Artificial intelligence (AI) is bringing a fresh approach to the old ways of thinking in the tech sector which will help shape female leaders, says Karolyn Gainfort, an advisory committee member for Woman in AI.\nGainfort has felt the brunt of gender bias and disparity during her 25-plus year career in the IT and telecommunications sector.\nAfter a stint tech in the UK, Gainfort went home to New Zealand in the early 90s and experienced being \u201cpatted on the head\u201d and offered junior pay, which was less than her male peers who had the same level of experience as herself.\n\u201cIt felt like I was at war a lothellip; to be taken seriously,\u201d she said. \u201cI remember an older woman I worked for, said to me one of the things about turning 50 is I can say what I want, I\u2019ve got the wisdom and experience and if people don\u2019t like it they can justhellip;go away.\u201d\nAlthough it was a \u201cjungle out there for a while\u201d, Gainfort stuck it out and now sees the benefits that come with age and experience in an industry that she is passionate about.\nWhat Gainfort experienced in New Zealand was different from the doors that opened for her in the UK. Despite originally heading to London to become a ballerina -- on her mother\u2019s insistence and her own love of dance -- Gainfort took a job as a receptionist in a film production company.\n\u201cMy mother didn\u2019t speak to me for a week,\u201d she said. \u201cBut that didn\u2019t stop me from putting my hand up for things, especially when new technology was coming out like the first Epson PC. At the time, Ihelped set up a bulletin board for the music industry with British Telecom.\u201d\nGainfort\u2019s career in the UK progressed from there when she started specialising in project management and quality software assurance and finally to her current position as digital risk mitigator - principal consultant at strategic advisory firm, KJR.\n\u201cI love new technology and just how it shapes business and how it affects people\u2019s worlds,\u201d she said. \u201cThat\u2019s why I have been doing this for so long.\u201d\nHer unusual background, her curiosity and her tenacity helps give her different perspectives to the technology conversation -- which has led her to often champion the need for more diversity just being a \u201cnormal\u201d part of the industry.\n\u201cThere\u2019s this gorgeous young woman at the Woman for AI camp. She told us that when men ask her what she does for a job (she's a robotics engineer), they don\u2019t believe her, and they are stunned and shocked,\u201d she said.\n\u201cIt\u2019s still a surprise for me to see that now, although I am used to it and can ignore it, to see it happen to a young woman \u2013 it\u2019s 2019.\u201d\nThis is where the AI industry can make a difference in the issue of diversity and gender equality. Gainfort said AI requires a diverse way of thinking with the need to be creative to help use the technology to help the world and solve social problems.\n\u201cThere is a lot of fear and fear mongering around AI, which is a real shame\u201d she said. \u201cIt can be used to do manual jobs where humans had done them before, but you still need humans to input the tasks into AI [systems].\u201d\nHowever AI can be \u201cskewed\u201d said Gainfort, last year Amazon abandoned an AI recruiting tool that showed bias against women.\n\u201cIf somebody implements AI, and uploads it with 20 years\u2019 worth of data and uses that past information to make predictions, it is going to be biased, old and out of date,\u201d she said.\n\u201cThat\u2019s where the diversity of thinking is needed \u2013 so when it comes to using a prediction tool in an HR system, you won\u2019t upload old data of mostly male candidates with software engineering degrees.\u201d\nWhere it gets interesting for Gainfort is looking what the AI is being taught and by who. With a diverse AI team, she said it\u2019s not just the AI engineer or the data scientist in putting too much data or too little data.\n\u201cA diverse team will look have someone that can look at what the data is, the impact of using it and whether or not there is a need to take away or add information,\u201d said Gainfort. \u201cThey can really spend time preparing and researching what they think the successful outcome will be.\u201d\nIt\u2019s an exciting era that the world is moving into, acknowledged Gainfort, especially if the business sector pushes more young women through with their views on diversity.\n\u201cAt the Women in AI camp we have girls aged 11 to 26 all listening to each other and pitching ideas,\u201d she said.\n\u201cThey\u2019re looking at how AI can help with mental health, training dogs in the home (especially older ones that have been brought home from the RSPCA \u2013 so they aren\u2019t dumped again) and assisted living robots for the elderly. Some of these issues directly impact their own lives and their families.":\nGainfort says this is where AI\u2019s strength lies, is ensuring a generation of girls are being asked about how they can help in problem solving, without the need for a technical background.\n\u201cIt\u2019s a creative technology that will enable a lot of positive change in the world,\u201d she said.