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As a marketer, getting better jobs will be a target at one point in your career. Of course, a great job could mean different things to different people

To some, a better job means better pay. To some, it’s better flexibility at work. To some, it’s the ability to take on challenging work.

Whatever a better job means to you, it’s vital to stand out to get those jobs. In some ways, being able to land great jobs shows your level of expertise.

Having said that, what are the tactics that can make you stand out to potential employers? What will give you an edge when a great client needs a marketer?

In this blog post, discover 7 tactics that can help you stand out as a marketer and get better jobs:

1. Focus on a niche

Every type of business on earth needs a marketer. After all, every business needs to promote their products or services to their ideal audience.

Considering that, being a jack of all trade can still be a bad move for you as a marketer. Think about it, if you need to market a product in the tech industry, will you go for a marketing expert in the tech industry or one who works in every niche imaginable?

Frankly, businesses with the biggest resources want a marketer with a lot of experience in their industry. Focusing on a niche helps you to develop expertise in that industry. Consequently, this gives you an edge when attracting clients in that industry.

2. Optimize your website

Before a client decides to give you a job, one place they’ll check out is your website. Without exaggerating, you can be a great marketer and still lose a job because of a poor website.

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Put simply, you have to make your website mobile-responsive, fast, and well-designed. Then, you have to add important pages a potential employer might look at.

These include:

Homepage: Here’s where you have the first impression on a visitor. Easily, you can show your unique selling proposition and tell visitors what to expect on your page.

About: Here, you can tell a personal story about you that relates to your marketing career. More importantly, your “About” page should be about the benefits your visitors and potential clients can get from you. Here’s an example from Marcus Sheridan:

Blog: As a marketer, one evidence of your knowledge in the industry is the content on your blog. Potential employers can see how you approach different marketing issues.

Portfolio: Who have you worked for? What interesting projects have you worked on? Have you achieved some milestones in the marketing field? On this page, an employer can judge if your experience suits their needs.

Testimonials: Social proof is a great tool in marketing. Likewise, it’s a great tool to promote yourself as a marketer. On this page, current clients can talk about the results you’ve achieved for them and the problems you’ve solved. Here’s an example from my very own testimonials page:

Through your website, you can position yourself as a marketing expert and convince clients that you’re the best candidate for the job.

3. Improve your presence on LinkedIn

As a social media channel for professionals, LinkedIn is a gold mine for marketers. Considering that you’ll be interacting with businesses, most of your contacts are on LinkedIn.

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For B2B marketing, LinkedIn is a vital way of communicating with prospects and customers. At a personal level, it’s also essential to your career. Developing your network and showcasing your experience is part of business life and progression.

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However, just creating a LinkedIn profile is insufficient. You have to optimize it for potential employers who visit. In a way, your LinkedIn profile can be your portfolio.

Important tips to keep in mind while optimizing your LinkedIn profile include:

Using a professional profile and cover picture

Writing a detailed “About” section showcasing solutions you can provide to clients

Writing a LinkedIn article to show your expertise

Adding relevant marketing skills

Encouraging recommendations from clients

Through these optimizations, it’s easy to showcase your skills and reputation as a marketer.

Beyond optimizing your LinkedIn profile, this is also a platform to connect with other marketers and potential clients. One way to exploit LinkedIn is to share your expertise through LinkedIn posts. For instance, John Lincoln regularly shares marketing videos on LinkedIn.

4. Be a great storyteller

To convince prospects to buy a product, you need to tell a great story of how their lives will be better with it. Likewise, you need your storytelling skills to stand out to potential employers.

Two great ways to be a great storyteller are:

Unique selling proposition

This is your elevator pitch. Even though what most marketers do is similar, why should a client pick you ahead of other marketers? What can you offer on top of the general marketing skills to stand out? Check out Ann Handley’s page:

About

Apart from your about page, there’s a short “About” section on your website pages and after your guest posts. Here, you can give a short pitch that will make a potential client take notice.

