September 12, 2023

TIME100 AI Spotlights Diverse Leaders In AI Influencers List

Timnit Gebru

TIME chose the 100 Most Influential People in Artificial Intelligence for the TIME100/AI, featuring several people of color.

TIMES’ most knowledgeable editors and reporters spent months fielding recommendations from dozens of sources to assemble hundreds of nominations they whittled down.

“We wanted to highlight the industry leaders at the forefront of the AI boom, individuals outside these companies who are grappling with profound ethical questions around the uses of AI, and the innovators around the world who are trying to use AI to address social challenges,” said executive editor Naina Bajekal, who led the effort.

Let’s meet some of the people of color on the list.

Timnit Gebru – Founder and Executive Director at Distributed AI Research Institute

Gebru co-wrote one of the most influential AI ethics papers in recent memory, a journal article arguing that the biases so present in large language models were no accident. Gebru lost her job in 2020 as the co-lead of Google’s ethical AI team after she refused a demand to remove her name from the independently published paper.

“Honored to be on this list with many of my friends and colleagues. And as usual, also along with some of the worst people. May their influence wane,” wrote Gebru on Twitter.

Linda Dounia Rebeiz – Artist

Rebeiz mainly creates her art with generative adversarial networks and neural-net architectures that allow her to train AI carefully on her datasets. This came after she found OpenAI’s text-to-image model DALL-E to show false images of the Senegalese capital, Dakar.

Dounia wrote on Twitter, “From experiments in my hallway studio to being included on Time’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in AI 2023. This is an incredible honor and a huge validation that our perspectives as artists matter in shaping how AI evolves.”

Richard Mathenge – Organizer at African Content Moderators Union

In January, a TIME investigation revealed that Kenyan workers earned $1.32 to $2 an hour to sift through harmful content produced by OpenAI’s ChatGPT, work which left some workers ‘mentally scarred’.  “We were dealing with serious trauma,” said Mathenge.

In May, Mathenge was one of the 150 content moderators who voted to establish the African Content Moderators Union to hold Big Tech accountable for its treatment of outsourced workers. In July, Mathenge joined three former ChatGPT colleagues to petition lawmakers to investigate the industry’s practice of outsourcing in Kenya and better protect workers.

Sneha Revanur – Founder and President of Encode Justice

Revanur is the youngest person on the list. Her interest in AI regulation began in 2020, when she founded Encode Justice, a youth-led, AI-focused civil society group, to mobilize younger generations in her home state of California against Proposition 25. 

“When I founded Encode Justice at age 15, I couldn’t have imagined that I’d end up on the cover of Time – the youngest on a list full of leaders I’ve looked up to,” wrote Revanur.

Joy Buolamwini – Founder and Artist-in-Chief at Algorithmic Justice League

Buolamwini founded the Algorithmic Justice League (AJL) in 2016 and used research and art to highlight AI’s social impact and potential harms. She also joined the President for a closed-door roundtable in June to voice concerns about facial recognition and biometrics already being used in policing, education, and health care.

Other notable people of color on the list

Pelonomi Moiloa – CEO and Co-Founder of Lelapa AI

Neal Khosla – CEO and Founder of Curai

Stephani Dinkins – Artist

Cristobal Valenzuela – CEO and Co-Founder of Runway

Manu Chopra – CEO of  Karya

Kate Kallot – CEO and Founder of Amini

Trushita Gupta – CTO and Co-Founder of Refiberd

Alondra Nelson – Researcher at the Institue for Advanced Study and Policy Adviser

James Manyika – Senior Vice President, Research, Technology and Society at Google

Anna Makanju – Vice President of Global Affairs at OpenAI

Omar Al Olama – Minister of AI at UAE

Sarah Chander – Senior Policy Advisor at European Digital Rights

Abeda Birhane – Cognitive Scientist

Rumman Chowdhury – CEO and Co-Founder of Humane Intelligence

Pushmeet Kohli – Vice President of Research at Google DeepMind

Inioluwa Deborah Raji – Fellow at  Mozilla Foundation

Arvind Narayanan & Sayash Kapoor – Professor & Doctoral Candidate, Princeton University

Shakir Mohamed – Research Director, Google DeepMind & Co-Founder, Deep Learning Indaba

See the complete TIME100 AI list here.

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.