Australian women recognised as AI leaders

By Shannon Jenkins

Wednesday June 12, 2019

Two Australian women have been named by IBM as global pioneers in artificial intelligence.

CEO of UBank, Lee Hatton, and Chief Digital Officer at Woodside, Shelley Kalms, were among the top 40 women from 15 countries acknowledged for their innovation at the global event.

The initiative recognises women who are advancing their companies with AI in a range of industries, including the public sector, energy, financial services, telecommunications and insurance.

Hatton and Kalms were selected because of their use of AI as a transformation agent to drive results for their organisations.

They have achieved this tech honour in spite of Australia falling behind other advanced nations by failing to exploit intelligence in goods and services.

READ MORE: Australia can’t afford ‘tech passivity’ in parliament any longer

IBM celebrated the honorees on June 12 at the IBM Watson Experience Centre in New York, where the women shared their experiences of implementing AI.

They hope to energise and inspire the next generation of young women leaders in AI to make a difference in their organisations.

A recent study by ServiceNow suggests that taking measures such as combining machine intelligence with human judgement can benefit the workforce in Australia’s public and private sectors.

Meanwhile, the UK government has published a report on using AI in the public sector.

It reveals that “leaders across the public sector could benefit from better understanding the technology, the opportunities it presents and the limitations of its use”.

According to the report, AI could:

  • Give more accurate information which leads to better outcomes. For example, providing accurate medical diagnoses.
  • Provide solutions to global social problems.
  • Simulate complex systems to test different policy options and find unplanned consequences before committing to a measure.
  • Improve public services. For example, personalising services to adapt to individual circumstances.
  • Automate simple, manual tasks, allowing staff to participate in more meaningful work.

Innovations such as these are possible in Australia’s public and private sectors, and could be led by future women leaders.

READ MORE: Five principles for citizen-friendly artificial intelligence

Michelle Peluso, Senior Vice President and Leader of IBM’s Women’s Initiative, said AI is “poised to drive dramatic advances in every industry”.

“Today, we are sharing the stories of 40 incredible women, who are paving the way forward in how AI is advancing businesses and changing how people work and live,” she said.

“At IBM, we know gender equality is critical and nowhere is this more important than in AI. We hope the stories shared today will encourage many more women to take a leadership role in shaping the future of this important technology.”  

View the full list of recipients here.

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