By Cristal Mojica

The Michelson 20MM Foundation, in collaboration with SoCal Grantmakers, moderated an insightful artificial intelligence (AI)-focused policy panel titled “Understanding and Leveraging Artificial Intelligence to Create an Equitable Technological Ecosystem” at this year’s SCG Policy Conference. The session brought together a diverse community of experts from the Kapor Foundation, Goldhirsch Foundation, and TechEquity Collaborative to explore the integration of community insights in AI development. 

The panel emphasized the pivotal role of philanthropy in nurturing an equitable AI landscape. It also highlighted the importance of keeping community voices centered as we address the challenges, opportunities, and risks of AI. Panelists encouraged philanthropists to support research and reporting, policy advocacy, and capacity-building in communities, as well as calling for transparency and accountability from industry in the development of AI. 

The discussion not only encouraged philanthropy professionals to engage in the broader AI and digital equity conversation, but also it emphasized the human challenge as much as it is a technology one. The panelists concluded the discussion by calling for philanthropic efforts to approach AI funding through the lens of ensuring communities will be meaningfully engaged in the development of AI—that they are both educated on and equipped to protect their civil rights in the digital world.

Michelson 20MM is a private, nonprofit foundation working toward equity for underserved and historically underrepresented communities by expanding access to educational and employment opportunities, increasing affordability of educational programs, and ensuring the necessary supports are in place for individuals to thrive. To do so, we work in the following verticals: Digital Equity, Intellectual Property, Smart Justice, Student Basic Needs, and Open Educational Resources (OER). Co-chaired and funded by Alya and Gary Michelson, Michelson 20MM is part of the Michelson Philanthropies network of foundations.

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