Washington, DC (Dec. 27, 2019) – Technology start-up IVOW AI announced today the launch of the Dataset Challenge: An Algorithm for Stories on Women in History, Culture, Science and Technology. The competition is a collaboration with top education institutions and technology and innovation thought leaders around the world to design the first comprehensive algorithm to create AI-ready structured data around narratives of women throughout history, shaping the future of cultural intelligence and inclusion within the field and working to reduce inherent biases.
IVOW AI was founded by former NPR journalists, storytellers, and technologists in 2018 to help bridge the communication gap between customer and machine with adaptive, culturally relevant conversations. Today the company is active in research and development, collaborating with academia, nonprofits, and industry leaders to test, research, and analyze the best ways to incorporate cultural intelligence in AI models.
“Current AI algorithms suffer from the same biases as their creators. To build effective AI-based technology solutions we must create more comprehensive datasets to nurture cultural intelligence in machines,” said Davar Ardalan, Founder and Storyteller in Chief of IVOW AI. “To do that, we need a diverse coalition of global experts in data, AI, cultural anthropology, ethics, and engineering. And we need to engage the public in the process of collecting culturally prominent datasets.”
IVOW is partnering with the nonprofit AI Commons and New York’s Test Master Academy to launch the Algorithm for Stories on Women Challenge in 2020. Advising on the open source dataset project are more than 20 leaders in AI, data, cultural anthropology, ethics, software testing and engineering. To support the global challenge, a crowdfunding campaign provides the public an opportunity to help shape the beginning of a more inclusive AI field with an investment of just $25. The names of individual contributors will appear in the final algorithm’s comments to commemorate their investment.
“Identity is the commodity of today’s digital economy and for AI and personalization to be relevant and effective, we need to solve for identity and design for diversity,” said Ardalan. “This was the catalyst for the Algorithm Challenge and why we are crowdfunding the first global dataset challenge focusing on the stories of women – to give everyone a chance to help shape the future of AI.”
Starting in May of 2020, challenge participants must develop an algorithm that generates a character profile when provided the name of a prominent female in history, science, technology, or culture including folklore and myth, by scraping information from online sources. This data collection is necessary to provide critical historical context for the preservation of culture with an emphasis on the role of women. Three challenge award winners will be selected in fall 2020.
“The theme of this challenge is an extremely fitting introduction to the global AI and Storytelling challenge series that IVOW.AI plans to hold over the next decade,” said Professor Ioannis Kakadiaris, the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Distinguished University Professor of Computer Science at the University of Houston. “The stories of women comprise integral components within any comprehensive cultural context, and they are especially resonant within the field of Computer Science.”
“The global challenge is designed to help preserve stories like that of US astronaut and chemist Cady Coleman, whose groundbreaking work aboard the International Space Station helped expand the frontiers of science; and educator Shirley Chisholm, who pushed boundaries as the first African American woman elected to Congress,” said Ardalan.
“The fact is deep learning offers a new lens to unearth patterns in cultural data that have long been invisible to the human mind,” notes IVOW's AI Advisor Dr. Ali Khosh.
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