See an example from one of my guest posts:

5. Create great content on your website

In the internet age, content has become a vital aspect of standing out to your audience and prospects. Before you even engage in marketing campaigns, the first sign people want to see is how good your website content is.

Therefore, you need to run a functional marketing blog on your website. Here, you can tackle important marketing topics and provide value to your audience.

An example of a marketer who produces great content is Brian Dean at Backlinko:

6. Guest blog on authority websites

To reach a wider audience, you have to create content for bigger authority websites. After all, there’s a limit to your blog’s reach.

However, to get the best results from guest blogging, it’s better to blog for marketing blogs. These blogs are in the marketing niche and are likely to have your ideal audience.

As a result, your great content can convince some of them to check out your website and become customers down the line. For instance, Neil Patel blogs on some big marketing blogs such as Forbes, HubSpot, Search Engine Journal, and Marketing Land.

7. Build strong relationships with industry professionals

To stand out, you need to be a recognized marketing expert. Unfortunately, you can’t achieve this without connecting with other marketing professionals.

Two ways you can build relationships with other experts in the marketing field include:

Attend industry events: Attending or speaking at industry events is an occasion to meet other experts and increase reach. Some popular marketing conferences include the Social media marketing world, search marketing expo (SMX), Inbound, MozCon, Dreamforce, etc. Here’s an attendee to the Inbound 19 conference:

By connecting with industry professionals, you’ll increase your sphere of influence. Consequently, you’ll have access to even more great jobs.   

Conclusion

Considering the number of marketers today, the only way to land better jobs is to stand out as a marketing expert. This way, you can convince potential employers that you’re better skilled, better informed and ready to transform their marketing strategy.

Use these 7 tactics and you’ll have an edge on other marketers for the best jobs in your niche.

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Byod Policy Basics: 5 Questions To Help You Get Started

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies touch on strongly held beliefs about the boundary between work and home, not to mention security, access to information and personal privacy.

While searching for “BYOD Policy Example” might be a step in developing a good policy, it shouldn’t be the first step. The process of writing a policy requires more than editing a template — it means establishing a lasting consensus on mobile behavior and security.

Here are five key agreements to make before you dive into writing policy.

1. Agree About Who Is on the Team

Regardless of who is driving the BYOD policy process, a team representing different parts of the organization has to come together to translate strategy into policy. Four primary areas should be represented:

Line-of-business (LoB) managers: BYOD is about more than giving people access to email — it’s about enabling a more effective organization. The use cases that LoB managers bring to the table help define the structure of mobility.

Information technology: BYOD support comes from IT, and IT will have valuable input including potential technical problems. IT can also help to clarify what is and isn’t possible with existing infrastructure.

Administration: BYOD combines a very personal device — typically a smartphone — with company rules and responsibilities. In the long run, HR and legal departments will be responsible for enforcing the policy and dealing with violations.

Information security (InfoSec) and risk management: If private or financial information is leaked or lost due to BYOD use, that’s an organization-wide problem. Getting the InfoSec team’s input, especially as security settings are being discussed, helps cover all the bases.

2. Agree on the Definition of BYOD

The term “BYOD” has different definitions to different people. It’s your company and you can make any definition you want, but you should make it clear what you mean early on.

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Agree on the answers to these four questions to define the term “BYOD” in the context of your organization:

Who pays for and owns the device? Who pays for the monthly service plan?

Who gets to pick the device and what limits are there to this choice?

Who has the most control over the device: the user or the organization? Is this a personal device that has some enterprise applications? Or an enterprise device that the user can also use for personal use?

What applications are part of BYOD? Do you include just collaboration tools such as email and calendaring? Or are there other LoB applications as well?

3. Agree on the Kind of Devices Covered

“Device” in BYOD covers a lot of territory. Will your policy be for mobile devices only, such as smartphones and tablets, or are you including laptops? How about user-owned computers, such as home desktop computers?

