From becoming the first woman to earn a PhD in applied physics from Caltech to being named the first female director of the National Institute of Technology, Arati Prabhakar has been a trailblazer for women in science. Currently director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, she has worked tirelessly this year to drive the future of responsible AI innovation and regulation.
Prabhakar’s extensive experience in both the private and public technology sectors allows her an optimal vantage point with which to understand 2023’s AI explosion. Though she’s aware of the particular risks posed by AI that could potentially lead to civil rights violations, she also understands the indispensable role that novel technologies play in our world. Under her recommendation, this year the Biden Administration has placed a new emphasis on legislating and regulating AI, in addition to developing more trustworthy AI systems. “Every huge advance that we have ever had that shaped our world came because industry and government and academia and civil society all came together and wrestled with each other and argued and figured out how to move forward,” she said in a talk in September. “This is how we’re going to chart our course.”