Meet This Year’s WIRED25: People Who Are Making Things Better

In 2016, Gebru was shocked to count only “about five Black people” out of an estimated 5,500 attendees at an AI conference. The following year, she helped organize Black in AI’s first annual workshop to bring more diversity to the field. Her research has spotlighted racist algorithms and the ethical quandaries of data-mining projects and AI, arguing in a January 2020 paper that current methods of data collection and annotation for machine learning are rife with biases capable of causing real-world harm.

Gebru’s Hobbies:

  • Piano
  • Staring into space at cafés

Recommended TV shows:

Avi Schiffmann


Just 17 years old, Schiffmann thought the government’s coronavirus tracking sites “sucked.” So he made his own. He has now attracted some 1.7 billion unique visitors and rejected millions of dollars in ads to keep his site bias- and distraction-­free.

He’d like to meet: Bill Gates, Tim Berners-Lee

His other project: 2020protests, a tracking site for BLM protests

Recommended book: Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—and Why Things
Are Better Than You Think
, Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund, and Ola Rosling

Eric Yuan and Sarah Friar

CEO, Zoom; CEO, NextDoor

By last April, well into the pandemic, Zoom’s user base had climbed to more than 300 million daily users, and Yuan shifted his platform from servicing boardroom meetings to hosting quarantined book clubs, birthday parties, happy hours, weddings, graduations, and more. Then the “Zoombombing” began, pushing Yuan to mandate meeting passcodes and offer free end-to-end encryption for all users.

Internet explorer: Yuan was inspired to pursue a career in tech after seeing Bill Gates give a speech in Japan in 1995.

Friar, meanwhile, saw Nextdoor’s daily users soar 80 percent from February to March, as the pandemic shrank people’s daily lives to a few neighborhood blocks. She has now fine-tuned the site to combat misinformation, amplify local Samaritans, and promote small businesses and nonprofits.

Friar’s recommended books:

Vijaya Gadde

Legal, policy, and trust and safety lead, Twitter

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