4. Agree on the Scope of the Policy

Nothing sinks a BYOD policy faster than a lack of balance between user freedom and organizational control. Mobile security policies should be written to acknowledge that most users want a single smartphone, no matter who pays for it. From that point of view, BYOD policies describe a collaboration between the organization and the staff member, working together to ensure that mobile devices don’t represent a security vulnerability.

Trying to assert too much authority will result in users rejecting the policy or subverting its intention. Agree early on how you’ll approach this, and where the organization does and does not have control.

5. Agree on the Exceptions

Start by identifying who is allowed to make exceptions to the policy — and it shouldn’t be an entire committee. The exception process shouldn’t make it easy to circumvent the policy, but it should allow reasonable exceptions when there are clear business requirements. Exceptions should be clearly documented and be subject to periodic review, or come with an expiration date.

If you can get agreement on these five questions before you start writing the policy, the entire process will be much simpler and painless.

Download our free guide to writing an effective BYOD policy, or learn about accelerating a BYOD system with mobile device management.

7 Simple Tactics To Kickstart Your Instagram Sales Funnel

Instagram is more than Facebook’s jet-setting younger sibling or Twitter’s ultra-trendy cousin.

With more than 800 million monthly users (and growing), Instagram is the place to document life’s moments, big and small, in beautiful little snapshots.

Instagram has also rapidly become one of the hottest marketplaces in the world. By 2023, the app is projected to generate $6.8 billion in mobile ad revenue.

On Instagram, users actively invite the brand into their feed – 80 percent of Instagram users follow at least one brand.

E-commerce brands are particularly well-suited to thrive on Instagram, with 14 percent of users likely to make a purchase directly on the app, not to mention view-through conversion opportunities.

Let’s explore seven tactics to power your Instagram sales funnel to steady success.

Tactic 1: Add a Call to Action in Your Bio

One simple tactic is to add a call-to-action (CTA) in your bio directing your followers back to your e-commerce store.

If you have a current product special, new featured line, or anything else you’d like to promote, use your bio to direct followers where to find out more.

Here’s a good example of how to invite followers to “Shop our Instagram” directly from the bio:

With Instagram’s default functionality for accounts with fewer than 10,000 followers, that’s the only link opportunity you have. Use it wisely.

You can use a paid tool like Link in Profile to have multiple links in your bio.

Check out this example below, where each photo is linked back to your site:

Tactic 2: Link in Story

This feature is only available to accounts with more than 10,000 followers – all the more reason to prioritize Instagram and start building that audience.

Eligible accounts can include links in Instagram stories.

Instagram stories, added last year, allow users to combine photos and videos into a temporary slideshow that disappears after 24 hours.

Elite users can now put a CTA in the Instagram story for people to swipe up to read more.

You can direct followers to your website, a specific product, collection, blog post, and more.

You can even hide hashtags in your photo, using the photo match tool on the left side, next to the color swatch. Use the dropper to match the background of your photo.

By adding hashtags to your Insta-story, you’re giving a new audience an opportunity to find you and navigate to your e-commerce store using the CTA feature.

If you choose this option, make sure to use hashtags relevant to your brand.

While niche hashtags don’t have massive search volume, you are more likely to find a converting customer, so get very familiar with the key hashtags in your space.

Want to use popular hashtags? The sweet spot seems to be between 100,000 to 500,000 uses. More popular, and there’s no way your brand will have visibility in all the noise.

Tactic 3: Collaborate With Influencers

Brands spend an estimated $1 billion annually on Instagram influencer marketing.

Influencers, who range from local fitness trainers or photographers with small followings to A-list celebrities, have turned social media marketing into an art form.

While top influencers like Beyoncé can earn more than $1 million per post, the average sponsored post costs about $300.

