Connect with us

Technology

Canada lacks gender diversity in AI industry, lags in wage equality: WEF study

Editor

Published

on

[ad_1]

Canada has the world’s fifth largest artificial intelligence workforce, but is still far from closing the gender gap in the sector and others, according to new rankings from the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Aside from its announcements about the AI workforce, the WEF also revealed Monday that Canada ranked 16th in its annual gender gap ranking.

It marks the second year Canada has placed 16th on the international organization’s list, which measures economic, educational, health and political disparities experienced between men and women in more than 100 countries.

Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland took the top spots, but Canada ranked above Latvia, Bulgaria, South Africa, Switzerland and dozens of other countries, according to the “Global Gender Gap Report 2018.”

When it comes to wage equality for similar work, Canada ranked 50th, behind the U.S., Germany, Thailand, Uganda and Ukraine. Iceland was first.

The WEF said that this year, the global gender gap closed slightly after widening last year, for the first time in a decade.

The organization calculates it will take 108 years to close the gender gap across politics, work, health and education, but 202 years to close the workplace gender gap.

Risk of ‘perpetuating existing biases’

The international organization used LinkedIn data to find the size of Canada’s AI workforce is lagging behind the U.S., India, Germany and Switzerland, but beating dozens of countries including France, Spain, Singapore and Sweden.

However, the WEF found as part of its annual rankings on gender disparities that women only make up 24 per cent of Canada’s AI workforce and 22 per cent of the world’s AI workforce.

The WEF said the lack of women in Canada and the global AI pool is troubling because it implies that technology is being developed without diverse talent, thus “limiting its innovation and inclusive capacity.”

Low integration of women in AI talent pools, it said, is a “significant missed opportunity in a professional domain where there is already insufficient supply of adequately qualified labour.” If not addressed soon, the WEF warned, the gap could widen further.

Sarah Kaplan, director of the University of Toronto’s Institute for Gender and the Economy, said Canada needs to do more to develop the diversity of the AI workforce because the technology has the potential to replace lots of human processes and decisions.

“If we don’t have a diverse workforce working in AI, we risk not only perpetuating existing biases, but actually amplifying them and leading to really negative outcomes for the most vulnerable people in our society,” she said.

“We need to make a really huge deal out of the fact that we are not bringing a diverse workforce to work on this technology, which may shape all of our lives.”

Higher percentage of women than other countries

Diversity, she added, is important because whoever designs AI technologies will decide how the systems act. A wider talent pool can help mitigate situations that society has already encountered, such as where some facial recognition systems were developed without the availability to recognize black faces.

“No one ever thought ‘does this work on someone other than a Caucasian person?” Kaplan said. “The fact that we have an AI technology developed by a non-diverse workforce is hugely problematic.”

Kaplan said she has grown tired of seeing AI firms treat diversity as an “afterthought” and wishes it was being taken more seriously so Canada’s gender gap would be much better than the global average.

However, the WEF did find at least one positive when it comes to Canada’s AI sector: the AI sector employs more women as a percentage of workforce than the four countries — the U.S., India, Germany and Switzerland — that rank above Canada in terms of AI workforce size.

Jodie Wallis, managing director for consulting firm Accenture’s AI department in Canada, said she felt encouraged by the size of the country’s AI sector and the handful of women she sees in the country in high-profile AI jobs.

Women, she pointed out, are running Facebook’s AI research lab in Montreal and Uber’s self-driving car efforts in Toronto, and contributing to Google’s DeepMind unit.

“Women don’t have to look up and think, ‘Gee, I don’t think I am going to go into this field because we don’t have any winners,”‘ said Wallis. “That is one thing we have going for us.”

Despite the country’s successes in AI, Wallis said Canada still needs to get better at scaling its technology and focusing on the enrolment of women in technology-related courses.

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Technology

The ‘Maple Majestic’ wants to be Canada’s homegrown Tesla

Editor

Published

on

By

Look out Tesla, Canada has a homegrown electric sedan on the way. Well, that’s if AK International Motor Corporation can drum up enough investment to make its EV a reality. Dubbed the “Maple Majestic,” the vehicle is a battery-electric designed to “excel in extreme climate performance without adversely affecting the climate, as befits a vehicle from Canada,” according to its website.

What’s in a name? — The company says the maple leaf is a “symbol of Canada’s warmth and friendliness towards all cultures,” while “majestic” refers to the country’s “status as a Constitutional Monarchy.”

That patriotism carries over into Maple Majestic’s parent company’s lofty goals. AK Motor founder Arkadiusz Kaminski says he wants the company, which he founded in 2012, to become “Canada’s first multi-brand automotive OEM,” and that the “Maple Majestic is intended to be Canada’s flagship brand of automobiles on the world stage.”

