Business Technology

Thursday 22 August 2019

Dell executive warns over AI gender balance

 

'Anja Monrad, senior vice-president and general manager for central and eastern Europe for Dell Technologies, said gender balance was important for a wide variety of professions.' Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto
'Anja Monrad, senior vice-president and general manager for central and eastern Europe for Dell Technologies, said gender balance was important for a wide variety of professions.' Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

A leading European executive at tech giant Dell has warned that more women must be involved in emerging technologies to guard against unconscious bias.

Anja Monrad, senior vice-president and general manager for central and eastern Europe for Dell Technologies, said gender balance was important for a wide variety of professions.

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"If we don't have a balanced population of employees in the companies that are developing, say, AI, we're going to have a society with artificial intelligence and robotics which are designed by men," she said.

"Nothing wrong with that but we need to have balance. We are seeing unconscious bias creep into AI. But it goes both ways. We are seeing in law schools all around Europe that the majority of students are young girls. If that continues - and I think in some of the countries it is up to 75pc - we're going to have lawyers who are female and that might not be good if, for example, you are a man seeking divorce and want to have custody of a child," she told the Sunday Independent.

Monrad was speaking at the Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network global summit in Singapore. More than 100 female entrepreneurs attended, including four from Ireland.

Monrad also said that diversity was not always a priority for smaller companies, but that it should be. "I think there is a difference between the multinationals and companies as you go down in size," she said.

"In the startup, scale-up and medium businesses, the focus is really on growth and survival, and less about diversity and inclusion, from a business imperative point of view.

"I don't necessarily think it's the right thing because maybe early on having a diverse and balanced team can help you in your growth ambitions, in your profitability ambitions, and could help you from getting disrupted by others. So look at it as not something that you have to do, but as something that would help you achieve what you want to do."

Sunday Indo Business

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