With the right strategy, your brand can strike up a strategic partnership with influencers that generates great return on investment in terms of conversions and brand awareness.

In working with influencers, you’re able to leverage their network and brand to bring awareness to your e-commerce offerings.

Even with tightening restrictions on sponsored content transparency, followers continue to welcome endorsements from trusted Insta-stars.

Daniel Wellington does a great job of working with influencers and has made a big footprint on Instagram with their watches.

If you are dipping your toes into influencers waters, be vigilant. Just because they have a high follower count or charge a heavy price doesn’t make it a good fit or guarantee success.

To start, make sure that their audience is real.  Type their username into Social Blade and you can see some of their Instagram Analytics. If they have a real following they should generally have a gradual increase. If their following has a lot of peaks and declines, they most likely bought followers.

Real Followers:

Fake Followers:

You can also ask for their demographics/media kit to ensure they are the right fit for your campaign. The higher the following, the higher the price per collaboration so micro-influencers are becoming more popular. These influencers have a modest but engaged following and often have a niche which helps to target your marketing.

Tactic 4:  Free Product, Just Pay Shipping

This can be a great approach to get your product out there and into the hands of consumers, especially if it is a product people are likely to buy more than once.

This strategy can draw a lot of attention, but you have to make sure it is executed properly.

Be wary about viewing these buyers as guaranteed future customers.

People might accept a free item, but that doesn’t mean they need or want to pay full price for an equivalent product in the future.

Just like social contests bring a lot of attention but rarely result in sustained success, this tactic has the same downside.

Additionally, you have to make sure you have enough inventory to follow through.

There have been a few scams using this tactic where people never received the product, and you don’t want your brand to be given a bad reputation due to inventory issues.

Tactic 5:  Shopify Integration

Shopify is currently in the testing phase of shoppable Instagram posts.

This integration allows e-commerce stores to sell to buyers directly through the Instagram app, without ever having to navigate to a website or outside platform.

This feature is now available to some accounts as a beta release.

If you would like the option for shoppable posts ahead of the full Shopify/Instagram rollout, chúng tôi is a good alternative. This app allows you to take a screenshot on Instagram and shop directly in the app.

Tactic 6: User-generated Content

E-commerce products work exceptionally well with user-generated content.

Encourage followers to repost photos of your product in use, tagging your account or using your branded hashtag.

This practice creates a culture/community around your brand and helps to promote awareness.

One great example is Spivo, a company that has a selfie stick as its primary product. They do an awesome job with encouraging customers to share both video and image content that was produced using their product. They then re-post the content and tag the customer in it, increasing their visibility and engagement.

Tactic 7: Instagram Ads

The key with Instagram is cost per acquisition.

If you can get this into a comfortable range where you make a profit on every transaction, you can scale the campaign by upping the budget and find even more success.

Instagram Stories

Thoughtful imagery is essential, and may need to be dramatically different from the visual assets that work on Google AdWords or Facebook.

In the Feed

Conclusion

Instagram is more than a social media platform; it’s an e-commerce store owner’s paradise.

These tactics can help set up and streamline an Instagram sales funnel that opens the door to a new world of sales success and brand loyalty.

From simple, free tactics like adding a CTA to your bio, to comprehensive paid ad strategies that sync with your larger marketing efforts, you can find an approach that works.

Instagram credit: @toofaced, @pinchofyum, @dynamiteclothing, @your_passport, @belfordwatches, @champagneandmacaroons, @spivostick

5 Adult Learning Principles To Help Design Better Professional Development

Professional development is too often designed using pedagogy that works well for children. Adult learning theory can help design better PD for teachers, centering agency and genuine collaboration.

