We’re in the golden era of machine learning and artificial intelligence, but there’s one big problem, according to Bill Gates and Melinda Gates.
There aren’t enough women in the space.
“[Artificial intelligence] is the most exciting thing going on right now — it’s the holy grail that anyone in computer science has been thinking about,” Bill Gates said on stage at Vox Media’s Code Conference on Wednesday.
Speech recognition and computer vision have seen more progress in the last five years than ever before.
As Bill put it, “The dream is finally arriving.”
But Melinda said that stats around women in computer science are troubling: Only 17% of computer science graduates today are women, down from a peak of 37%.
“We ought to care more about women being in computer science,” she said. “You need women participating in these things.”
If women aren’t active in the space, it will influence the things that artificial intelligence research is conducted around and applied to, she reasoned.
As interviewer Walt Mossberg joked on stage, women’s participation in artificial intelligence can’t just be limited to being the voice of AI assistants like Amazon’s Alexa or Microsoft’s Cortana.