Top 10: Women in AI in the US

Based on our Technology Top 100 Women 2024, we consider some of the leading women in AI across the United States who are committed to AI transformation

Our sister publication, Technology Magazine, released its Top 100 Women in Technology 2024 list last week. It features some of the leading women in the technology sector, spanning across AI, data centres and cybersecurity, all committed to digitally transforming our world for the better.

Now more than ever, it is essential that all women are able to work and progress in artificial intelligence (AI) sectors. In the wake of International Women’s Day 2024, women working in AI can lead to greater business and development opportunities, less data biases and a more inclusive and equitable workplace.

With this in mind, AI Magazine considers some of the leading women in AI in the United States.

10. Dr Joy Buolamwini, President at The Algorithmic Justice League

With a longstanding commitment to AI ethics, Dr Joy Buolamwini continues to hold AI developers accountable as they work to tackle machine learning biases.

Self-described as a poet of code, she founded the Algorithmic Justice League (AJL) to create a world with more equitable and accountable AI technology. Her MIT thesis methodology uncovered large racial and gender bias in AI services from companies like Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon - who very quickly worked to improve their software as a result. 

9. Fidelma Russo, EVP, GM of Hybrid Cloud and Chief Technology Officer at Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Experienced in servers, storage, networking, cloud services, backup, machine learning, analytics, and global IT and infrastructure, Fidelma Russo specialises in identifying inflexion points for businesses, markets and technologies bringing them together for maximum revenue growth and customer benefit. 

Fidelma is the current Executive Vice President. General Manager of Hybrid Cloud, and Chief Technology Officer at HPE.

8. Safra Catz, CEO at Oracle

Dedicating the last 25 years of her career to Oracle, Safra Catz has held various positions within the company since joining in 1999. Taking on the role of CEO of Oracle in 2014, Catz also serves on the company’s Board of Directors.

Safra believes in the need for leaders to be decisive, to act boldly and to be unafraid to go into uncharted territory to drive growth and stay ahead. She also advocates for the need to adopt modern technology including cloud and AI, building it into the foundations of new initiatives.

7. Mira Murati, Chief Technology Officer at OpenAI

First joining OpenAI as a researcher in 2018, Mira Murati has been integral to the company’s leadership. Today as its Chief Technology Officer, she plays a critical role in the company’s evolution and growth, leading the company’s research, product and safety functions and helping build technologies such as ChatGPT, DALL-E, and GPT-4.

Writing about Mira for the 2023 Time 100 Next list, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, “She has a demonstrated ability to assemble teams with technical expertise, commercial acumen, and a deep appreciation for the importance of mission,” adding: “Mira has helped build some of the most exciting AI technologies we’ve ever seen.”

6. Daniela Amodei, Co-founder at Anthropic

One of the most influential people in AI today, Anthropic co-founder Daniela Amodei has had a remarkable journey in developing reliable AI systems. Forming the company with her brother in 2021, Daniela side-stepped into the AI sector at a pivotal moment in its development.

Prior to Anthropic, Daniela worked at OpenAI overseeing natural language processing (NLP) and music generation teams. Her work also saw her act as Vice President of People, where she worked in recruiting, people programs, DEI and learning and development.

5. Dr Rana el Kaliouby, Co-founder at Affectiva

Rana el Kaliouby is an Egyptian-American scientist who co-founded Affectiva, a software company that built AI with an understanding of human emotions, cognitive states, activities and the objects people use.

Dedicated to the ethical development and deployment of AI, el Kaliouby is part of the Partnership of AI and the World Economic Forum’s Council of Young Global Leaders, driven by her passion for advocating for standards that ensure data privacy and mitigate both data and algorithmic bias.

4. Timnit Gebru, Founder & Executive Director at The Distributed AI Research Institute (DAIR)

Timnit Gebru is one of the most impactful advocates of AI DE&I. She is the Co-founder of the Black in AI initiative and the Founder of The Distributed AI Research Institute.

Gebru is also known as the Former Co-lead of Google’s Ethical AI team, with a key part of her role being to ensure that Google’s AI products did not hold racial bias. However, following the publication of her paper that challenged the ethics of AI language models at large, she left the position in 2020 after two years.

3. Cathy Pearl, UX Lead on Bard at Google

Cathy Pearl has been creating Conversational User Interfaces (voice, text and multi-modal) since 1999. Having first designed Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) at Nuance, she then moved on to building conversational mobile apps. 

Currently, Cathay is a UX Lead on Google’s large language model (LLM) Gemini (formerly Bard). Before that, she worked on Assistant and managed a team of designers at the company.

2. Dr Fei-Fei Li, AI Researcher and Professor at Stanford University

Fei-Fei Li is an American computer scientist who was born in China and is known for establishing ImageNet, the dataset that enabled rapid advances in computer vision in the 2010s.

Her significant contributions to the sector involve developing advanced algorithms that are capable of recognising and comprehending visual content. 

Li's achievements have attracted global attention and she has received numerous accolades as a result, including the ACM Prize in Computing. She currently serves as the co-director of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centred AI (HAI), which is dedicated to fostering the development of AI technologies that uphold ethical standards, transparency and societal benefits.

1. Cynthia Breazeal, Professor at MIT Media Lab

Cynthia Breazeal is an American robotics scientist and entrepreneur. She is a former chief scientist and chief experience officer of Jibo, a company she co-founded in 2012 that developed personal assistant robots.

Currently, she is the Dean for Digital Learning at MIT, where she leverages her experience in emerging digital technologies and business, research and strategy to lead Open Learning’s business and research and engagement units.

Her book, Designing Sociable Robots, is recognised as a landmark publication in launching the field of Social Robotics and Human-Robot Interaction.

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