Jersey City — Amid the AI boom, consumers have begun to question and criticize the ethics of the technology and what an AI-fueled future looks like.
AI as a new form of technology comes from a particularly undiverse background. As of 2019, 72% of global professionals with AI skills are male. To make matters worse, a recent report by McKinsey’s State of AI 2022 revealed that less than 25% of AI employees identify as racial or ethnic minorities.
The diversity issues in AI by default span across multiple identity facets, leaving a lot of room for solutions to be made.
Project Liberty, a nonprofit dedicated to building a global alliance for responsible technology and Aspen Digital, an international impact organization focused on creating an inclusive data economy, partnered together to launch what may just be a solution in this space: the Next Gen Tech Fellowship.
The fellowship pilot launched last month and is set to train and provide a platform for five U.S.-based Gen-Z leaders (ages 18-25), who are seeking to build a more accessible, safe and inclusive world — both online and off.
According to Project Liberty and Aspen Digital, each participant is committed to navigating how new and emerging technologies will impact their generation. As the digital landscape evolves to include the unique challenges of ubiquitous AI and the growing dangers of online hate and disinformation, it is critical to foster the agency and informed perspectives of the rising generation.
The fellows are to receive exclusive virtual 1-on-1s and tailored learning sessions with leading experts on issues including the future of artificial intelligence, data equity, the community impacts of emerging technologies, cybersecurity and Web3. For their final presentation in May, the fellows will select a topic at the intersection of young people and tech to research.
As someone who advocates for diversity in tech, the fellowship concept really caught my eye. AI is not going anywhere and Gen Z deserves to have a say in where the future of tech is headed next. I’m surprised that more organizations have not begun to host similar programming.
Fellowships like this encourage diverse voices to exist in tech. Being that we as Gen Z are one of the most diverse generations the country has ever seen, it is imperative that we find roles in tech that allows us to diversify the field, while building solutions that actually work for us.
Keeping it gee, big tech companies building AI solutions have a lot to offer the world through youth-centered fellowship programs. If AI is the future, Gen Z will be the pilot of that ship soon enough. It makes sense to prepare us now, and expose us to a wealth of opportunities — before the diversity gap increases.
Miranda Perez (she/her/hers) is a Jersey City, NJ-based journalist who covers the tech industry. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @mimithegee.
Edited by NaTyshca Pickett