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Joy Buolamwini is a Person of the History of AI 2020

Joy Adowaa Buolamwini is a Ghanaian-American computer scientist and digital activist based at the MIT Media Lab. She founded the Algorithmic Justice League, an organisation that looks to challenge bias in decision making software.

In 2020, Buolamwini was on the front lines of campaigns in the United States and around the world to stop bias in AI systems. Her research helped persuade Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft to put a hold on facial recognition technology. Her 2020 TED Talk on algorithmic bias has over 1 million views. She was featured in the documentary film Coded Bias that premiered at

the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, that explores how algorithms encode and propagate bias.

Joy Buolamwini has testified before Congress about the dangers of facial recognition and she has called for a complete ban of police use of face surveillance. Her MIT thesis uncovered large racial and gender bias in AI services. Her research has been covered in over 40 countries, and as a renowned international speaker she has championed the need for algorithmic justice at the World Economic Forum and the United Nations. She serves on the Global Tech Panel convened by the vice president of European Commission to advise world leaders and technology executives on ways to reduce the harms of A.I.

As a creative science communicator, she has written op-eds on the impact of artificial intelligence for publications such as TIME Magazine and New York Times. Her spoken word visual audit “AI, Ain’t I A Woman?” shows AI failures on the faces of iconic women like Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, and Serena Williams as well as the Coded Gaze short have been part of exhibitions ranging from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston to the Barbican Centre, UK.

A Rhodes Scholar and Fulbright Fellow, she holds two master degrees from Oxford University and MIT; and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Fortune Magazine named her to their 2019 list of world’s greatest leaders describing her as “the conscience of the A.I. Revolution.”

A brilliant researcher, a highly effective advocate, a creative communicator, Joy Boulamwini should be recognized for HAI 2020.