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After a year of planning, the IEEE Women in Engineering AI Leadership Summit took place on 20 September 2019 at the Nokia Auditorium in Naperville, Ill. Close to 200 attendees packed the auditorium, to listen to 16 speakers share their knowledge and experience in the development of artificial intelligence (AI). Several high school students from Illinois Math and Science Academy also joined the Summit to get invaluable, early exposure to AI.

Sessions touched on not only the deep technical aspect of AI solution, but also brought the audience forward to various AI applications, such as AI applied in Smart Cities, Sports, Animal Conservation, healthcare, telecommunications, digital entertainment, electric utilities and worker safety.

As the Summit unfolded throughout the day, attendees learned that AI can touch almost every aspect of social life, bringing us speed, efficiency and enlightened user experience. However, as with any innovation, there are also risks that could potentially harm society and thwart human development. Those risks must be carefully identified, analyzed and researched, to allow the development of a risk mitigation plan. This requires the public and private collaboration calling for new policies, laws and compliance guidelines to protect against misuse and unintended consequences.

WIE AI summit

At the end of Summit, we were honored by two congressmen from the State of Illinois, Congressmen Bill Foster and Sean Casten, as well as a member of Illinois Senate, Laura Ellman. These legislators shared their views on AI and offered words of encouragement. Congressman Bill Foster presented Summit organizers with an official Certificate to acknowledge our Summit. The Certificate is now a part of the U.S. Congressional Record of the U.S. Congress!

IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE) is a global network of IEEE members and volunteers dedicated to promoting women in STEM, and inspiring girls around the world to follow their academic interests in a career in STEM. WIE has come a long way from its inception in 1994, this year we celebrate 25th year anniversary. Impressively, WIE has grown membership from 3,000 members in 2001 to more than 21,000 members across 100 countries over 860+ Section and Student Branch Affinity Groups. 100+ Committee and Subcommittee volunteers drive WIE’s global activities.

The conference was organized by eight amazing volunteers from the Summit Planning Committee: Nina Rouhanizadeh, Liang Downey, Susanne Tedrick, Anne Lee, Kajaria Yarbrough, Megan Siarkiewicz, Vickie Ozburn and Vickie Scott. Without their hard work, this conference would not haven been possible.

Thanks also go to the IEEE Women in Engineering, R4 leadership team, Chicago WIE Section, TEMS, and to our partners: Nokia, Northwestern Master of Engineering Management Program, Enders Wealth Management, and Regal Beloit. These sponsors put their confidence in WIE and provided tremendous support throughout the planning process. Our Summit would not be successful without their gracious support.

Originally published on IEEE USA by Nina Rouhanizadeh, chair of the IEEE Women in Engineering Chicago Section.

IEEE TEMS is an event sponsor.

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Ravikiran Annaswamy

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