Leading Slovak computer scientist Mária Bieliková shares her experience working as a lady driving technological innovation and assesses how to motivate the next generation of talent in tech
It’s obvious that women continue to be underrepresented in the ranks of technologists. Indeed, with the scales generally tipped towards men, we might not constantly understand that a number of the most remarkable inventions, discoveries and advancements that have changed the course of history and shaped our understanding of the world were made by females.
Did you know that the world’s first computer system program was composed by a woman? The brilliant Ada Lovelace, born into the definitely patriarchal world of the Victorian period, was far ahead of her time in comprehending the potential of computing. Indeed, it took the world a century to appreciate the true scale of her achievements.
March is Women’s History Month, a yearly celebration of the females who have made history as leaders and trailblazers. It’s likewise the perfect time to reflect on the obstacles– and opportunities– that lie ahead of women in their expert lives today.
These days, such opportunities are especially aplenty in the lively worlds of innovation and innovation. However what is it like for a lady to construct a career in a male-dominated market or occupation? Why select a profession in science, innovation, engineering and mathematics (STEM)? What’s holding females back from enhancing their voice in tech?
To assist find answers to these and other questions, we took a seat with leading Slovak computer system researcher Mária Bieliková, who has actually dedicated her career of 30-plus years to innovation and innovation.
A leading Slovak scientist in computer technology and expert system, Mária Bieliková has carried out comprehensive research in human-computer interaction analysis, user modelling and personalization.
She also works in the data analysis and modelling of antisocial habits on the internet and engages in public discourse about credible AI. Formerly a university professor, the vice-dean and then the dean of Faculty of Informatics and Details Technologies at the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava (STU), she later on co-founded and presently leads the Kempelen Institute of Intelligent Technologies (KInIT), where ESET functions as a mentor and partner.
Can you briefly summarize your career course and inform us a little about the main professional obstacles you have experienced along the way?
I have spent my entire career in academic community however always sought to market and businesses for partnership opportunities. Even as a college student more than 30 years ago, I currently worked on a joint task with a market partner. Its topic was actually rather unusual for academic community in Czechoslovakia at that time– developing a professional system to identify illness in chickens.
Gradually, I moved through a number of scholastic positions from assistant professor to associate teacher and professor. I was also the vice-dean and the dean of STU’s Professors of Informatics and Information Technologies, where I led the PeWe (Individualized Web) research group that was made up of a lot of my brilliant colleagues and trainees. I was likewise active in different international scientific networks and therefore traveled a lot.
In 2020, together with some ingenious business, we established an independent research institute, KInIT, which I currently lead.
The biggest obstacle? It had to do with ensuring I contribute in the very best possible way to the expert and individual development of truthful and deeply dedicated specialists with an entrepreneurial spirit.
What does it feel like for a woman to invest a profession in innovation? Have you ever seemed like your task wasn’t safe just since you’re a woman?
I certainly never felt such a ‘risk’. I have actually never ever really experienced any gender discrimination, neither in the scholastic environment nor when working within the market. If there was any, I didn’t understand about it.
The world has actually come a long method and it is now increasingly natural for females to be represented in technology-related fields. In truth, inappropriate positive discrimination can cause misconceptions and elicit the opposite response to what we would like.
Actions aimed at improving gender parity in tech can help a lot, however they will not work in reality unless individuals accept this equality. Which uses to both males and females. Ladies also require to be more positive.
How can we draw in more females into science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)? Does software engineering, for instance, offer more chances for females than conventional engineering disciplines?
Women should indeed be encouraged to work in STEM, however so must guys. Our society today requires technology experts, particularly those who can connect technology with the liberal arts and social disciplines.
The lack of females in the STEM fields is likewise because of stereotypes. Girls are less likely to have fun with building blocks and normally react to expectations to pursue professions in non-STEM, rather than STEM fields. However the circumstance is gradually and gradually improving.
