Employees at the Alan Turing Institute are speaking out following the appointment of four men to key positions.

Employees at the Alan Turing Institute are speaking out following the appointment of four men to key positions.

Personnel at the United Kingdom’s foremost establishment for artificial intelligence and data science have voiced significant apprehension about the institution’s stance on inclusivity, following the selection of four males for high-level positions.

The letter sent to the leaders of the Alan Turing Institute (ATI) stated that the recent appointments reflect a pattern of lacking diversity in the institute’s senior scientific leadership.

The signatories of this letter, totaling over 180 individuals, are raising concerns about ATI’s compliance with their promise of diverse hiring practices. They are urging the institute to examine the gender gap in their higher-level positions.

The letter, directed towards the institute’s chief executive Jean Innes, chief operating officer Jonathan Atkins, and chief scientist Prof Mark Girolami, suggested that now is a good opportunity to consider if all perspectives are being listened to and if the institute’s dedication to diversity and inclusivity is being fully implemented in our hiring and decision-making procedures.

The Guardian has obtained a letter expressing concern regarding ATI’s decision to hire four men for key positions in the areas of sustainability, fundamental research, health, and defence and national security. This follows the appointment of two men to special adviser roles.

The letter stated that their goal is not to diminish the accomplishments of their fellow colleagues, but rather to collaborate with them. Their main objective is to draw attention to a larger problem within their institute’s approach to diversity and inclusivity, specifically in scientific leadership positions with a focus on gender diversity and inclusivity.

The individuals who have signed the document have asked ATI’s leaders several inquiries regarding the selection process. These questions pertain to the efforts taken to attract more applicants from underrepresented groups, as well as the level of gender diversity in the shortlisted candidates. The letter mentions ATI’s plan and strategy for promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion, which includes the goal of displaying strong leadership in the area of diversity.

ATI issued a warning last year about the pressing problem of gender disparity in AI investment. This was in response to a report they published, which revealed that only 2% of AI startup deals in the past decade were made by female-founded companies.

The letter from ATI indicates that the scientific leadership overseeing AI research consists of six women and 13 men, with a gender ratio of approximately 32% to 68%. Among ATI’s entire staff of 560 individuals, 53% identify as male and 47% as female.

According to the yearly diversity in tech report from the Tech Talent Charter, a government-supported industry organization, women make up a quarter of senior technology employees in the UK, with ethnic minorities accounting for 14% of senior tech positions.

The CEO of ATI stated that the organization, which receives some government funding, is dedicated to boosting the representation of individuals from marginalized communities in the fields of AI and data science.

“We select our appointments through an unbiased process and based on qualifications,” she stated. “We understand the vital role of having diverse leadership and are open to discussions with our community on how we can continue to improve. As the nation’s institute for data science and AI, we are dedicated to increasing the representation of marginalized groups in these fields.”

Source: theguardian.com