Nuffield students, Fellows and staff came together on Wednesday 8 May 2019 to celebrate the College’s first BME Talk and Dinner.
Tom Ilube CBE, technology entrepreneur and educational philanthropist, spoke about ‘How AI can lead to more racism (if we are not careful)’. He highlighted the evolution of racism from the personal to the institutional to the algorithmic.
It is important, Tom pointed out, to know the biases of datasets that are used to train artificial intelligence systems. As an example, he encouraged the audience to Google the words ‘cute baby’ and see the image results that come up. Nonetheless, he was hopeful about the future of AI: one of the solutions is for AI companies in the developing world to work to reduce these biases.
Tom is the founder and CEO of London-based Crossword Cybersecurity plc and a Non-Executive Director of the BBC. He is an Advisory Fellow of St Anne's College and Chair of the education charity, African Gifted Foundation. He also launched the African Science Academy, the first girls’ science and technology school on the continent.
On the inaugural talk and dinner, the JCR’s BME Representative Ahmed Tohamy said:
“It was really exciting for us to create this forum at Nuffield. It's necessary, important and enlightening to have a space to talk about these issues, and we could not have had a better inaugural speaker than Tom. We're looking forward to future events addressing diversity and its interactions with academia, industry, AI and beyond.”
The BME Talk was followed by a Dinner, and all students, Fellows and staff at the College were invited to attend. This new event joins other annual events organised by the College to celebrate equality, diversity and inclusiveness: the LGBT+ talk and the International Women’s Day talk.