5 Women at the Forefront of Next-Gen Innovation

display of thousands of human faces
Kate Crawford is one of the biggest names in artificial intelligence, and her work, which has been displayed all over the world, is groundbreaking. At the Fondazione Prada in Milan, her collaboration with artist Trevor Paglen demonstrates how human beings are interpreted within AI systems. Photo: Fondazione Prada

Though women have shattered plenty of glass ceilings, those in the realms of tech and design haven’t been nearly as celebrated as their male counterparts. Today, however, women are blazing a relatively uncharted trail at the forefront of next-gen innovation. And along the way, they’re reminding the world of a fact people sometimes forget: Women are doing boundary-pushing work in the digital realm.

Mia Blume, Neri Oxman, Annie Jean-Baptiste, Kate Crawford, and Nahal Sohbati are just five of the women whose projects, companies, and developments are guiding the world into the future. These individuals have granted their curiosity full permission to steer their careers, and doing so has led them to both explore and discover radically new ways of approaching design. Read on to get to know these creative thinkers.

Mia Blume

“I spent many years trying to figure out how to play the game and how to fit into a world that typically was built for and run by men,” says Mia Blume, founder ofDesign Dept.andWithin. Before the North Carolina native broke away on her own, she spent nearly three years as the product design manager at perhaps the pinnacle of aesthetic-forward big tech: Pinterest.

Mia Blume is the founder of Design Dept. and Within.

Photo: Mia Blume


Blume notes that her next business venture, Within, arose from usually being the only woman not just on a team but also in a leadership position. “I found myself wanting to connect with others who might be feeling the same way,” she says. So like any entrepreneur, Blume addressed the problem with a creative solution: organizing retreats for female leaders within the design world. “They’re on the rise [and] shaping new teams and cultures,” Blume says of these women. “It may not feel like it’s at the pace we want, but I see it changing. We’re challenging assumptions of climbing ladders and finding our own leadership path.”

在墨西哥的撤退内之一的客人聚集在一起与公司的高级领导人享受炉边聊天,包括4月Neufeld,Jen Vandagriff,Kim Williams和Margaret Lee。

Photo: Mia Blume

Neri Oxman

Another big thinker who is calling for a fundamental shift in the way people approach design? Dr. Neri Oxman, the Israeli CEO ofOxman和前马萨诸塞州技术研究所托儿教授,在2010年,建立了一个她称之为“物质生态”的学科。Oxman从计算设计到3-D打印的所有技术进步(具有触及的生物学混合)。

Israeli-born Neri Oxman founded the realm of material ecology, a study that explores (and develops) formerly impossible opportunities for design through the use of natural materials.

照片:Noah Kalina

One of her most fascinating projects,Aguahoja我,is an architecturally layered pavilion composed of 5,740 fallen leaves, 6,500 apple skins, and 3,135 shrimp shells. The building materials may be a bit unconventional, but they respond and adapt to heat and humidity in a way that traditional construction elements don’t. Another wildly brilliant idea she and her team at MIT hatched up was a special commission for the 2019XXII Triennale di Milano配音Totems.

Oxman’sAguahoja Iis composed of fallen leaves, apple skins, and even shrimp shells. The building materials respond to weather like few other man-made substances do.

Photo: The Mediated Group


Annie Jean-Baptiste


Annie Jean-Baptiste一直在谷歌十多年来,对平台进行了彻底改变。

Photo: Shamayim

The Haitian-American Googler, as Annie Jean-Baptise calls herself, explains, “I didn’t think that [Black women] like me worked in tech, but now I’m committed to making sure that there’s representation in our culture and our products. I’m passionate about historically marginalized groups feeling seen.”

在谷歌,员工are afforded the opportunity to spend 20 percent of their workday focusing on something they’re passionate about, so Jean-Baptiste chose to allocate some of her time to amplifying underrepresented voices.

开始是什么her side project for enhanced product inclusion ultimately became her full-time role. Her team’s general goal is to proactively highlight historically sideswept—and sometimes ignored—communities through pretty much every facet that Google offers its users, including Memories, a feature in Google Photos that resurfaces specific moments from users’ pasts. But not everyone experiences the familiar nostalgia that comes with long-forgotten pictures from high school dances and college graduation.


Kate Crawford

Jean-Baptiste isn’t the only tech-savvy woman looking to change the world by way of industrial science. University of Southern California professor, senior principal researcher atMicrosoft Research, and author of the recently publishedAI的阿特拉斯, Dr. Kate Crawford, is a New York–based Australian academic exploring how artificial intelligence influences everyday life—both for better and for worse.

Kate Crawford is a big thinker in the realm of artificial intelligence.

Photo: Cath Muscat

她解释说,“目前的人工智能系统已被证明沿着性别,种族和经济状况拓展了幂的不对称。”Crawford’s work has not only demonstrated but proven that so many of the problems relating to AI and equity are structural, “down to the level of how products are designed, the data on which they are trained, and the priorities they’re given,” she says.

她的研究不仅限于学术界;她获得屡获殊荣的创意合作和视觉调查是由诸如Museum of Modern Artand the维多利亚和阿尔伯特博物馆.

In fact, Crawford’s recent collaboration with American artist Trevor Paglen to produce “Training Humans,” the first major exhibition of the millions of images used to train AI systems, was featured at theFondazione Pradain Milan. As its name implies, the project is a not-so-simple demonstration of how human beings are interpreted and translated once they’re in AI systems. “I believe that art and design are powerful domains for contending with the wider social impacts of technology,” she emphasizes.

“Training Humans,” the work of Crawford and Trevor Paglen, was displayed in Milan’s Fondazione Prada.

Photo: Fondazione Prada

Nahal Sohbati

像Crawford一样,伊朗美洲景观设计师Nahal Sohbati也在建立美丽的技术。在迪拜赚取室内设计学位后,她离开了中东,是一个壮观的自然景观和令人印象深刻的建筑闻名的地方,体验美国专门的圣巴巴拉,加利福尼亚州 - 不得不提供一位年轻的景观设计师。

Cofounder of landscape design firm Topophyla, Nahal Sohbati is introducing advanced tech into her design process.

照片:Eric Arneson

“在我的学习期间,我对精英设计的主题感兴趣。每天,我都更接近这个结论,设计不仅仅是一种让空间更加美好的工具,而是通过分析,科学和对自然的理解改变生活的宣传工具,“她解释道。因此,在旧金山艺术大学院校的景观建筑硕士学位之后,她和她的丈夫,埃里克·阿雷尼森(Cofounded)胸前, which uses high-tech drones to construct poetically designed natural landscapes.

Sohbati uses drones from the onset of a project to its completion.

照片:Eric Arneson

The 34-year-old’s company serves Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area, all places whose residents not only welcome tech but embrace it. She explains, “Drones are an integral part of our process. We use the data they collect from the beginning of our projects, with site analysis, to the end, with post-occupancy studies.” The fact that she’s building projects using drones—instead of the more traditional vellum and bond paper—is almost revolutionary.