"Algorithms are not to blame; the only ones responsible are those who design them"

The first of 24 hackathons took place in Paris this weekend, in the framework of the Equals EU project led by Missions Publiques and in partnership with Willa and Maddyness. Women and gender minority groups came from Paris and its suburbs to showcase their talent and passion for building inclusive solutions for gender minorities. Their mission statement was clear: propose innovative solutions towards inclusion of gender minorities in decision-making.

According to a preliminary survey, over 40% of hackathon attendees had little to no experience in development before entering the hackathon, and an additional 30% had little to no programming experience at all. The Equals EU Hackathon offered these motivated participants complimentary, high-quality educational resources to start new developers off on their innovative journeys—while taking intersectionality as a whole into the thinking process. By educating those new to the space and inspiring and accelerating the growth of experienced veterans, this hackathon was able to showcase the wide range of talented individuals working to grow the tech ecosystem in an inclusive, intersectional and diverse direction.

We are delighted to announce the winning project: AETHIQUE , a non-discriminatory algorithm, without cognitive bias, which promotes access to employment for gender minorities. The group’s motto: “Algorithms are not to be condemned, the only ones responsible are those who design them”.

Their solution in a few words. In many areas of our lives and societies (HR, finance, communication, education …), we delegate more and more decisions to artificial intelligence algorithms. While statistics show that these decisions discriminate against groups of humans. Why? 78% of the algorithms are designed by men, white and cis-gender. The artificial intelligence they create reflects their cognitive biases, subjectivities and worldviews. The effectiveness of artificial intelligence can and should be evaluated as much on technical and economic criteria as on criteria of inclusion and non-discrimination. IAETHIQUE therefore proposes to scan systems using AI programs and to fix them taking into account this notion of gender inclusion. “We are fighting for a fair and inclusive AI.”

The winning team that successfully completes the six-month incubation program will be invited to apply for a fully-funded spot in the three-week EQUALS Professional Development Summer School and Leadership Bootcamp to be held in June 2023. The summer school will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, and will conclude in Valencia, Spain.

Read more about the Equals EU project here 


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