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The World’s First Chief Ethics Officer: Discover how Kay Firth-Butterfield brings value to humanity

(Episode 2: Trailblazer Series with Women in AI and Discovering Data)

The cutting-edge AI technology has been an inevitable part of our lives, playing an essential role in various industries such as e-commerce, healthcare, to IoT devices.

78% of respondents across all countries from a survey conducted by IBM stated that it is critically vital that they can trust that their AI’s output is fair, safe, and reliable. [1] On the contrary, according to FICO’s report about the new “State of Responsible AI”, 65% of respondents’ companies cannot demonstrate how specific AI model decisions or predictions are made. [2] This emphasizes the need for diversity and inclusivity in the creation of AI models to mitigate potential bias and ethical issues.

While diversity has always been crucial for organizations, the gender gap is still vividly visible in the Computer and Mathematical sector, with women owning only 23% of shares in the industry, according to the World Economic Forum. [3] Although through the diversity of perspectives, organizations can develop a more robust AI technology to support society in their daily lives.

Through the Trailblazer series, Women in AI in partnership with Discovering Data, aims to help women bridge the gender gap by helping them discover a career path towards becoming an AI and Data leader.

In our second episode, WAI Chief Partnership Officer, Debbie Botha, and Discovering Data founder and host, Loris Marini, join Kay Firth-Butterfield as she shares the importance of AI and its impact on humanity.

Kay Firth-Butterfield started her career as an AI ethics officer in 2014, paving her path to become one of the foremost experts in the world in the governance of AI. As someone who deeply cares about what happens to humanity, Kay has the vision to ensure that AI innovations are human-centered. She is now the Head of Artificial Intelligence and a member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum, which aims to bring benefits to humanity through new technologies, especially AI. Kay has been consistently recognized as a leading woman in AI since 2018 and was featured in the New York times as one of the 10 women changing the landscape of leadership.

Some key points from Kay Firth-Butterfield’s interview include:

  • Closing the diversity gap in data and AI.

  • Learning from experiences to overcome challenges.

  • Discovering inspiration to create an impact.

  • Working in diversity.

  • Getting inspired through brainstorming sessions with mentors.

Inspired to get started? Listen to the whole episode below.

Problems playing the video? Visit Discovering Data to play the episode with the script.

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About the Trailblazer Series

Trailblazer is a series of short interviews through the Women in AI and Discovering Data partnership that is designed to inspire more women to lead the data conversation.

About Women in AI

WAI is a nonprofit do-tank working towards a change and inclusive AI that benefits global society.

About Discovering Data

Discovering Data is a community of data leaders that believe in curiosity, empathy, and inclusion. Visit to learn more!


[1] – IBM (2020, January), AI in 2020: From Experimentation to Adoption.

[2] – FICO (2021, May), It’s 2021. Do You Know What Your AI Is Doing?

[3] – World Economic Forum (2016, January), Executive Summary: The Industry Gender Gap.



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