For FemAI, I was invited to speak on the South by South West (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas, US. This little summary is provided to give some insights on the panels’ topic: AI in Hollywood – of course, from a feminist lens! Furthermore, I want to share some personal experiences about this trip to US where I met a lot of people and again realized how white-male dominated the tech scene is.
Let’s start with the panel discussion: I am still flashed from the SXSW panel discussion on AI in Hollywood. Tyson Barker’s moderation was just on point, so Aleksandra Przegalinska, Chad Eikhoff and I were able to add our individual perspectives while keeping the conversational flow and including the audience. The feedback was awesome! I want to say thank you to the EU delegation in US for putting this topic on the agenda and enable me to add an inclusive feminist perspective. Let me share some of my thoughts: Hollywood has brought to life humanity's long dream of building machines that resemble us. Through a century of stories they help us dream, get inspired and progress the field of artificial intelligence by bringing it from obscurity into the public domain... BUT it has also contributed to entrenching gender inequality in the Al industry. A recent study from Cambridge analyzed 142 AI Hollywood movies 🎥 ✍🏽 none of them was solely direct by women (2 co-directors were female) ✍🏽 only 8% of AI scientists are female in AI Hollywood movies. (This is significantly less than we find in our current workforce!) ✍🏽 the first female AI creator was displayed at 1997 ✍🏽 inclusive perspective is (again) fully missing This needs to change! I’m glad that all of the panelist agreed to repeat this 💫
This was an opportunity to grow, speaking for the first time in this dimension with such a professional working group and impressive panelists. Yes, I was nervous! I met just very very inspiring, creative, successful and empowering people, listened to insightful talks as well as entertaining, fresh music. If I hadn't met the people I did, I wouldn't know about the side events, how to get access to the really interesting talks, and what the process is like. So thank you very much! At the same time, I have to deal with some observations within the tech track: The need for new member events (empowerment), childcare, and spaces for women* was evident. A white-male dominated attendance rate can be addressed up front. DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) needs to be seen as key to success at these events! I'm not trying to play bad cop (that's how I opened my panel, by the way...), but it was important for me to address this. No doubt - it was worth it to get out of my comfort zone and I will do it again 100%. So dear people, take advantage of the opportunities that come your way, don't be afraid, take risks, be brave and trust in yourself! ❤️