How to Prepare for AI in the Workplace: Education and Empathy

Tabitha Goldstaub

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is set to disrupt the workplace – within five years we could all have an AI work colleague. It’s worth starting to prepare now for this work revolution, say everywoman co-founders Maxine Benson and Karen Gill.


Women need to start thinking about working with AI now in order to future-proof their career. This was the message that came through clearly from our everywoman Tech Forum held on 8 February 2018 at The Hilton London Park Lane.

One of the main themes of the day was the myriad ways in which AI was going to affect the workforce, and discussions kicked off with Tabitha Goldstaub, co-founder of CognitionX, who explained Artificial Narrow Intelligence to a rapt room.

Narrow intelligence is where a machine can do one task better than a human.

Tabitha Goldstaub, co-founder of CognitionX

“Remember when you used to have to tag yourself and all your friends in Facebook photos and it took ages? Now an AI can learn our faces and tag our faces much quicker than a human can.”

People working on AI tend to be 70-80 per cent male, at present, and if men are feeding experiences to AI they most likely won’t cater for women. In AI, the more experiences a machine is given, the more it’s going to learn. As Goldstaub noted; “That’s quite a big responsibility for those people making machines”, underlining just why it is so important for women to get involved with AI.

“The data these machines are fed is critical because that’s how it’s going to learn,” she said. “If a heart monitoring system only looks at the heart attack symptoms of a man it will not detect the heart attack symptoms of a woman”

To illustrate the limitations of gender-biased AI she discussed the fact that until the 1990s more women were dying in car crashes than men because crash test dummies were in the shape of men rather than women. “This shows that if we don’t get involved in building technology, these information stories will become everyday knowledge and it will be exasperated by Artificial Intelligence,” she added.

So how can women prepare and get involved with AI? Goldstaub advised to stay curious, read books and learn more about what you don’t know. Melissa Di Donato, Chief Revenue Officer at SAP agreed. “Always look for ways to put your hand up and ask new things. Ideas and questions are welcomed,” she said.

Adaptability was another core skill for Di Donato. “Change is going to do you good, keeping your skills relevant is important.” Inma Martinez, Venture Partner at Deep Science Ventures echoed this by appealing to businesses to keep informed about technology advances “A company that’s not innovating is going to be left behind. Educate yourself with anything related to AI so that when these new roles appear you know more than anybody in the room.”

Goldstaub also reminded us that, as well as educating yourself about new technology, it was important to keep honing your emotional intelligence too.

Machines aren’t going to have empathy so this is where you win.

Tabitha Goldstaub, co-founder of CognitionX

“If you have empathy you understand the people you are working with and the people you are trying to deliver a service to - as well as where that machine is trying to get to.”

Suki Fuller, founder of strategic and competitive intelligence company Miribure agreed. “As human beings we learn empathy from birth and this is something that cannot be developed by machines,” she said. “AI won’t replace your job, or you. It will be replacing some of the aspects of what you do. The thing that you will be better at is going to be the human aspect and the empathy that quite frankly women seem to have more of.”

It’s a brave, new - but very exciting - world out there.


The Founders' Blog

By Karen Gill MBE & Maxine Benson MBE