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7 Women Leaders in AI, Machine Learning and Robotics

KEY TAKEAWAYS

These women are leaders in the cutting-edge fields of AI, ML and robotics. See what they’ve accomplished and what might be in store next.

The general tech industry, including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and robotics, has a gender diversity problem. Much of the field is male-dominated despite more than half the world’s population being women. (Also read: The Gender Gap in Tech 2022.)

Since AI, ML and robotics will likely dominate virtually every corner of our lives in the future, there should be enough room at the table for women. Although men predominantly hold positions in these fields, numerous women are making a difference one day at a time.

Here are seven leading women in AI, ML and robotics:

1. Allie Miller

Allie Miller is a leader in ML, business and public speaking. She works in three areas of artificial intelligence: natural language processing (NLP), computer vision (CV) and data.

Miller is a Dartmouth, Wharton and Harvard-Westlake alum. Currently, she serves as the Global Head of ML Business Development, Startups and Venture Capital at Amazon Web Services (AWS). Miller also spent time working for IBM, where she led various teams and worked on developing innovative AI-based solutions. Miller’s passion drives her thinking to solve the world’s most technical problems in the age of AI, paving the way for a more diverse and inclusive field of artificial intelligence.

2. Claire Delaunay

Claire Delaunay was the vice president of engineering at NVIDIA, a global leader in AI computing, from 2017 to 2022. Delaunay is responsible for Isaac, an end-to-end robotics and AI platform solution.

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Besides her position at NVIDIA, Delaunay held powerful leadership roles at major corporations like Uber and Google. She has around 15 years of experience in the tech industry and founded two companies, Botiful, in 2013, and Robotics Valley, in 2010.

3. Nichol Bradford

Another woman leading the AI field is Nichol Bradford, a founder, CEO and transformative tech pioneer. Here are some of Bradford’s career highlights:

  • Operated Blizzard Entertainment’s Chinese properties, such as World of Warcraft, Diablo III and Starcraft.
  • Worked for Disney, Blizzard and Vivendi.
  • Is the CEO & founder of the Willow Group.
  • Is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Transformative Technology Lab.
  • Was on the Vivendi Games team that led the Activision-Blizzard merger.

At one point in her career, Bradford was considered the most senior Black female in the video game sector. When asked about closing the gender gap in tech, Bradford says, “with seven billion people, we need the added support and insight.” (Also read: 5 Ways to Support Women in Your Tech Company.)

4. Samantha Edds

Samantha Edds is the lead data scientist at Yelp, the app company that crowdsources business reviews. In the past, Edds worked with nonprofits, startups and large corporations. She is a well-known statistician with roots in international studies and development.

Edds was also senior data scientist at Bunch.ai until February 2020. She has a master’s degree in applied statistics and is highly skilled in data science. She helps companies uncover important information about their operations to ensure they’re on the right track.

5. Yuka Kojima

Yuka Kojima co-founded FOVE Inc., a virtual reality (VR) company developing headsets with eye-tracking capabilities. The product Kojima and her team are creating will have applications in education, health care, gaming and movies.

Last year, Kojima’s company raised $11 million in Series A funding from big companies like Samsung Ventures and Foxconn Technology Group. One of FOVE’s values is diversity, which is critical for developing tech — specifically, AI, ML, VR and other emerging technologies.

6. Lisa Falzone

In 2018, Lisa Falzone and Chris Ciabarra co-founded Athena Security to make schools, businesses and communities safer. Falzone serves as CEO and has raised over $200 million from top-tier venture capitalists and private equity firms. Athena Security’s mission is to ensure safety by implementing the Athena Weapons Detection System (WDS).

The company uses automated technology to help users detect and deter weapons. WDS is a sophisticated security entry checkpoint that can spot concealed weapons, like guns and knives, and immediately alert staff members. One of the reasons Falzone and her team created WDS was because she wanted to make safer schools in light of mass shootings.

7. Dr. Fei-Fei Li

Dr. Fei-Fei Li, a computer science professor at Stanford, is a significant leader in the AI field and a national leading voice for advocating diversity in STEM and AI. She co-directs the university’s AI institute and, at one point, took on roles at Google and Google Cloud, acting as vice president and chief scientist of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Additionally, Dr. Li founded ImageNet, an image database helping researchers find data to help train object recognition models. So far, Dr. Li has published over 200 scientific articles in some of the most prestigious academic journals.

Will Gender Diversity Increase in the Tech Industry?

Women are still vastly underrepresented in the fields of AI, ML and robotics. Despite the incredible contributions women on this list have made, women at large remain a minority in these male-dominated fields.

It’s time to close the gender gap and recognize the invaluable contributions that female innovators are making to these rapidly evolving technologies.

Tech companies of all sizes and types must do more to ensure gender diversity, whether that means offering scholarship opportunities, supporting women in STEM organizations or hiring more people who identify as female. (Also read: The Future of Women in Tech.)

It’s still uncertain whether more women will enter the AI, ML and robotics fields. However, these trailblazers will continue to inspire young women to pursue the areas in which they’re most interested, such as technology, engineering and other related sectors.

Although organizations have made decent progress, it’s clear more needs to be done.

Conclusion: Supporting Women in AI, ML and Robotics

There’s no debate: Women deserve a seat at the so-called “tech table.”

Whether focusing on AI and ML or CV and VR, tech companies must include women in the conversation.

That will better equip companies to meet the needs of people from all walks of life. Change won’t happen overnight, but it’s time for more women, such as those listed above, to carve out a place in AI, ML and robotics. (Also read: Top Career Tips for Women Working in Technology.)

And if you’re a woman ready to take on the tech world, join the ranks of trailblazing women who are blazing a path in technology, engineering, and other related sectors. Take the leap and make your mark on the world!

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Devin-Partida

Devin Partida is the Editor-in-Chief for ReHack.com, and has had her freelance work featured in the official CES magazine, as well as various other tech publications. When she isn't writing about the latest tech, gadgets or cybersecurity trends, you can find her biking around the Golden Gate Bridge. To view Devin's full professional portfolio, please visit this page.