How many professional development (PD) trainings have you sat through, only to realize in the first couple of minutes that it was going to be a complete waste of time? I often feel this way after PD, and for a long time I couldn’t understand why. I love to learn new things and find ways to improve my classroom, but I would sit through trainings feeling at a loss. After many years, I realized that it was because the administrators delivering PD often start as teachers, taught to educate children—not adults. The information isn’t usually the thing that makes us feel like PD is a waste of time, but rather how the information is organized and delivered. Adult learning theories bridge this disconnect and provide ways of educating adults effectively. 

principles of Adult Learning Theory

Self-directed learning: Adults have fully developed interests and methods through which they like to learn or obtain new information. Training in which the individual is allowed to explore a topic on their own time, and with their own methods, results in better information retention and application. Typical professional development in education settings is often delivered in a “sit and get” or a lecture-type format. 

Administrators can implement self-directed learning in their professional development in a variety of ways. For example, maybe there is a specific focus or theme for the school year (Resilience, Community, Competency-Based Learning, etc.). Administrators then allow teachers to research these topics on their own and have specific times throughout the year during PD when they can share the information they learned and discuss their varying perspectives. By allowing adults to explore, you give them the ability to learn how this information is relevant to their continued improvement as a teacher. 

Building on experience: Adult learners want learning opportunities that build upon their experiences as a teacher. Often this means they do not want to sit through professional development that is presented as if it is completely new information. The point of training for teachers is to give different perspectives, methods, or approaches to classroom teaching that will improve their craft. Adult learning opportunities are best received by learners if they acknowledge the teacher’s prior experiences and knowledge and then build an understanding of the new material. 

Administrators can be successful with this foundational principle by having moments within a professional development that have teachers reflect upon a specific element of their classroom experience and then introduce a closely related topic after. This reflection acknowledges the teacher’s expertise in the classroom setting and then provides an anchor for the new information to be received. 

Taking responsibility for learning: Adult lives revolve around meeting responsibilities both at work and at home. It makes sense, then, that adults want a sense of responsibility in what they learn and how they learn it. Adult learners should be allowed more freedom in all aspects of their continuing education.

To truly give a sense of responsibility and ownership in learning new information, the training should allow learners choice as much as possible. Learners should have a choice of what information they will learn and how they will learn it. By doing this, we show adult learners that their choices will help them to better their craft in the classroom. 

Administrators who want to implement a sense of responsibility in their professional development can do this by offering choices. I worked in a school once that was very driven by technology. They were constantly looking for new and innovative practices for the classroom and wanted teachers to do the same. They encouraged this with a giant Bingo board for technology professional development; all of  the squares were different ways to incorporate more instructional technology in the classroom. It was a huge hit and got teachers excited about winning a prize.     

Problem-focused: Adult learners are more driven by problem-focused learning opportunities. Educators especially thrive in these types of scenario-based training environments because they elicit the educators’ input to fix something, and there is always room for improvement and changes in processes in this career. 

Administrators can include problem-focused training opportunities through scenario-based activities. For example, maybe you are conducting walk-throughs and notice a trend of teachers not bringing their lessons to a full close. As an administrator, you feel that this is a missed opportunity for teachers to check for understanding of their students.

During the training, strategically place teachers in groups so that those who do this really well are in each group. Then, have them read through scenarios that you have observed in classrooms. Have the groups work through how they could improve the lesson. Bring the conversation back to lesson closures so that all teachers understand the focus of the lesson.

Intrinsically motivating: Adults do not do well with ultimatums or high-stakes learning environments. If this is the only way that teachers are receiving professional development, then it will be very difficult to have successful learning opportunities. 

Administrators should look at a variety of professional development types to deliver to their faculty. Maybe one week it is time for sharing self-discovery topics, and then the next is a boring rollout of the new curriculum from the district. Or once a month you have an hour of an “unconference” where teachers can choose what topic to sit down for and have discussion-based learning opportunities with their peers.

By delivering this variety, you give teachers a better chance of finding something that motivates them to learn. Or, if anything, you are providing them with a learning modality that will spark their intrinsic need to participate and engage in a learning environment. 

