Li was 16 when her family moved from China to a small town in the US called Parsippany, New Jersey. She majored in physics at Princeton, borrowing money from friends to buy her parents a dry-cleaning business, and working there on weekends. After her graduation, she declined offers from Wall Street in order to go to Tibet to do a year of research on Tibetan medicine. After returning and earning a PhD in computational neuroscience and AI at Caltech, she joined Stanford, and later, Google. Until recently, Li was the only woman in Stanford’s AI lab. She’s the director of the SAILORS program, and recently helped launch a nonprofit called AI4ALL to draw students from all underrepresented groups into AI.
- “AI is not created in a vacuum. It’s created by us. It can only help if we want to help.”
- “AI is about to make the biggest changes to humanity, and we’re missing a whole generation of diverse technologists and leaders.”
- “Our culture has a tendency to call a few of them [AI technologists] geniuses. And then mortals just think, ‘We’re not geniuses.’ It’s not true. If someone has a fantastic biology background, he or she can contribute in AI and health care. AI has many aspects. AI is everywhere. It’s not that big, scary thing in the future. AI is here with us.”
- “AI is a technology that gets so close to everything we care about. It’s going to carry the values that matter to our lives, be it the ethics, the bias, the justice, or the access. If we don’t have the representative technologists of humanity sitting at the table, the technology is inevitably not going to represent all of us.”
Elle Women in Tech 2017 ; CNN Article and Interview; Wired Interview
Plus direct information from SAILORS 2017.