Computer technology and related disciplines like software engineering are some of the disciplines that use countless fascinating chances for ambitious females. Software development is not almost programs– for instance, it likewise consists of software application requirements spec, designing and testing. You require to interact a lot with other people, as software application is developed for a particular domain or users who are typically in a different domain from those who establish the software application. The same holds for artificial intelligence and artificial intelligence today, the only difference is that the “shows part” is a bit different.
Groups of specialists in one field, like engineers and computer system researchers, develop something for other experts, such as lawyers, civil servants, medical professionals, insurance individuals and others. And in such groups, ladies are really essential. They bring brand-new point of views, they can typically get a sense of the ‘best user setting’, for example when creating interface.
What do women bring to the software engineering table that is unique? Women bring more compassion and psychological intelligence to development teams and are proficient at estimating the requirements for interactive applications. However lots of females are likewise fantastic developers.
What are your ideas about the oft-discussed gender pay space?
Personally, I’ve really never ever experienced it. There are a great deal of males in computer science and I always felt equivalent to them. But that was absolutely thanks to my workplace culture. I was very lucky.
In general, nevertheless, the pay gap statistics reveal the requirement to resolve the divide. It’s likewise a difficulty for AI researchers today, as present systems deal with the basis of reasoning from large amounts of historical data, which naturally consist of such biases, as they represent data from previous choices made by people.
The question is then, can we create systems that are less biased than people and still carry out well enough? For example, in the case of women and guys, we do not want systems to make the same suggestions for both genders, however to not consider gender any place it should not be considered. And that’s not a simple job for present AI systems, specifically deep knowing. Up until now, these systems are not transparent enough for us to know this. After all, human decision-making is similarly located, which by definition is not transparent to the outdoors world, and often not even to the human who decided based upon intuition.
When maturing, did you have any ladies role models in science and technology? More broadly, how essential is it for ladies to appreciate women as researchers making a distinction in individuals’s lives?
No, I had no such female role models. In addition, I didn’t decide to enter into technology up until right before I began university. I was very first taking a look at psychology and medication. But I was always good at mathematics; my dad, sis, brother, uncle, and brother-in-law were all engineers by the time I was picking my future. So, I applied to the Professors of Electrical Engineering of the Slovak Technical University (now Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava) and enrolled in ‘cybernetics’. After the 2nd year I altered my field of study to ‘electronic computers’.
Now that Slovakia is generally more open up to the world, things are various and there are a lot more such role models. And that’s why it is necessary for women to see females operating in STEM fields. Not everybody is as fortunate as I was in that even though I was surrounded by men, they all motivated me to work in technology and I felt equivalent to them. I never ever felt as if a career in tech wasn’t the best choice for me even if I’m a girl.
Are there any personality type that assist females start in technology? How can they find out to be more confident?
I don’t believe there are any particular characteristic that anticipate one’s success in a STEM field. For numerous years, we have actually worked with psychologists to administer the Huge 5 test to our computer science trainees. We found that overall, they were slightly second-rate on extraversion (i.e., they were more introverted) and often had outliers on other elements as well. However there is no other way to state that more diligent, or more open-minded, or more sensitive, or more rational individuals are much better computer researchers. And the same is really true both for men and women.
And while males and females do believe differently, research study has revealed multiple times that women are just as intelligent in general as males. The difficulty is, females frequently undervalue their own intelligence. Also, men are typically better at spatial creativity and likewise have a much better grasp of numbers. That’s probably why there will constantly be more guys in technology. Having stated all that, none of this should stop ladies from going into the field.
The essential thing is to find the best job role. In computer technology and software application engineering in particular, there are now a great deal of roles that are actually more technical as well as more focused on social and humanities problems.
One piece of recommendations I have is to dive into mathematics from an early age. Even if you don’t excel at it, just practice. Practice makes progress, like in running or anything else. And after that, one day you’ll understand that the world is different, that you have an understanding of algorithms, and that you can bring technical techniques to your daily life.
Thank you for your time.
Happy Females’s History Month!