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“Ensuring AI…doesn’t leave anyone behind” – A conversation with Alessandra Sala and Sejal Amin from Shutterstock

Artificial Intelligence | Global Summit | Interview

In a world increasingly reliant on AI, ensuring ethical conduct and inclusivity becomes paramount. This was the core sentiment captured during an enlightening discussion at the AI for Good Global Summit in Geneva, featuring Alessandra Sala, the Senior Director of Artificial Intelligence and Data Science at Shutterstock, and Sejal Amin, the company’s Chief Technology Officer.

Alessandra Sala, who leads teams of data scientists and AI engineers at Shutterstock, plays a pivotal role in shaping AI technology within the company (AI for Good Global Summit, 2023). Her leadership extends beyond her professional duties into the realm of activism. She serves as president of Women in AI, a global non-profit organization, and co-chair of the UNESCO Women for Radical AI platform, where she works on facilitating the implementation of ethical recommendations in AI (AI for Good Global Summit, 2023).

Complementing Sala’s work, Sejal Amin as CTO focuses on shaping the technology strategy and overseeing the engineering of all products at Shutterstock (AI for Good Global Summit, 2023). Together, their roles converge at the intersection of technology, AI, and ethical conduct, creating a roadmap for responsible AI development and implementation.

Implementing AI Guidelines Internationally

Addressing the need for international adoption of AI guidelines, Sala underscored the importance of a global framework. She referenced the global UNESCO recommendation on the ethics of AI as a significant initiative. It enables governments worldwide to design processes, procedures, and legislation that work in harmony with their specific needs while ensuring AI serves humanity, human right, human freedom, and most importantly, is inclusive for everyone and doesn’t leave anyone behind”

Shutterstock’s implementation of these principles in practice was highlighted, with Sala detailing the company’s approach: “We have established an ethical framework. Every time that we build an AI model, we audit the data resources for diversity, we audit the model so we mitigate bias and discrimination.”

AI: Future Trajectories and Challenges

Looking towards the future of AI, Amin delved into the rapid developments taking place within the industry. She acknowledged the challenges and learning curves inherent in the adoption and implementation of AI, but emphasized the growing need for transparency and ethical data management.

“Industries public and private are learning about how the implementations are working and candidly how they’re not,” Amin stated.

She further stressed the importance of addressing questions related to data sourcing, intent, privacy, and protection, highlighting the need for increased openness and transparency in these areas.

AI for Good: The Journey of Inclusivity and Diversity

On the topic of AI for good, Sala voiced the necessity of fair representation when building models, emphasizing the work done by Shutterstock to incorporate views from marginalized communities. The company funds these underrepresented groups to ensure their perspectives are included in the data pools used to build AI models, a testament to their commitment to diversity and representation.

“What we are doing is to fund people from marginalized communities to bring their views into the data,” said Sala.

Adding to Sala’s point, Amin discussed the Create Fund initiative at Shutterstock, which helps artists from underrepresented areas gain access to tools and skills, thus closing content gaps. She explained, “We’ve recently launched the Create Fund that essentially enables artists from underrepresented areas who may not have access to the skills and tools, so that we’re closing an access gap and by closing that access gap, we’re also closing content gaps.”

The insights offered by Dr. Alessandra Sala and Sejal Amin from Shutterstock portray a future of AI that is not only technologically advanced but also ethically sound and inclusive. The conversation served as a testament to Shutterstock’s commitment to driving ethical AI practices and their dedication to shaping a more inclusive, representative future for AI technologies.

Our Summit Sponsors

Thank you to our Global Summit 2023 Sponsors, co-convener Confédération Suisse, our diamond sponsors Immersion4 and Technology Innovation Institute, our gold sponsors Monash Data Futures InstituteZTE CorporationAmazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft, our artistic intelligence sponsor Shutterstock, our networking sponsors Rohde & Schwarz and KUKA, our digital art AV technology partner Dorier Group, our captioning provider Interprefy and our supporter Samsung Electronics.

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