Mindset and Misconceptions in AI and Data Science

Max Dosad our consultant managing the role
Author: Max Dosad
Posting date: 10/18/2018 8:51 AM
Hedy Lamarr. Ada Lovelace. Dorothy Vaughn. These are just a few of the names of early women pioneers. Ada Lovelace, a century before it existed, is now known as the first computer programmer. Hedy Lamarr, along with her partner George Anthiel, developed and patented the technology which would become the digital backbone of what makes cellphones, laptops, tablets, and other wireless operations possible.  

For some, numbers come naturally. For others, communication comes naturally. In today’s technology trends, the ability to blend the two will become ever more important. But, it won’t just be about blending skill sets. It will also be about blending the human workforce and artificial intelligence. But there are still some misconceptions clouding opportunities. Sometimes, it simply comes down to mindset. And breaking those mental barriers is a start toward filling the gap and creating the workforce of the future.

Building Bridges

One woman helping do that is Kaisa Kukkonen, also known as the ‘Lady AI’. She’s translating business needs into technical needs and has developed AI Excursions for women to build understanding of AI in different professions. Her goal is to build bridges between generations, and between technical and non-technical people, which she hopes will lead to bridges between humans and AI. Ms Kukkoen says:

“When it comes to business executives, Millennials and younger generations, there is a massive difference in how technology is perceived in their daily lives. There is a difference of what is considered normal and approachable and non-threatening,” 

Women in Technology Are Trending

From Girls Code Camps to Women in Data Science conferences, women are starting to get heard in the tech world. Across the globe, women, regardless of profession, can try their hand at Programming, Data Science, Digital Analytics, and more. 

We’re rethinking our approach to teaching and training technology, working towards overcoming mental barriers. As many women as are in the profession now, there probably that many more who were told at some point they weren’t right and that this isn’t their field. Those who have overcome this adversity, however, have made a huge impact. 

Dorothy Vaughn, one of history’s hidden figures, made history as one of the earliest female programmers for NASA. When the first super computers came into play, she made it her mission to learn everything about it and became an expert FORTRAN programmer. 

But, it’s more than teaching or training. Ultimately, there is a need for a shift in attitude from the wider tech community. By broadening candidate search criteria and making clear benefits such as parental leave at the start of the interview process, businesses can open themselves up to a more diverse, and more equal, workforce. 

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Effect

Mistakes can lead to great and delicious things. The chocolate chip cookie was never supposed to happen. The woman who ran the tollhouse wanted to change up her sugar cookie recipe and thought she could make a chocolate sugar cookie by adding chopped chocolate. To her surprise and her hungry customer’s delight, the bits didn’t melt all the way, to ultimately become Tollhouse Chocolate Chips.

The same can happen when you let students know it’s okay to make a mistake. Because sometimes what you envision on paper isn’t what you get on the screen. A Finnish/Nordic start up edtech company is teaching high school students to combine art and programming. Using a Java-based programming language called Processing, similar to those used in the design field and game industry, they teach programming. But instead of creating the same thing over and over, students create something new. Combined with another course using Arduinos, the students can take first steps towards building their own robots.

If you’re interested in data and analytics, and want to up your game in the field. We may have a role for you. Harnham specializes in both Junior and Senior roles. 

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