gender gap

IIT Madras’ Hidden Voices initiative to bridge gender data gap on Wikipedia

Our Correspondent
Our Correspondent
Posted on 25 Mar 2022
16:46 PM
The collaborators will also encourage more women contributors to participate in the open-source project, thereby enabling them to build their profile among open-source software communities.

The collaborators will also encourage more women contributors to participate in the open-source project, thereby enabling them to build their profile among open-source software communities. Source: Shutterstock

The initiative aims to automatically generate biographies of several notable women to make a positive impact in gender representation on digital platforms
It is a joint initiative of SuperBloom Studios and the IIT Madras Alumni Association

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras’ Robert Bosch Centre for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (RBCDSAI) has partnered with SuperBloom Studios, a business consultancy firm, to launch Hidden Voices, an initiative aimed at reducing the gender data gap on digital platforms.

In partnership with IIT Madras Alumni Association, this initiative is starting with Wikipedia. The founders of the initiative have set a goal of auto-generating biographies of several notable women within the next year by the next International Women’s Day, and thereby make a positive impact on gender representation in digital sources.

SuperBloom Studios was co-founded by three IIT Madras alumni. It operates out of three continents.


Explaining how this initiative would be implemented, Balaraman Ravindran, head, RBCDSAI-IIT Madras, said, “The project will be an instance of a human-allied AI execution. While the state-of-the-art Automated Language Processing has significantly advanced, there are situations when the AI will make errors. This is especially visible while processing documents about underrepresented populations – the issue this project is trying to address. Hence, we will take advantage of AI solutions where possible, and judiciously use human oversight and verification to produce high quality outputs.”

According to a communique from IIT Madras, gender data gap is considered a major barrier to more equitable solutions across domains. The spoken and written impressions on the web (text, audio and video) content are vastly outpacing any other form of data. Online curated content is also the building block data source of many AI/ ML solutions like automated speech recognition and language models that form the basis of many products and services. But there is a measurable quantitative lack of representation of gender diverse voices in these core digital data sources. The Hidden Voices initiative sets out to tackle this issue.

Raji Baskaran, founding partner, SuperBloom Studios, said, “The lack of availability of proper information often creates unintended biases. This is nowhere more prominent than in the ever-widening digital gender data gap. Hidden Voices addresses a critical data gap and builds tools to systematically reduce this gap at scale. Building products and services that are inclusive is at the core of our business strategy.”

The project aims to develop theoretical approaches, ML-assisted auto-identification and validation of external sources and textual analysis methods to auto-generate the first draft of Wikipedia-style biography. The models developed will employ this approach to generate Wikipedia articles for notable women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine and Management).

Hidden Voices is planned to start with generating biographies of women from North America and India who have notable contributions in STEMM fields and tech-adjacent business domains. The team aims to expand expertise areas, geography and include other underrepresented communities over time.

Krishnan Narayanan, president, IIT Madras Alumni Association (IITMAA), said, “This project comes under our Mission Million Smiles and Women-in-STEM programme. A large number of our alumni, especially the younger ones, are digitally proficient and are willing to volunteer for such a wonderful cause.”

Last updated on 25 Mar 2022
16:46 PM
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