Giving Compass' Take:

• Rediet Abebe explores the development of artificial intelligence (AI) to help solve social challenges, and the need for more representation in the field in order to ensure equity.

• Are we paying close enough attention to the gatekeepers for new technology? How can we be more vigilant and make sure interdisciplinary approaches to diversity are supported?

• Here's more about the potential of AI to advance the greater good.

While artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to solve an incredible spectrum of problems and challenges in our lives, our work and our world, there is a widening disconnect between the people who are introducing and deploying AI-based solutions and those who set policies for when and how these solutions are used.

Much has been written about one consequence of this disconnect — algorithmic bias in AI systems, in which machine learning algorithms trained on data that reflects historical discrimination replicate and even magnify it. But there’s another pressing issue: There are many missed opportunities to use AI for the good of many.

Just as AI systems susceptible to bias are a problem, so too is inadequate focus on contributions that improve the lives of marginalized communities, such as black and brown individuals, economically vulnerable populations and many other groups whose interests are underserved in society.

If teams that set research directions, write algorithms or deploy them are made up of individuals with similar backgrounds and experiences, then we will end up with research that is to the benefit of a similarly narrow and already privileged subset of society.

I see this gap in action every day. I was born and raised in Ethiopia, a country with a beautiful culture and history, but also a country that continues to face challenges that are distinct from those in the United States. So I look out for AI research focused on helping the people of Ethiopia and the people of Africa more generally. More often than not, however, I find a conspicuous lack of such research.

Read the full article about why AI needs to better reflect society by Rediet Abebe at Forbes.