Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Dr. Joy Buolamwini

Honoree, 2020

Joy e1580937112255.jpeg

Focus Areas

STEM & Innovation
Dr. Joy Buolamwini is the founder of the Algorithmic Justice League. She is a groundbreaking MIT researcher, model, and artist. She is the author of Unmasking AI: My Mission to Protect What Is Human in a World of Machines and advises world leaders on preventing AI harms. Her research on facial recognition technologies transformed the field of AI auditing. Her TED Talk on algorithmic bias has been viewed more than 1.6 million times. She lends her expertise to congressional hearings and government agencies seeking to enact equitable and accountable AI policy. As the Poet of Code, she creates art to illuminate the impact of AI on society. Her writing has been featured in publications including TIME Magazine, The New York TimesHarvard Business Review, and The Atlantic. Her work as a spokesmodel has been featured in Vogue, AllureHarper’s Bazaar, and People Magazine.

Currentlyshe is a spokesperson for Olay and has previously partnered with Levi’s and Apple. She is the protagonist of the Emmy-nominated documentary Coded Bias, available to more than 100 million viewers. Dr. Joy is the first Black researcher to grace the cover of Fast Company, appearing in the 2020 “Most Creative People” issue and has been named to notable lists, including Forbes “30 under 30”, The Bloomberg 50, TIME “Next 100,” and MIT Technology Review “35 under 25”. She is the recipient of several notable awards, including the Rhodes Scholarship, the Fulbright Fellowship, the inaugural Morals and Machines Prize, and the Technological Innovation Award from the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, and most recently the DVF Leadership Award for her work with artificial intelligence. She was selected as a 2022 Young Global Leader, the world’s most promising leaders under the age of 40 as determined by The World Economic Forum. Fortune Magazine named her the “conscience of the AI revolution.” Dr. Joy earned her Ph.D. from MIT and was awarded an honorary degree from Knox College.

“I’m on a mission to stop an unseen force that’ s rising – a force that I call ‘the coded gaze,’ my term for algorithmic bias,” said Joy. “Algorithmic bias, like human bias, results in unfairness. However, algorithms, like viruses, can spread bias on a massive scale, at a rapid pace.”

In her free time, she enjoys drawing and drumming. Before becoming an AI researcher at MIT, she was a track and field athlete who competed in pole vaulting.

Joy was selected as a 2020 Global Leadership Awards Honoree.