Administrators have the duty to empower teachers to be lifelong learners. During PD, administrators should remember that they are no longer teachers in the classroom, but educators to adults who have different learning needs to closely engage with content and obtain new information.

Data Science Jobs Are Hot—And With A State

Data Science Jobs Are Hot—and with a State-of-the-Art Building, New Faculty, and a New Major, BU Is Ready Data and mathematical science occupations are projected to grow more than 30 percent by 2030

BU’s 19-story Center for Computing & Data Sciences is scheduled to open in 2023. Founding faculty come from areas as diverse as law, medicine, sociology, theology, and education, as well as computer science and engineering. Photo by Janice Checchio

Data Science

Data Science Jobs Are Hot—and with a State-of-the-Art Building, New Faculty, and a New Major, BU Is Ready Data and mathematical science occupations are projected to grow more than 30 percent by 2030

In game one of the 2023 NBA Eastern Conference semifinal series, the Atlanta Hawks drilled one long-range three-point shot after another against the heavily favored Philadelphia 76ers. So many that the Hawks set a franchise playoff record—20 three-pointers for one game—and upset Philadelphia 128-124.

“We gave up a lot of corner threes,” says Grant Fiddyment, the 76ers manager of research. In the next two games, Philadelphia was ready. The 76ers cut their turnovers and put in an aggressive defensive display. After making 42.6 percent of their attempted three-pointers in game one, the Hawks managed only 36.7 percent in game two; by game three, they were sinking just 26.1 percent. The 76ers edged ahead 2-1 in the series. “We really shut that down, and you could see the defensive difference,” says Fiddyment.

Like many other professional sports teams, the 76ers have a cadre of analysts and data scientists picking over reams—or more accurately, gigabytes— of stats and information, from training schedules to player performance. Fiddyment (MED’16), who has been with the 76ers since 2023, is one of them, using that data to show the team ways it might improve on the court.

Around 2013, he says, the NBA started getting data from cameras mounted in arena ceilings, tracking every player in every moment of the game. Each step, bounce, screen, shot, and block became a piece of data for teams to study. And that’s exactly what he did after that first game three-point frenzy: scrutinized the granular game data and looked for ways to snuff out the Hawks’ threat.

The 76ers shut down the Hawks’ three-point shooting, with the help of aggressive defense—and data science. Photo by Tim Nwachuku/Getty Images

“We can now dissect the game at a much deeper level,” says Fiddyment, who’s also an adjunct professorial lecturer at American University. It’s a long way from coaches reviewing basic shot-attempt numbers—or just going with their gut. “There’s all the events leading up to a shot that we can go back and analyze or everything that happens after. We can probe all these things in between that used to be dead space from a data perspective.”

Data Science: the Liberal Arts of the 21st Century

The data helped force change in areas Graham cared about, swaying decision-makers or giving impetus to activists. After completing an immersive data science course, Graham signed up for a master’s in computer science at BU—with a concentration in data analytics—to strengthen their technical skills. In August, they also joined BU’s staff and now use data science to support research and efforts to make the tech industry antiracist.

Dawn Graham (MET’22) worked in social services and community organizing roles and sees data science as “something that you can use to effect change.” Photo by Jackie Ricciardi

“I didn’t go into data science as an end goal,” says Graham. “It’s a tool, something that you can use to effect change. A lot of my work has been in things related to racial equity, gender equity, just our general well-being as communities and people. For me, the shift to data science was a question of, how can we more effectively take care of these things and address them?”

As indirect as Graham’s route into the field might seem, Bestavros says it’s common for data science to attract people from disparate backgrounds. Before Fiddyment crunched basketball numbers, for example, he worked in neuroscience, helping epilepsy researchers and surgeons build statistical models to break down the phases of a seizure. Bestavros says that given the wide and varied applications of data science, it’s time to view it as more of a foundational program than a purely vocational one.

