NEW YORK, Dec. 13, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- LivePerson, Inc. (Nasdaq:LPSN), a leading provider of conversational commerce solutions, has announced that Miriam Vogel will become the inaugural executive director of EqualAI. EqualAI, a nonprofit organization, was launched in June 2018 by LivePerson in collaboration with global leaders in business, technology, and academia including Arianna Huffington, Jimmy Wales, and Dr. Justine Cassell of Carnegie Mellon. EqualAI aims to identify and prevent gender bias and encourage diversity in the development of artificial intelligence (AI). In her role as executive director, Ms. Vogel will help develop strategies that people and companies can use to create equal, unbiased, artificial intelligence.
Artificial Intelligence learns from data sets that humans provide or through circumstances that humans have created. AI is therefore exposed to unconscious human biases — and in some circumstances, it perpetuates bias — often caused by a lack of diversity within the field itself. According to some estimates, as few as 13.5 percent of the machine learning field is female, and only 18 percent of software developers and 21 percent of computer programmers are women. Women are well represented, however, in the AI-based assistant space: all four of the top four virtual assistants, responding on command to aid with administrative tasks, were created with a female gender. On the other hand, the more sophisticated problem-solving bots are given male personas, such as IBM's Watson and Microsoft's Einstein.
The goal of EqualAI is to develop a framework for creating AI that is free of biases. This will be effectuated by supporting a pipeline to the AI field that includes more females, creating a diverse workforce in the field of AI and developing tools to ensure this technology is used as a source for progress and not an impediment to it.
Looking toward her new role, Ms. Vogel commented, "I am honored to take on this exciting challenge. This initiative blends the work that I have focused on throughout my career, identifying and eradicating inequality. I am particularly excited to use my federal government experience to address this core challenge of bias in the tech space, the hub of our innovation and progress. We need to ensure that people of all backgrounds can participate in the development of AI, to enable businesses and individuals to fully thrive."
"We launched the EqualAI initiative in recognition of how gender bias has crept into the fast-moving field of AI development and how critically important it is for us to work toward a new set of best practices to raise the bar across the AI field," said Robert LoCascio, founder and CEO of LivePerson and cofounder of the EqualAI initiative. "Ms. Vogel's appointment signals how important this work is and how fortunate we are to have someone of her caliber lead our efforts."
Among her many achievements, Ms. Vogel has worked in all three branches of federal government, including two tours at the White House and most recently serving as Associate Deputy Attorney General under former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. Ms. Vogel led the creation and development of the Implicit Bias Training for Federal Law Enforcement while at the Department of Justice. Prior to that, Ms. Vogel served as acting director of Justice and Regulatory Affairs at the White House (under President Obama), and in that position led the President's Equal Pay Task Force to promote equal pay for women (as announced in the State of the Union, 2010).
Ms. Vogel enjoys teaching Technology Law and Policy in the Digital Age at Georgetown University Law Center and also serves as General Counsel to WestExec Advisors, LLC, a leading strategic advisory firm based in Washington, D.C.
LivePerson makes life easier by transforming how people communicate with brands. Our 18,000 customers, including leading brands like Citibank, HSBC, Orange, and The Home Depot, use our conversational commerce solutions to orchestrate humans and AI, at scale, and create a convenient, deeply personal relationship — a conversational relationship — with their millions of consumers. For more information about LivePerson (NASDAQ: LPSN), please visit www.liveperson.com.
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SOURCE LivePerson, Inc.