise public awareness about the impacts of AI, equip advocates with the resources to campaign, and galvanize researchers, policymakers, and industry practitioners to prevent AI harm.

Daniela Braga

Founder and CEO, Defined.ai and a member of US President Biden’s National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource Task Force in 2021

Daniela Braga has spent the last 18 years working in speech technology, both in academia and industry. In 2015 she founded Defined.ai, a company that specializes in curating and providing ethical data for AI applications. In an industry where conversational AI chatbots are mostly designed for an English-speaking market, Defined.ai is working to expand the pool of available training data into other languages.

“AI is only biased because humans are. All of our human biases are transported into the way we build AI. So how do we work around preventing AI from having bias?” she said as part of a sponsored VentureBeat post from 2022. 

Mira Murati

Chief Technology Officer, OpenAI 

Mira Murati boasts an impressive resume, having worked for Zodiac Aerospace, Tesla – where she was instrumental in the development of Model X – and Ultraleap. In 2018, she moved to OpenAI as a researcher, eventually climbing to a (very) brief stint as CEO and now CTO. Murati has been a key player in leading the company’s work on the generative AI tools ChatGPT, Dall-E, Codex, and Sora. 

Irene Solaiman

Head of Global Policy, Hugging Face, and a tech and ethics mentor at Stanford University.

Irene Solaiman’s path into the world of AI was anything but linear. Starting out as a student of human rights policies, she soon decided this was not the career path for her and pivoted into tech, taking coding boot camps and then computer science courses in AI. Since joining the field, she has strived to make AI safer, more ethical, and culturally responsible. Her influential 2023 paper, The Gradient of Generative AI Release: Methods and Considerations is a testament to that pledge.

Prior to her position at the AI start-up Hugging Face, Solaiman worked at OpenAI, where she first started to question the social impact and bias of LLMs. Now, she spends her time working on public policy and advising responsible AI initiatives at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and IEEE Standards Association.

Dr. Daniela Rus 

Director, CSAIL

Dr. Daniela Rus is renowned for revolutionizing the way machines interact with each other and humans. As the first woman director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT, her research covers areas such as soft roboticsswarm robotics, and 3D printing.

Her innovative work in AI and robotics – such as a project to develop wearable devices for blind and low-vision people, and the development of self-reconfiguring robots – has helped bridge the gap between machines and people.

“The machine has a body, the machine has a brain and the machine has the interaction with people. So, we need to progress on how we build and design machines. And here, I think computation, machine learning, AI can play a tremendous role,” she told Kevin Scott’s Behind the Tech podcast in 2022.

Daphne Koller 

Founder and CEO, Insitro 

Daphne Koller is the founder and CEO of Insitro, a biotech company using machine learning to simplify the drug discovery process. By harnessing AI, Insitro aims to transform an industry known for its lengthy and costly process of bringing new drugs to market.

“The benefit of what we can do with AI, and what we’re doing at Insitro, is to take biology, measure it in a whole slew of different ways enabled by cell biologists, bioengineers, and multiple technologies, and then let machines…find patterns in these data,” she said in an interview for the San Francisco Ballet. 

Koller is also the co-founder of the online learning platform Coursera, and was a professor in the department of computer science at Stanford University, and a MacArthur Foundation fellowship recipient.