The founder of Black Women in Artificial Intelligence offers strategies to increase representation


Angle Bush, who founded an organization to increase the presence of black women in technology, spoke Tuesday at the university’s Judiciary Library about how businesses and educational institutions can promote diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

She grew up wanting to create a robot named Usher to serve her hot cocoa.

But much later, after working diligently in the oil and gas industry, Angle Bush was at a technology conference when she looked around and saw very few faces that resembled her own. Since these are the people who are developing the technology to automate decisions in the future, Bush saw that as a problem.

“I didn’t see a full reflection of myself or what it took to provide access and opportunity for people of color,” Bush told a group of students, faculty and staff at an event Tuesday afternoon hosted by the Institute for the University of Miami hosted Data Science and Computing and the university’s ethics programs. “People often say that artificial intelligence is the fourth industrial revolution, and in that moment I said, ‘There certainly can’t be a revolution without black women.'”

Shortly thereafter, in 2020, Bush left her job at Shell in Houston, Texas, to found Black Women in Artificial Intelligence (AI), an organization that hopes to bring artificial intelligence to this segment of the female population engage, welcome and empower careers. Today it has members on five continents, and Bush hopes to open smaller chapters in colleges to address the small number of black women in the industry. She also has relationships with big companies like Amazon, CapitalOne, Nvidia, and others who want to attract more black women to their businesses.

Speaking to a group of more than two dozen people at the Otto G. Richter Library, Bush explained that diversity, equity and inclusion programs only make sense when leaders are willing to face the harsh realities of the small percentage of everyone to place minorities in their companies. rows.

“People have to ask things like, ‘Where do you stand as a company or organization? Do you have 1 percent or 12 percent minorities in your organization? Where would you like to be? What is your ability to become what you say you want to be? And why do you want to do that?’ ‘ she emphasized. “Before you can get to diversity, equity and inclusion programs, that self-reflection has to happen.”

Once these discussions are held, realistic goals are set and new employees are hired. Managers then need to be open to giving these new hires collective power, authority and influence, Bush added. “There is often a discussion about letting people [of color] Sit at the table,” she said. “A seat at the table without power and authority only takes up space.”

Finally, Bush said companies need to build trust with their existing employees so that new hires know their leaders are committed to the mission of inclusion and are helping their new hires succeed. Bush said she often reminds business leaders of the importance of employee retention and how happily employees would tell their friends and colleagues about positive experiences.

During her presentation, Bush asked the audience about their own experiences; what motivated them to participate; and why diversity, equity and inclusion matter to them. Alex Sanchez Covarrubias and Ayodele Omotoso, graduate students from the Miller School of Medicine, took part in the conversation with their advisor Sophia George, an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences, and both said Bush’s message resonated with them.

“In my experience in computational biology, there are few minorities doing data science, and I think institutions should encourage minorities to join this field in general so that it’s more representative,” said Covarrubias, a graduate student in cancer biology. “Sometimes when I ask someone for help troubleshooting code, they notice other things that I don’t notice. So as you increase diversity in this area, you have different backgrounds that can help you apply new methods to achieve your goal.”


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