Episode # 2: Business ethics and women in IT with Catalina Butnaru

What is a Minimum Ethical Product? Why do we need to talk about ethics in business altogether?  And why are women centric communities like “Women in tech” and “Women in AI” possibly detrimental to gender equality? In this episode Milla interviews Catalina Butnaru, Global Ethics Lead at City AI.

The interview was done during the Shift Business Festival and recorded on one of Sofokus’ sauna ferries.

Women in tech – Do not perpetuate the prejudices

Catalina has been involved in Women in AI community for a couple of years. The percentage of women in tech and especially in AI is seemingly low but if we give too much attention to this fact, we are unconsciously perpetuating the prejudices claiming that women are not as suitable for tech industry as men. Thus, we should train each other on how to relate to each other regardless of the gender.

Catalina’s message is clear: “You don’t have to identify as woman or man to get into the field.”

Catalina’s tips for women in tech field:

  • Ladies – look into your communication
  • Learn to be assertive without triggering an unwanted reaction and without compromising your position
  • Don’t say o”Sorry” or “My opinion is… but I’m not sure…”, instead be an expert and own the fact that you are good at something
  • Learn how to be softer when needed
  • Don’t let other people define who you are: Understand that every day you have an opportunity to rewrite yourself

In the end, gender doesn’t really matter. Catalina states that women centric approach in companies might further the separation between men and women. We don’t want to get into a point where we foster the differences but where there’s a true equality. Therefore, companies and individuals should carefully think how to tackle this issue.

Ethics and AI – Action rather than discussion

Catalina says that we need to build a bridge between ethics and business because when we build products and offer services, we need to understand that there is always a bigger impact than just the one seen at the given moment. We need to look further. For example, social media platforms have already triggered people to make suicides and thus, it is vital for companies to apply ethical principles into their businesses. Hiring and external expert or just staring at the regulations is not enough. Ethics is a team sport and it should be applied by the team at its best. Catalina advises companies to think what is its current understanding of ethics and what can it do to bring it to next level.

Catalina’s choice of a happiness act that makes company a better employer than others:

Bring dogs, invite seniors, children and spouses to the office!

Follow Catalina on twitter: @katchja