“I actually don’t know if data science is a science,” says Bestavros. “Data science is more like the liberal arts of the 21st century. It’s a way of thinking, a way of doing—it has all the elements, the critical thinking, that we associate with the liberal arts.”

A Ramp, Not the Destination

That philosophy is informing BU’s approach to the field. In 2023, the University established the Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences (CDS), a degree-granting academic unit not tied to any college or department. The group’s goal is to cut across disciplines, pulling together researchers and students interested in leveraging the power of computing and data-led inquiry. Founding faculty members come from areas as diverse as law, medicine, sociology, theology, and education, as well as computer science and engineering. This year, CDS launched its first undergraduate major in data science—with a minor coming soon.

Bestavros says the goal of the new bachelor’s degree is to provide students with “the substrate, the base on which you build lots of other professions.” It will check off mathematics, algorithmics, and software engineering, but also topics like social impacts, ethics, and bias.

“The job of a data scientist is different from that of a software engineer,” says Chatterjee (MET’19). “It’s also about communicating our work. It’s what differentiates good data scientists: being able to explain, justify processes, get good feedback, and iterate.”

At the 76ers, Fiddyment calls himself the glue between the coaches and the stats people.

“If you can’t communicate the results of the data you’re working with, then your impact could be just stopped in its tracks,” he says. “You can develop the most fantastic, amazing model, but if you can’t convince people of the importance, then maybe nothing happens.”

Efforts to Diversify the Field

At a time when more companies need that expertise, there’s a shortage of people ready to fill data science jobs, according to Bestavros. In August, venerable life insurance company MassMutual donated $1 million to CDS, in part to boost its own access to new data scientists. It uses customer data—age, health, lifestyle—to help refine and underwrite policies, as well as process claims.

“Talent is hard to find,” Adam Fox, MassMutual’s head of data, told BU Today when the donation was announced. “So one of the biggest drivers for us is the talent at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at BU, and gaining access to that talent pipeline for recruiting.”

The gift also supports a professor of the practice position, experiential learning opportunities, research, and efforts to diversify the field. The latter is an especially pressing issue. According to a 2023 study by executive recruitment firm Burtch Works, only 15 percent of data scientists are women—and other underrepresented groups don’t fare even that well.

It’s not enough to be a software programming whiz—data scientists also need to be good communicators to ensure the conclusions they draw have an impact, according to Oindrilla Chatterjee (MET’19), a data scientist at enterprise software company Red Hat. Photo by Jackie Ricciardi

“In my graduate program [at BU], there were very few women, very few people from diverse backgrounds in general,” says Chatterjee. She says her own team at Red Hat has made inclusion a priority, in part by attending conferences and recruitment events that target underrepresented groups. She says those who don’t pay attention to the industry’s lack of diversity are in danger of letting bias creep into their analyses: “Bias and ethics in machine learning models—and the whole data science domain—is a huge concern. You must be more mindful about where you are gathering the data from; if the data you’re gathering is itself biased and flawed, your models cannot be neutral.”

One goal of the Antiracist Tech Initiative that Graham is working on at the Center for Antiracist Research is to increase industry diversity. They and their colleagues are setting up partnerships with tech firms to gain access to the firm’s data and help them tailor their push for racial equity.

“I’ve been able to witness and experience some of the challenges around what it means to be from an underrepresented group in a certain industry,” says Graham. “To be able to bring that experience directly into some of the work we’re doing now, I think it helps guide that work in a way that is really meaningful.”

Bestavros says increasing industry diversity is also high on the list of priorities for CDS. Along with embedding ethics and lessons about bias throughout its programs, he says, a push to reach students who might not have considered—or had a route into—the field before will help “democratize access to data science.”

In addition to addressing its lack of diversity, the field faces another critical issue: closing a trust gap. Many have very legitimate fears about the power of big data, especially biased data, to shape our lives. For all its benefits—whether positive (supporting vaccine research) or relatively benign (shaping the comedies we watch on Netflix)—plenty of people are deeply skeptical. They don’t want firms or governments using their data to manipulate them.

