Timnit Gebru is the founder and Executive Director of The Distributed AI Research Institute and co-founder of Black in AI. A thought leader in fairness, accountability, transparency, and ethics in AI, she was dismissed from her role as Co-Lead of the Ethical AI Research Team at Google AI for voicing her concerns about workplace discrimination. At the forefront of AI research, Timnit tackles issues surrounding Black people’s lack of presence, inclusion and visibility in AI and candidly speaks on this in her speaking presentations.
Academically gifted, Timnit earned a BS, master’s, and PhD in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. She began her professional career as an Audio Hardware Intern for Apple, debugging problems related to the audio hardware circuitry of Apple computers. Showcasing great talent, Timnit was promoted to Systems Engineer at Apple in 2005. In 2010, she became a Graduate Research Assistant at Stanford University, focusing on thermal light OCT systems for Fourier domain optical coherence tomography with a thermal light source. Following that, she co-founded MotionThink before becoming a Student at the Recurse Center to develop advanced programming skills.
After completing her PhD in 2017, Timnit joined Microsoft Research as a Postdoctoral Researcher, gaining vast expertise in algorithmic bias and the ethical implications of obtaining insights from data. With such distinguished expertise in AI ethics, she was hired as the Co-Lead of the Ethical AI Research Team at Google AI. Recognising the lack of diversity and representation in AI, Timnit co-founded Black in AI to address the lack of Black presence in the industry. Her pioneering work and thought leadership in AI have been featured in Wired, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine.
Highlighting the biases in data sets and the potential for AI to deepen the dominance of a way of thinking, Timnit has caused waves in the industry with her cutting-edge research. Such alarming knowledge has placed her at the forefront of ethical and responsible AI and has seen her named among the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune and Time’s Most Influential list. Passionate about eliminating racial bias from AI, when booked for speaking engagements, Timnit delves into predictive policing and human biases in machine learning and generative AI.