#WhoWeAre Wednesday: Meet Katie Williamson

For today’s #WhoWeAreWednesday we feature an interview with Katie Williamson. Katie is a contributing member of our media and technology team. Katie is a former senior associate consultant at Bain & Company. She is a master’s student at the MBAi program at Northwestern University and an intern at Ahura AI. Ahura AI seeks to use artificial intelligence to optimize how students and workers learn and acquire new skills.

How would you describe your experience with AI?

I’m currently pursuing a master’s degree in the MBAi program at the Kellogg School of Management and McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University, which is an MBA focused on working in artificial intelligence. As I explored MBA programs, I wanted to find one that was more technical in nature, but I was particularly attracted to the MBAi program as an opportunity to explore questions of ethics in AI and how society will grapple with the impacts, both positive and negative, that the technology will have on us.

How would you describe your faith background?

I grew up as a Christian in the Methodist church. My faith became more important to me in college as I tried to define myself as an individual adult and understand what God’s plan for me was and is.

What led to your interest in the intersection of AI and faith?

I was excited to explore a business-oriented approach to AI ethics in my master’s program, and I have come to realize that faith was missing from the conversation delineating right and wrong. Since faith is foundational to how people of all religions navigate ethical dilemmas, I wanted to explore how those traditions could guide us as we try to understand the impact of these technologies. While much of the discourse around AI ethics today revolves around algorithmic bias and privacy (which are very important discussions), I think faith will become particularly important as society considers artificial general intelligence and the need to define what it means to be sentient.

Why are you involved with AI&F?

I learned about AI&F through a simple Google search. I was curious whether anyone was thinking about AI ethics from a faith perspective. After reaching out and chatting with David Brenner, I loved the passion of the organization and wanted to get involved in the conversation however I could.

How does AI&F affect your work outside the organization?

AI&F has given me resources to study and share in conversations about AI ethics within and outside the classroom. As I return to work as a management consultant, AI&F will continue to be a community that helps me think about the long-term impact of the technologies I am using and companies I am working with, and how that impact relates to the values I hold because of my faith.

What open problems in AI are you most interested in?

I am interested in how AI impacts how individuals interact with each other in relationships. As we interact with recommendation engines in more aspects of our life, I am curious to see how those technologies impact what we consider objective “capital-t” Truth.

Acknowledgements

A big thanks to Katie Williamson for his time to carry out this interview. Thanks to Emily Wenger for proofreading, editing, and publishing this work.

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