Partnerships are key — “We acknowledge that the best chance for the Maple Majestic brand to succeed, lies in continuing to build the relationship with Canada’s parts suppliers and technological innovators, whether they be academic institutions, corporations, or individual inventors,” the company explains. “We are currently seeking partners in automotive engineering, parts manufacturing, automotive assembly, electric propulsion technology, battery technology, autonomous technology, and hybrid power generation technology.”

In other words, don’t expect to be able to buy a Maple Majestic any time soon… and don’t expect to pour over 0-60 mph times, power output, range, or other key stats, because those don’t currently exist. For now, all we have are pictures and a short video clip. But at least those are arresting.

Continue Reading

Technology

PE-backed Quorum Software to merge with Canadian energy tech firm

Editor

Published

on

By

Houston-based energy technology company Quorum Software will merge with a Canadian tech firm to bolster its presence in oil and gas services.

Quorum announced Feb. 15 it plans to merge with Calgary, Alberta-based Aucerna, a global provider of planning, execution and reserves software for the energy sector. The combined firm will operate under the Quorum Software brand.

Gene Austin, CEO of Quorum Software, will continue in his capacity as chief executive of the combined firm. Austin, former CEO of Austin-based marketing tech firm Bazaarvoice Inc., became CEO of Quorum in December 2018.

Aucerna co-founder and CEO Wayne Sim will be appointed to the Quorum Software board of directors. Both companies are backed by San Francisco- and Chicago-based private equity firm Thoma Bravo.

“Over the last 20 years, Quorum has become the leading innovator of software deployed by North American energy companies,” said Austin. “Today, Quorum is expanding the scope of our technology and expertise to all energy-producing regions of the globe. Customers everywhere will have access to a cloud technology ecosystem that connects decision-ready data from operations to the boardroom.”

In addition to the merger announcement, Quorum Software announced it had entered into an agreement with Finnish IT firm TietoEvry to purchase TietoEvry’s entire oil and gas business. The agreement, which includes hydrocarbon management, personnel and material logistics software and related services, is valued at 155 million euros, or $188 million, according to a statement from TietoEvry.

“Our three organizations complement each other — from the software that our great people design to the energy markets where we operate,” said Sim. “Our new company will be able to deliver value to our stakeholders, while accelerating the growth of our combined business and the energy industry’s software transformation.”

The combined company will serve over 1,800 energy companies in 55 countries, according to the announcement. With its headquarters in Houston, Quorum will continue to have a significant presence in Calgary and in Norway, the headquarters for TietoEvry’s oil and gas software business. Quorum will have other offices throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

As of Sept. 30, 2020, private equity firm Thoma Bravo had more than $73 billion in assets under management. In late December 2020, Thoma Bravo agreed to acquire Richardson, Texas-based tech firm RealPage in a roughly $10 billion acquisition.

Continue Reading

Technology

Piece of Kitchener technology lands on Mars on Perseverance rover

Editor

Published

on

By

KITCHENER — A piece of Kitchener technology has landed on Mars, thanks to NASA’s Perseverance rover.

The rover settled on the planet’s surface on Thursday afternoon. It’s been travelling through space since it was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla. in July.

“The whole idea of being on a device that we’re sending to another plant with the express mission of looking for traces of past life, it’s pretty mind boggling actually,” said Rafal Pawluczyk, chief technical officer for FiberTech Optica.

The Kitchener-based company made fibre optic cables for the rover’s SuperCam that will examine samples with a camera, laser and spectrometers.

“The cables that we built take the light from that multiplexer and deliver it to each spectrograph,” Pawluczyk said.

The cables connect a device on the rover to the SuperCam, which will be used to examine rock and soil samples, to spectrometers. They’ll relay information from one device to another.

The project started four years ago with a connection to Los Alamos National Lab, where the instruments connected to the cables were developed.

“We could actually demonstrate we can design something that will meet their really hard engineering requirements,” Pawluczyk said.

The Jezero Crater is where the Perseverance rover, with FiberTech Optica’s technology onboard, landed Thursday. Scientists believe it was once flooded with water and is the best bet for finding any evidence of life. FiberTech’s cables will help that in that search.

Ioannis Haranas, an astrophysicist and professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, said the rover isn’t looking for “green men.”

“They’re looking for microbial, single-cell life, any type of fossils and stuff like that,” Haranas said. “That’s why they chose a special landing site. This could be very fertile land for that.”

“It’s very ambitious,” said Ralf Gellert, a physics professor at the University of Guelph.

Gellert helped with previous rover missions and said it’s the first time a Mars rover has landed without a piece of Guelph technology on it. While he’s not part of Perseverance’s mission, he said the possibilities are exciting.

“Every new landing site is a new piece of the puzzle that you can put together with the new results that we have from the other landing sites,” he said.

“It’s scientifically very interesting because, even though we don’t have an instrument on that rover, we can compare what the new rover Perseverance finds at this new landing site,” he said.

Now that Perseverance has landed on Mars, FiberTech is looking ahead to its next possible mission into space.

Continue Reading

Chat

Trending