Prior to joining multinational technology company Google, Tulsee Doshi couldn’t necessarily have predicted just how well her interdisciplinary undergraduate degree—which combined elements of computer science, psychology, philosophy, and linguistics—would pay off.
“It’s interesting to look back on it because one of the things I did as part of that degree was take a one-quarter study abroad at Oxford, where I studied the philosophy and ethics of artificial intelligence,” Doshi says.
What seemed like an enriching educational opportunity at the time now stands out to her as an early stepping stone toward her current role as head of product for responsible artificial intelligence (AI) and human-centered technology at Google. Here, she shares the rest of her journey—and her top advice for women looking to follow in her footsteps in the tech space.
After graduating from Stanford with a BS in symbolic systems and an MS in computer science, Doshi joined Google as an associate product manager. She got her first taste of AI ethics in a product context while working on YouTube and quickly realized that she wanted to invest more time in the space. By 2018, she had an idea for how to make that happen.
“I pitched to the leadership of our research organization that we should have a product manager supporting and driving strategy around how we actually take and translate their work into practice,” Doshi explains.
Over the past four years, Doshi has seen the responsible AI team evolve from a handful of research scientists and engineers to an organization that spans the company. “It’s been really exciting to see it grow from something so small into a full-fledged, cross-company mission,” she says.
Doshi cites the recent announcement of Google’s new skin tone scale, which seeks to reflect a greater diversity of skin tones, as an example of the company’s commitment to creating fairer products. However, she also notes the challenges around trying to overcome conscious and unconscious biases.
“We all have different lived experiences and perspectives that affect the way we think about responsible AI and about what it means to be inclusive, safe, and accountable,” she explains.
The complexity of the work itself isn’t the only obstacle Doshi has had to overcome. “As a woman in tech, as a young woman in tech, as a young woman of color in tech—I face not only my own imposter syndrome but also [challenges in] the way that others view me and view my experience and expertise,” she elaborates.
Doshi has found support in her mentors, and she urges her fellow women in tech to find and cultivate relationships with champions of their own. Beyond that, she encourages her peers to believe in the power of what they bring to the table.
“It’s important to know that your voice does have value,” Doshi says. “Being willing to share your perspective can go a long way, and for me personally, it created a whole new role and a whole new set of opportunities in responsible AI that I’m still getting to live out today.”