Joy Adowaa Buolamwini is a Ghanaian-American computer scientist and digital activist. she describes herself as the poet of code. She founded the Algorithmic Justice League to create a world with more ethical and inclusive technology.
Her TED Featured Talk on algorithmic bias has over 1 million views. Her MIT thesis methodology uncovered large racial and gender bias in AI services from companies like Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon. Her research has been covered in over 40 countries, and as a renowned international speaker she has championed the need for algorithmic justice at the World Economic Forum and the United Nations.
She serves on the Global Tech Panel convened by the vice president of European Commission to advise world leaders and technology executives on ways to reduce the harms of A.I. In late 2018 in partnership with the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy and Technology, Joy launched the Safe Face Pledge, the first agreement of its kind that prohibits the lethal application of facial analysis and recognition technology.
As a creative science communicator, she has written op-eds on the impact of artificial intelligence for publications like TIME Magazine and New York Times. The annual Women’s Media Awards recognize as Joy as the Carol Jenkins award recipient for her contributions in explicating the coded gaze and its impact on gender equality presented by Women’s Media Center, founded by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem. In her quest to tell stories that make daughters of diasporas dream and sons of privilege pause, her spoken word visual audit “AI, Ain’t I A Woman?” which shows AI failures on the faces of iconic women like Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, and Serena Williams as well as the Coded Gaze short have been part of exhibitions ranging from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston to the Barbican Centre, UK.
A Rhodes Scholar and Fulbright Fellow, Joy has been named to notable lists including the Bloomberg 50, Tech Review 35 under 35, BBC 100 Women, Forbes Top 50 Women in Tech (youngest), and Forbes 30 under 30. Fortune magazine named her “the conscience of the AI revolution“. She holds two masters degrees from Oxford University and MIT; and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Fast Company magazine listed her as one of four “design heroes who are defending democracy online”. She was listed as one of BBC’s 100 Women in 2018. In 2018 she was featured among “America’s Top 50 Women In Tech” by Forbes.
In 2019, Buolamwini was listed in Fortune Magazine’s 2019 list of the World’s Greatest Leaders. The magazine also termed her “the conscience of the A.I. revolution”. She also made the inaugural Time 100 Next list in 2019.
In 2020, Joy Buolamwini featured in a Levi’s woman empowerment campaign for 8 March International Women’s Day. She was also featured in the documentary Coded Bias.
Congratulations to Joy, she is our Woman of Excellence 2020.