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Article • 15/11/2021

Developing AI literacy and building global teams: Signal AI at the latest Women in Tech event, Women of Silicon Roundabout

Thank you to everyone who came by our stand at the latest Women In Technology World Series event, Women of Silicon Roundabout. Not only was it great to be a part of such a prestigious and well-known event celebrating women in tech and AI, but we loved meeting everyone in-person again.

We heard some fascinating insights across the two days from a stellar lineup of speakers. We’re very proud our VP Product Emily Bremner was selected for a keynote speech titled ‘Developing AI literacy: How to ride the wave of AI’.

My focus has been how we scale our supervised learning system to first reach a larger customer base within our core market and now how we can apply that same system to new use cases evaluating what business problems our AI and data are a good fit for. The guiding light of my career has been about finding the most impactful work I can do. And I continue to believe AI is the most impactful technology of our generation. I believe the hype. – Emily Bremner, VP Product

Emily questioned how we define AI, identifying a few key ways to break down the four foundational pillars behind implementing AI effectively: business problem, data, model, and organisational and technical readiness.

Emily discussed the importance of starting with a hypothesis, expectations and perceptions of accuracy and trust, AI’s explainability, and subjectivity of the outcomes of AI. Developing on this understanding of AI literacy, Emily outlined some of the burning issues around bias and readiness: “The reality is even with a clear problem, a great model and dataset many companies still fail to meaningfully leverage AI.”

Having also demonstrated the business problems Signal AI set out to solve, our data and our model, Emily concluded with a note on working practices, saying breaking down functional barriers – where everyone can understand and have a voice in how models are built and deployed – is “the most interesting and impactful way to develop and deploy technology”.

Being hypothesis-driven may seem obvious but it’s not something we always see in businesses. Sometimes we start with the cool tech and see what answers it produces and try to reverse engineer. – Emily Bremner, VP Product

Diversity within AI was a key point of Emily’s keynote speech. Emily spoke a well known truth when she said how there isn’t a diverse enough set of people working on AI. She explained how a wide mix of backgrounds and cultures can better influence a team and generate value, saying “you don’t need a PhD to meaningfully contribute”.

Emily spoke with great candour about being a woman in tech and understanding that sometimes voices aren’t raised “when we don’t feel we have the expertise” and hoped her talk gave more context and therefore confidence to lean into these conversations within your organisations, interviews, etc. She concluded with “Something I’ve found particularly relevant as a woman in tech is that sometimes we don’t raise our voices when we don’t feel we have the expertise. I’ve found a well-placed question is a good place to start.”

On day two of the Women of Silicon Roundabout event, our VP Revenue Operations Kirsty Charlton held a sold-out workshop on ‘Developing and growing a global team’.

The workshop covered three areas which can be the difference between good and great success:

  • Staying relevant as the leader of an evolving team
  • Senior leadership buy in to a growing team and responsibilities
  • Initiating change effectively

I was looking forward to hosting a workshop instead of presenting as it offered the opportunity to learn as a collective and discuss with a group from different levels and backgrounds the shared challenges and learnings of growing and developing a function within a fast growing global tech company. – Kirsty Charlton, VP Revenue Operations

The workshop also covered growing a team from the ground up and being an effective female leader in male dominated environments. The session was packed with shared tips and ideas on how to deal with imposter syndrome and the confidence gap, and how to ensure that competent women are getting, taking, and succeeding in the opportunities that they deserve.

From the Women in the Workplace report, by McKinsey & Co

Taking risks, diversity of thought, communication, internal education and unrelenting alignment to company goals were some of the many topics which were discussed as ways to excel, particularly for those feeling the effects of the “confidence gap” (usually weighted towards women).

Thank you again to everyone who attended Emily’s keynote and participated in Kirsty’s sold-out workshop. It was great to meet so many inspiring women working and leading in technology and share our insights and learnings together. There is still a long way to go for gender parity in tech, but from where I’m sitting, the future in the UK is bright! 

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