Bestavros argues that data science is and will be a force for good, and he says opening up the field to more diverse groups of people will only enhance its potential for positive change. He draws lessons from the early days of nuclear energy and the internet: many of those behind the world-shaping breakthroughs only thought about their potential for good, not for harm. It’s a mistake he wants to learn from—and teach to those entering the hot data science job market.

“There are a lot of things that happen that make our life much better because of data science,” he says. “But there are better ways to do data science than others. It’s almost like you are training future doctors—it goes beyond just what works for mice and rats. This is about the human in the loop. We are now introducing technology that is changing how we interact with each other.”

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Eu Takes A Stand With Ai Rules

In a revolutionary move, the European Union (EU) has successfully passed The Artificial Intelligence Act, a draft law that seeks to regulate the use of artificial intelligence (AI). This significant development marks a crucial step in establishing guidelines for AI governance and may serve as a global model for policymakers. Let’s delve into the details of this landmark legislation that aims to balance reaping AI’s benefits and safeguarding against potential risks.

Also Read: Microsoft Takes the Lead: Urgent Call for AI Rules to Safeguard Our Future

The Artificial Intelligence Act: Establishing Regulatory Boundaries

The EU’s recently passed draft law sets forth a comprehensive framework to govern the utilization of AI. As one of the first regulatory initiatives of its kind, this act is poised to shape the future of AI deployment. By recognizing the potential societal benefits of AI while acknowledging its inherent risks, the EU is taking a proactive stance in ensuring responsible AI development.

Also Read: UK Takes the Lead: Hosting the First Global Summit on Artificial Intelligence

Striving for Balance: Objectives of The AI Act

The proposal emphasizes the EU’s commitment to achieving a balanced approach to AI regulation. The suggested framework aims to address four primary objectives:

Ensuring the safety and compliance of AI systems with existing laws on fundamental rights and Union values.

Providing legal certainty to foster investment and innovation in AI.

Strengthening governance and enforcing laws related to fundamental rights and safety requirements applicable to AI systems.

Promoting the development of a unified market for lawful, safe, and trustworthy AI applications while preventing market fragmentation.

Also Read: OpenAI and DeepMind Collaborate with UK Government to Advance AI Safety and Research

Categorizing AI Applications: Assessing Risk

To effectively manage AI risks, the proposed act categorizes AI applications based on their potential risk levels. Unacceptable risks will be strictly prohibited, including violations of fundamental rights, manipulative techniques, and social scoring. High-risk applications, such as resume-scanning tools prone to bias, will face mandatory requirements and undergo thorough conformity assessments. On the other hand, applications posing low or minimal risks will continue to be permitted without limitations. The bill’s annexes provide additional clarity on the intended applications for each risk category.

Also Read: Google Rolls Out SAIF Framework to Make AI Models Safer

Global Context: AI Governance Around the World

The EU’s decisive action comes amidst a global conversation surrounding regulating AI technologies. China recently passed similar legislation, reflecting the growing recognition of the need for comprehensive AI governance. On a similar front, Italy decided to ban the AI chatbot ChatGPT, while Canada, opened an investigation into the use of the chatbot. Additionally, G-7 world leaders collectively acknowledge the urgency of establishing international standards to effectively regulate AI technology.

Also Read: China’s Proposed AI Regulations Shake the Industry

Our Say

With the passage of The Artificial Intelligence Act, the EU has taken a significant stride toward responsible AI governance. By categorizing AI applications based on risk and establishing clear guidelines, the EU aims to ensure AI systems’ safe, ethical, and beneficial deployment. This groundbreaking legislation sets the stage for other governing bodies worldwide to develop comprehensive AI regulations, ultimately shaping a future where AI thrives in harmony with societal values and fundamental rights.

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