IVOW AI Co-Founder, Juanisa McCoy, shares her journey from art to AI

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Juanisa “Nisa’’ McCoy at the AI for Good Summit in Geneva in May 2019

On the occasion of Women’s History Month, we honor Nisa McCoy, our co-founder and head of product. Nisa believes that design can bridge the gap between cultures and that diverse data input methods will lead to a more humanistic engagement with AI. She has built end-to-end interactions for NASA, Oracle, ViaSat, and Cox Communications.

  1. Tell us about yourself. Where were you born and where do you live now?

I was born in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia but I have lived in a lot of places in…


5 Ways We Nurtured Cultural Context in AI in 2020!

The challenges in 2020 made our work at IVOW even more critical.

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Our core startup team at IVOW — Intelligent Voices of Wisdom (R-L) Nisa McCoy, Robert Malesky, Kee Malesky, Nikki McLay, Nagaraj Amarnath, Karim Ardalan, Davar Ardalan, Ali Khosh.

Happy Holidays from all of us at IVOW! Despite its roadblocks, 2020 was a year of accomplishments as we helped our partners cultivate new data ecologies with a focus on culture. Our aim is to fill the gap of online content for underrepresented groups and cultures –both in availability and bias.

This year has allowed us to grow our relationships in the industry and we are thankful for the contributions of our collaborators and supporters — especially Women in AI, KiwiTech, WeWork Labs, IBM Netherlands, Microsoft, Topcoder, XPrize…


IVOW co-Founder sees silver lining in quarantine: Time for self directed learning

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IVOW co-Founder Nikki McLay draws inspiration for her AI work from her home in New Zealand

The mountain village in New Zealand where Nikki McLay lives and works on artificial intelligence (AI) is called Te Aroha, the literal translation in English is ‘The Place of Love’.

Nikki spent her formative years north of Auckland in a small beach house on the shore of the Mahurangi Peninsula. As co-Founder of IVOW and Women in Voice ANZ, she’s responsible for AI partnerships and has helped lead global innovation projects in collaboration with Topcoder, Microsoft, Soul Machines and AI for Good.

IVOW, which stands for Intelligent Voices…


Renowned Iranian-American Scholar, Laleh Bakhtiar, lauded for Islamic spirituality and Quranic critical thinking, dies at 82.

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Laleh Bakhtiar, an Islamic and Sufi scholar and the first American Muslim woman to translate the Quran, passed away peacefully on Sunday October 18, 2020 in Chicago, from Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), a rare blood disorder. She was 82.

Our Mom lived a rich and fulfilling life as a scholar, a mother, a grandmother, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a mentor, an activist and a global citizen. She has been our greatest champion and guardian angel. May she rest in power.

— Her children…


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Ten AI-driven women-led startups are set to get a big tech boost next weekend as part of WaiDATATHON, the first datathon ever hosted in VR! The two day virtual event is designed to connect women entrepreneurs with global data, AI and software engineers who will build prototypes for each startup.

WaiDATATHON for Sustainable Future is orchestrated by two Women in AI members and Machine Learning/Computer Vision engineers from Autonomous Driving R&D at TomTom, Sindi Shkodrani and Vedika Agarwal.


by Davar Ardalan, Founder of IVOW (Intelligent Voices of Wisdom)

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Featured speakers, panelists, and conversational AI’s joining the virtual Women in AI Summit on Sept 8th

On September 8, the 2020 Women in AI Summit, “Bringing All Minds Together,” will present a series of free, virtual webinars on artificial intelligence, covering each hour of the day. The global event, featuring several AIs, kicks off in Australia and Asia, then moves on to Africa, through Europe to the Americas.

Some 3,000+ attendees and more than 100 speakers from 40 countries who are passionate about the potential for women to lead the way toward a more equitable and diverse ecology of artificial intelligence are expected to participate in…


What is Cultural AI? How can an enhanced comprehension through the lens of culture and artificial intelligence allow marketers to fully optimize promotional spend and tailor marketing messages for better ROI?

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On July 22, panelists from across industries joined to talk about the need for Cultural AI

As marketing becomes more hyper-personalized, enterprises stand to benefit from advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) that enable them to better understand their audiences, and drastically improve and customize multi-channel consumer messaging for diverse consumer audiences.

These we some of the topics discussed on July 22 as part of Cultural AI and Brands with moderators Davar Ardalan of IVOW AI and Swathi Young of Integrity Management Systems. …


The lack of culturally reliable machine-ready datasets will prohibit us from creating AI products and services that are relevant to more than the status quo.

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Storytellers and software engineers at IVOW developing the cultural storyteller Sina

by Davar Ardalan and Kee Malesky

As a tech company, designing the cultural storytelling bot, Sina, we wanted to better understand the data landscape before training our AI. In early July, together with Topcoder, we launched the Women in History Data Ideation Challenge. The results confirm some of our assumptions and fears: We can’t build a robust and culturally rich chatbot without better datasets and machine-ready content.

The goal of our ideation challenge was to…


IVOW teams up with Women in AI for Virtual Series on Cultural Intelligence

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Our virtual series begins June 10 and is co-produced with IVOW and Women in AI’s Swathi Young, CTO of Integrity Management Services, Inc.

How can businesses and governments create AI products and solutions that are relevant to their citizens — if current AI algorithms and datasets are limited in understanding cultural context?

In a series of virtual events focusing on Cultural AI, we’ll be exploring how the digital transformation of AI-ready datasets can help businesses and governments form more authentic engagements.

“Every brand or company has to tell a unique story about themselves and why consumers should buy their product,” says Moojan Asghari, co-Founder of Women in AI. “The best…

Davar Ardalan

IVOW Founder and Storyteller in Chief

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