#DiversityInScience - The Feminine Face of Artificial Intelligence

Portrait of the scientists
f.l. Sandra Warner, Roxana Holom, Anna-Christina Glock, Manuela Geiß, Irmela Kofler, Lisa Ehrlinger, Christina Hochleitner, Verena Geist, Anna-Sophie Jäger, Christine Gruber ©RISC Software /SCCH

Humans and artificial intelligence (AI) are the team-mates of the future. One approach taken to achieve cooperation that works well is “human-centred artificial intelligence (AI)”. Explainability and trust are essential aspects here. In the ongoing development of AI, women are having an ever greater say. Female researchers from the UAR Innovation Network give insights into the research questions that point the way forward for “AI team-building” and explain why diversity plays an important role in research.

Close connections in the AI community

Within the UAR Innovation Network, intensive research in the field of human-centred AI, such as that conducted at the two Hagenberg-based research centres RISC Software and Software Competence Center Hagenberg (SCCH), is a central objective of Upper Austria’s business and research strategy #upperVISION2030. The centres maintain close relations in the AI community in other regions. SCCH research director Bernhard Moser is president of the Austrian Society for Artificial Intelligence (ASAI), the platform for Austria’s AI community. The research organizations are also members of the nationwide network AI Austria and highly committed members of the regional association AI Upper Austria of which SCCH is a founder member. Through this local group, the international community is strongly represented in the industrial region of Upper Austria. The association Women in AI ensures that women have a big say in the field of AI. This network of female experts brings together woman researchers from the centres with the specific aim of promoting diversity and raising the profile of women in AI.

Promotion of women in research

The research centres carry out initiatives with the specific objective of promoting women and young talents. These initiatives are often the result of the efforts of ambitious women to whom they are very important. Overall, the gender gap in research has narrowed in recent years, particularly among young researchers. At the research centres SCCH and RISC Software, women account for one-third of the team on average. This share is considerably higher than the approximately 20% in the IT branch overall. The intention is to cement this strong position still further. Both centres maintain partnerships with technical secondary schools, and so take research on topics relating to the digital transformation and artificial intelligence into the classroom. The centres also regularly participate in exciting school competitions in order get young people interested in technology, and fascinated by it, from an early age.

©RISC Software /SCCH