Women in AI: Sandra Watcher, professor of data ethics at Oxford

Interview with Sandra Wachter, Professor of Data Ethics in AI and Robotics


Sandra Wachter is a trailblazing figure in the field of data ethics, AI, robotics, algorithms, and regulation. As a professor and senior researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute, she evaluates the ethical and legal implications of data science. Her work includes examining instances where opaque algorithms exhibit racism and sexism, auditing AI to combat disinformation, and promoting fairness.

Section 1: Early Career Driven by Justice

Briefly discuss her motivation for pursuing a career in AI and its intersection with law:

– Always fascinated by the potential of technology to enhance people’s lives

– Aware of the negative impacts of technology

– Desire to ensure innovation benefits as many people as possible while safeguarding human rights

– Law seemed like the ideal tool to strike this balance

Section 2: Proud Work in AI – “The Unfairness of Fair Machine Learning”

Highlight her recent collaborative study revealing the pitfalls of enforcing group fairness measures in machine learning:

– Harmful impact on accuracy and efficiency

– Contradicts EU and UK non-discrimination law

– Ethical concerns regarding leveling down instead of uplifting marginalized communities

Section 3: Challenges in Male-Dominated Industry

Share her personal experiences navigating gender disparities within the tech sector:

– Societal expectations limiting opportunities for women in tech

– Importance of finding supportive networks and allies

Section 4: Advice for Women Entering AI Field

Offer guidance for women looking to pursue careers in AI:

– Seek out like-minded individuals and allies

– Embrace diversity to bring innovative solutions to complex problems

Section 5: Pressing Issues in AI Evolution

Address current challenges requiring urgent attention in the development and implementation of AI:

– Biased data leading to discriminatory outcomes

– Opaque nature of AI creating confusion and mistrust

– Climate change contributions from generative AI

Section 6: Responsible Building of AI

Emphasize the importance of ethical considerations during AI development:

– Implementation of regulations demanding responsible AI

– Balancing innovation and human rights


Encourage readers to engage critically with emerging technologies and prioritize ethical principles alongside progress.

Women in AI: Sandra Watcher, professor of data ethics at Oxford