Women in AI: Brandie Nonnecke of UC Berkeley says buyers ought to insist on accountable AI practices

To give AI-focused ladies teachers and others their well-deserved — and overdue — time within the highlight, TechCrunch is launching a collection of interviews specializing in exceptional ladies who’ve contributed to the AI revolution. We’ll publish a number of items all year long because the AI growth continues, highlighting key work that always goes unrecognized. Read extra profiles right here.

Brandie Nonnecke is the founding director of the CITRIS Policy Lab, headquartered at UC Berkeley, which helps interdisciplinary analysis to deal with questions across the position of regulation in selling innovation. Nonnecke additionally co-directors the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology, the place she leads initiatives on AI, platforms and society, and the UC Berkeley AI Policy Hub, an initiative to coach researchers to develop efficient AI governance and coverage frameworks.

In her spare time, Nonnecke hosts a video and podcast collection, TecHype, that analyzes rising tech insurance policies, rules and legal guidelines, offering insights into the advantages and dangers and figuring out methods to harness tech for good.


Briefly, how did you get your begin in AI? What attracted you to the sector?

I’ve been working in accountable AI governance for almost a decade. My coaching in expertise, public coverage and their intersection with societal impacts drew me into the sector. AI is already pervasive and profoundly impactful in our lives — for higher and for worse. It’s necessary to me to meaningfully contribute to society’s capability to harness this expertise for good slightly than stand on the sidelines.

What work are you most pleased with (within the AI subject)?

I’m actually pleased with two issues we’ve achieved. First, The University of California was the primary college to determine accountable AI ideas and a governance construction to raised guarantee accountable procurement and use of AI. We take our dedication to serve the general public in a accountable method significantly. I had the respect of co-chairing the UC Presidential Working Group on AI and its subsequent everlasting AI Council. In these roles, I’ve been capable of acquire firsthand expertise considering by way of the right way to finest operationalize our accountable AI ideas with a view to safeguard our college, employees, college students, and the broader communities we serve. Second, I feel it’s important that the general public perceive rising applied sciences and their actual advantages and dangers. We launched TecHype, a video and podcast collection that demystifies rising applied sciences and gives steerage on efficient technical and coverage interventions.

How do you navigate the challenges of the male-dominated tech business, and, by extension, the male-dominated AI business?

Be curious, persistent and undeterred by imposter syndrome. I’ve discovered it essential to hunt out mentors who assist range and inclusion, and to supply the identical assist to others getting into the sector. Building inclusive communities in tech has been a robust strategy to share experiences, recommendation and encouragement.

What recommendation would you give to ladies searching for to enter the AI subject?

For ladies getting into the AI subject, my recommendation is threefold: Seek data relentlessly, as AI is a quickly evolving subject. Embrace networking, as connections will open doorways to alternatives and provide invaluable assist. And advocate for your self and others, as your voice is crucial in shaping an inclusive, equitable future for AI. Remember, your distinctive views and experiences enrich the sector and drive innovation.

What are among the most urgent points going through AI because it evolves?

I consider some of the urgent points going through AI because it evolves is to not get hung up on the most recent hype cycles. We’re seeing this now with generative AI. Sure, generative AI presents vital developments and could have large affect — good and unhealthy. But different types of machine studying are in use at the moment which are surreptitiously making selections that instantly have an effect on everybody’s capability to train their rights. Rather than specializing in the most recent marvels of machine studying, it’s extra necessary that we deal with how and the place machine studying is being utilized no matter its technological prowess.

What are some points AI customers ought to concentrate on?

AI customers ought to concentrate on points associated to information privateness and safety, the potential for bias in AI decision-making and the significance of transparency in how AI methods function and make selections. Understanding these points can empower customers to demand extra accountable and equitable AI methods.

What is one of the simplest ways to responsibly construct AI?

Responsibly constructing AI entails integrating moral issues at each stage of growth and deployment. This consists of numerous stakeholder engagement, clear methodologies, bias administration methods and ongoing affect assessments. Prioritizing the general public good and making certain AI applied sciences are developed with human rights, equity and inclusivity at their core are elementary.

How can buyers higher push for accountable AI?

This is such an necessary query! For a very long time we by no means expressly mentioned the position of buyers. I can not categorical sufficient how impactful buyers are! I consider the trope that “regulation stifles innovation” is overused and is usually unfaithful. Instead, I firmly consider smaller corporations can expertise a late mover benefit and be taught from the bigger AI corporations which have been creating accountable AI practices and the steerage rising from academia, civil society and authorities. Investors have the facility to form the business’s route by making accountable AI practices a important issue of their funding selections. This consists of supporting initiatives that concentrate on addressing social challenges by way of AI, selling range and inclusion inside the AI workforce and advocating for sturdy governance and technical methods that assist to make sure AI applied sciences profit society as an entire.

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