April 22, 2022

Staying human in the age of AI: altruism drives advancement

— Author: Robert Maguire

We have so far to go to realise our human potential for compassion, altruism, and love,” – Jane Goodall.

Technology disrupts first, and then the repercussions catch up. Today, society can’t keep up with the speed and volume of disruption. At Altruistic, we’re trying to be a beacon of change in the age of AI. We’re doing things differently and learning from the mistakes of innovation’s past. Technological disruptors must account for the human element.

For me, altruism has to be the driving force of advancement. It’s everything I want the company to be because it’s everything I want myself to be. Being altruistic is not easy. I give my daughter Jessica a goal at the beginning of each year. I ask her to make somebody remember her for the rest of their life because of something she did for them. At Altruistic, I want wants to scale that philosophy globally and I am doing so by turning to a global community of data scientists.

Conscientious AI

Altruistic brings the intelligence of 3000+ data experts to solve some of the most pressing issues of our time and help enterprises pursue innovation-centred solutions. The result? Scaled innovation and human impact at speed. Altruistic specialise in guiding large companies on their data and digital journey, giving them value along every step whilst also preparing them for the ‘Age of AI’.

I am mindful of the layered implications of the intelligent ecosystem we are building. We have a responsibility, especially on the use of data and the technology we develop. How are our clients using the data? Who, by extension, could be using the output? I’m passionate about this. We have to use data to do good.

I've been investing in or building technology for two decades now. As an investor and entrepreneur, I am determined to leave the world a better place than I found it. I look to it as my guiding principle. We all share something completely intangible. It can’t be found; it’s not physical. Our conscience. Any intelligent person uses theirs.

A circular ecosystem

One of the motivating factors for me is to harness the power of this community at Altruistic continuously. I truly believe the members Altruistic are one of the best communities in the world, in intelligence, empathy and the kinds of challenges they solve.

The ecosystem Altruistic is building will create a continuous feedback loop between the talent, opportunities for the community, and enterprise businesses looking to innovate faster. How can a company on both the supply and the demand side access innovation? What it means to me is to create a circular ecosystem for innovation. It’s pretty amazing to think of an idea, bring it to life, and understand the economy and marketplace for the idea on the same platform. It’s a cohesive and interoperable opportunity.

Democratising Data Science

I have empathy with people that can’t access wealth and education. Growing up underprivileged, I am deeply mindful of the challenges to equal opportunities and I advocate against gatekeeping in an industry obsessed with credentials. I see Altruistic as a way to help talented people access jobs, education, and wealth that might otherwise be out of reach for them.

There’s a lot of training, upskilling and self-skilling in major developing countries. But, their talent can’t access wealth and networks and hence have limited access to data, jobs, and creative collaborators. So really talented people end up moving to the west and working in Big Tech firms in order to get access. However, this has concentrated the usefulness of data science to a handful of major corporates and heavily funded organizations. People should be able to access technology and information democratically. It should be democratised for everybody.

If they want to, data scientists from Ireland, India, or Iceland should serve their industries and economies because they better understand their local environment. They shouldn’t need to rush to San Francisco for better work opportunities. We want to bring the opportunities to them.

Remote working and a participatory environment in the project economy will enable our data scientists to continue working in their respective communities.

Reaching a hidden community

My goal is Altruistic to level the playing field for everyone. There are many subsections of communities that we are trying to help. There are major gender imbalance and pay gap problems in data science. We need more women in the field. We’re also working on projects that introduce refugees to data science. We’re also collaborating with companies to make data science accessible to neurodiverse individuals. Each member of our community has overcome different challenges and will face more. They can address vastly different issues based on their unique experience. Building a data science community that can take into account the uniqueness of our contributors is paramount to address the challenges that the world faces today. When you facilitate a real connection between people and open innovation, the possibilities grow endlessly.

Fundamentally, we’re trying to gain a true understanding of developing new technology equitably. I listen to my head, and I listen to my heart when making these decisions. As an entrepreneur, as a person, it makes more sense to decide with both.

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