The NYT List of ‘Who’s Who’ in AI Under Fire for Male-Only Lineup

  • The New York Times list of “who’s who” in AI has been slammed for featuring zero women.
  • The list consists of 12 men, most of them the leaders of AI or tech companies.
  • “Godmother of AI” Fei-Fei Li criticized the list, writing, “It’s not about me, but all of us in AI.”

The New York Times’ profile of “who’s who” in AI, published Sunday, has drawn criticism for featuring zero women.

The article gives credit to a list of twelve men — most of them are the leaders of AI companies and tech giants — for fuelling the rise of the modern AI movement.

“You could come up with no women ⁦@nytimes⁩? I have binders of them starting with @drfeifei,” wrote tech journalist Kara Swisher in an X post on Sunday, referring to Stanford professor Fei-Fei Li.

Li herself reposted Swisher’s criticism of NYT on X, adding, “It’s not about me, but all of us in AI, all of the incredible ‘godmothers’, pioneers, active researchers, students from all walks of life.”

Li established ImageNet in 2009 as a massive dataset of images used for training AI, and has been described as a “godmother of AI” for her contributions to the field.

The NYT list’s selection criteria was also criticized by Sasha Luccioni, a researcher at the AI community Hugging Face. “Apparently it’s ok to include ‘an internet philosopher and self-taught A.I. researcher’ and… Musk of all people? But not women who actually made massive contributions to the field, from Fei-Fei Li to Doina Precup and Joelle Pineau…It’s just so profoundly screwed up,” she wrote.

Stanford professor Roxana Daneshjou also listed out women who could have been added to the list. “You literally erased all the heavy hitting women of AI and but included people who are more ‘influencers,'” wrote Daneshjou.

Others who criticized the list include tech investor Vinod Khosla and Toby Walsh, chief scientist of the University of New South Wales’ AI Institute.

The New York Times “Who’s Who Behind the Dawn of the Modern Artificial Intelligence Movement” article includes: OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, Anthropic CEO Dario Amodei, Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates, LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Google CEO Larry Page, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, tech investor Peter Thiel, “godfather of AI” Geoffrey Hinton, and philosopher Eliezer Yudkowsky.

The New York Times did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, sent outside regular business hours.

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