$15,000 - $20,000
Abeba Birhane is a cognitive scientist, currently a Senior Advisor in AI Accountability at Mozilla Foundation and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of Computer Science and Statistics at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. She researches human behaviour, social systems, and responsible and ethical AI – work for which she was recently featured in Wired UK and TIME on the TIME100 Most Influential People in AI list.
Birhane’s work explores the challenges and pitfalls of automating human behaviour through critical examination of existing models and audits of large scale datasets used for training models. She demonstrated patterns of problematic data collection, labelling, and use of large scale image datasets like MIT’s 80 Million Tiny Images, which was taken down as a direct result of one of her audit papers. Her paper showed that these datasets – which were used to develop numerous algorithmic tools – encode racist, misogynist, and otherwise marginalising labels that cause downstream harms (as models trained on such dataset further exacerbate these problems), especially towards people at the margins of society.
Birhane was awarded the 2019 NeurIPS Black in AI Best Paper Award, a 2020 VentureBeat AI Innovations in Computer Vision Award, a 2022 Fairness Accountability and Transparency (FAccT) Distinguished Paper Award, and a 2022 Lego Director’s Prize for her PhD thesis contribution, among many other honours.
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