Global AI Community Honors the Brave Women of Iran

Davar Ardalan
6 min readOct 22, 2022

Leaders in voice AI, machine learning, natural language processing, ethics and data science release a statement. See how you can help improve AI tools.

Source: Photographer Unknown: Shared via Twitter Iranian schoolgirls singing Bella Ciao in their classroom

Global AI Community Statement: Women, Life, Freedom

“Throughout the streets of Iran, courageous voices are declaring “woman, life, freedom” while facing brutal and often deadly attacks. As the global AI community, we stand in support of the Iranian people, many of whom are women and young school girls, demanding their rights against a wave of suppression. In this spirit, we the undersigned, take a stance in amplifying the fearless voices of Iran as they chant: Women, Life, Freedom. We hear you and we are inspired by your courage.”

Signed:

Iran Davar Ardalan, Voice AI entrepreneur, journalist

Carrie Jaquith, Digital Product Manager, Educator, Senior Advisor

Nikki McLay, Creative Director and Ambassador of Women in Voice AUS/NZ

Amir Imani, Senior Data Scientist

Awalin Nabila Sopan, AI Practitioner, Senior Advisor

Jeanne Lim, Co-Founder and CEO, beingAI

Susanna Raj, CEO and Founder of AI4Nomads, PBC

Jessica Davis, Director of Government Programs, Microsoft

Bhuva Subram, Global Ethics & Culture Officer, Women in AI

Maddy Apple, CEO, Women in Voice (Global)

Erica Lee, VP of ML, Upwork & Founder, WomenOfAI.org

As AI leaders and practitioners, we need to build out our tech to be trustworthy and reliable. There is no more urgent time to do this for English to Persian and Persian to English language applications. Technology can accelerate connecting people together, however the current mainstream voice AI, translation and text to speech tools need to be improved.

Here’s how the AI Community can help:

  1. Improve English to Persian translation applications: When translating the above global AI statement from English to Persian via Google Translate, we noticed that there is room for improvement. Can we work on this?

Global AI Community Statement Persian translation via Google Translate

بیانیه جهانی جامعه هوش مصنوعی: زنان، زندگی، آزادی

در سرتاسر خیابان های ایران، صداهای شجاعی در حالی که با حملات وحشیانه و اغلب مرگبار مواجه می شوند، اعلام می کنند «زن، زندگی، آزادی». به عنوان جامعه جهانی هوش مصنوعی، ما در حمایت از مردم ایران، که بسیاری از آنها زنان و دختران مدرسه‌ای هستند، می‌ایستیم و خواهان حقوق خود در برابر موجی از سرکوب هستند. با این روحیه، ما امضا کنندگان زیر، در تقویت صداهای بی باک ایران که شعار می دهند: زنان، زندگی، آزادی، موضع می گیریم. ما شما را می شنویم و از شجاعت شما الهام می گیریم.

Global AI Community Statement Persian translation modified after Google Translate

بیانیه جهانی جامعه هوش مصنوعی: زنان، زندگی، آزادی

در سرتاسر خیابان های ایران، فریادهای دلیرانه اعلام می کنند «زن، زندگی، آزادی». در حالی که با حملات وحشیانه و اغلب مرگبار مواجه می شوند.

از جانبجامعه جهانی هوش مصنوعی، ما از مردم ایران، که اغلب آنها زنان و دختران مدرسه‌ای هستند و در برابر موجی از سرکوب، خواهان حقوق خود هستند، حمایت می کنیم.

ما امضا کنندگان زیر، درراستای تقویت صداهای بی باک ایرانیان که شعارِ،« زن، زندگی، آزادی» سرمی دهند، موضع می گیریم. ما صدای شما را می شنویم و از شجاعت شما الهام می گیریم.

Also, when it comes to Persian translations, Google does not have a Listen button. Let’s please add this Google.

Google Translate allows for you to listen to the French pronunciation of bonjour.
Google Translate does not allow for you to listen to the Persian pronunciation of salam.

2. Trustworthy Text-to-Speech Applications: Research trustworthy and reliable English to Persian and Persian to English text-to-speech applications, test them and share the list widely. Discuss the ethical implications. Listen below to a female text-to speech application in the voice of an Iranian woman. Her message is clear. She needs your help.

Message from the vantage point of Persian voice AI using a text-to-speech application.

Currently many of the mainstream applications for synthesizing speech from text don’t include Persian or Farsi.

Amazon Polly could be updated to include English to Persian speech from text.

3. Cultural Stories for Voice AI: Voice AI can be used for the preservation and dissemination of knowledge. See draft sample stories a chatbot or voice AI can share about Iranian women and the history of the women’s movement in Iran.

Who was Mahsa Amini?

Voice AI response: Mahsa Amini was a 22-year old Iranian Kurdish woman with dreams of becoming a doctor. On September 16, 2022, she died in police custody in Tehran, Iran. Her death led to a wave of protests across Iran. Would you like me to share more articles about her? I can also tell you about the lioness poet of Iran, her name was Simin.

Yes, I want to know more about Simin.

Voice AI response: Simin Behbahani was known as the lioness of Iran. She was one of the most outspoken women and poets of the past century. Her words were piercing and fierce, lamenting on the lack of freedom of expression through the ages. Listen to her here on YouTube, speaking to NPR in June 2009.

4. Sign this Global AI Statement honoring Iranian women. If you are a Voice AI, data science, NLP practitioner and would like to be part of an AI media project let us know in the comments. We are examining some of these tools and reporting on how to make them better. #Zan4AI #WomeninVoice #WomeninTech #AI

5. Improve AI Generator Content: The concluding paragraph for this blog post, was impressively generated by an AI using Jasper.ai:

The global AI community stands in support of the Iranian people who are facing brutal and often deadly attacks. We can help improve AI translation language models for English to Persian so that more people can understand what is happening and stand in solidarity with the Iranian women who are courageously declaring “woman, life, freedom”. (generated via Jasper.ai)

However, when asked to generate a paragraph using this prompt:

Mahsa Amini and Iranian women’s voices in the streets across Iran

The two paragraphs generated by Jasper AI, introduce the late Mahsa Amini, who was killed while in police custody in Tehran, incorrectly, as either a student from the University of Tehran or a journalist and writer.

Jasper.AI paragraph generator 1:

Jasper.AI’s first paragraph generator incorrectly identifies Mahsa Amini as a student from Tehran University.

Jasper.AI paragraph generator #2

Jasper AI’s second paragraph generator incorrectly identifies Mahsa Amini as a writer and journalist

As the Jasper.ai team further develops, they should improve their AI models and make sure they accurately describe who Mahsa Amini is in various prompts. Mahsa Amini was a 22-year old Iranian Kurdish woman with dreams of becoming a doctor. On September 16, 2022, she died in police custody in Tehran, Iran. She was arrested a few days earlier for “improperly” wearing her veil or hijab. Her death led to a wave of protests across Iran.

Jasper.AI could be a powerful and trusted tool to generate creative content about Iranian women and their long struggle for freedom of expression. The question is, who is up for informing and improving AI models?

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Davar Ardalan

Founder TulipAI. National Geographic, NPR News, SecondMuse, White House PIF Alum.