March 9, 2021 Conversational Storytelling in AI – Topcoder and IVOW Launch HypatiaStories

In July 2020, Topcoder was excited to partner with IVOW AI on a Women in History Data Ideation challenge. IVOW stands for Intelligent Voices of Wisdom, and the challenge revealed an urgent need to properly incorporate women’s stories into AI.

“We are excited to announce the next chapter of our startup story, as we continue to push the boundaries in creating narrative content for smart devices using conversational AI. We are now building HypatiaStories, an AI agent who tells interactive narratives about amazing women in the field of data science and artificial intelligence,” says Davar Ardalan Founder of IVOW AI. Read on to learn more and get involved.

About HypatiaStories

Throughout history, the contributions of women pioneers in science and computing have often been watered down, overshadowed, or simply undocumented. IVOW’s mission is to incorporate cultural richness, inclusive datasets, and traditional storytelling into AI. HypatiaStories is an AI agent who can tell you crowdsourced narrative stories about amazing women in AI, and can be readily utilized by modern day technology like Google Home, Alexa, and Facebook Messenger. She can share stories about the earliest pioneers in computing or the future leaders of tomorrow, all from the comfort of your living room or kitchen. 

“We’re thrilled to continue this partnership with IVOW. It’s important work and the outcome – more effective AI – can have a huge impact. And of course, our brilliant Topcoder members love an opportunity like this! The hard, innovative stuff is often the most fun and most rewarding!”  -Topcoder’s VP for Marketing Clinton Bonner.

We chose the name “HypatiaStories” for this agent to honor Hypatia of Alexandria, the 5th-century philosopher and teacher who was the pre-eminent mathematician and astronomer of her time.

We hope you will join us as we crowdsource data and create narrative stories about women to make HypatiaStories a reality. We are currently raising $50,000USD for technical and editorial support. Your contribution at any level can help us create an AI storytelling engine that will simultaneously bring awareness to women’s stories, help inspire girls to pursue STEM careers, make future AI algorithms more inclusive, and even entertain you in your kitchen.

A Sneak peek at HypatiaStories

Imagine Amelia, a young data scientist, podcast aficionado, and a recent convert to Conversational Storytelling. After a long day at work, she sits down in her living room next to the fire with a glass of wine and asks Google to get HypatiaStories.  

AMELIA: Hypatia, can you tell me about some amazing women working in data and AI?

HYPATIA: Yes certainly, I can tell you about materials engineer Neri Oxman, or computer scientist Timnit Gebru who works on algorithmic bias, or I can tell you about the global Women in AI non-profit? Which would you like to learn more about?

AMELIA: Tell me about Neri Oxman.

HYPATIA: Sure, Neri Oxman is a professor at the MIT Media Lab, and she invented the term Material Ecology, which uses materials and design principles inspired and engineered by nature. She’s known for her architecture that combines design, biology, computing, and materials engineering. What other amazing women in data and AI would you like me to tell you about?

AMELIA: Thank you Hypatia. That’s so cool. Tell me about Timnit Gebru.

HYPATIA: Timnit Gebru is a star computer scientist who has openly criticized the lack of diversity at Google. Her focus is to reduce the negative impacts of racial bias in training data and to make artificial intelligence algorithms more fair and inclusive. Who else would you like to learn about today?

AMELIA: Actually, can you tell me some more about Timnit Gebru?

HYPATIA: I’d be happy to! Gebru was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, though both her parents were from Eritrea. As a result of her heritage, she was forced to flee Ethiopia at age 15 during the Ethiopian-Eritrean War. She eventually received political asylum in the United States…

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About IVOW

IVOW AI combines representative data with traditional storytelling. In this way, brands, advertisers, and researchers in all industries can engage more deeply with global customers and help consumers make better-informed decisions. IVOW AI helps clients cultivate a new data ecology in their organizations and harness the power of inclusive datasets to nurture user experiences that are simultaneously culturally-specific, narrative-rich, globally-appealing, and interactive.

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Annika Nagy

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