Zone Book Club: Girl Decoded

In association with Penguin Business and Campaign, Zone was delighted to host a virtual Book Club with Rana el Kaliouby Ph.D., author of Girl Decoded, where she discussed her latest book and vision for how technology and empathy should work in parallel.

Rana el Kaliouy

Girl Decoded is the unforgettable story of an Egyptian-American technology pioneer with a dream to equip computers with the ability to sense and process human emotion. The first Egyptian to ever be accepted onto her program, a Ph.D. in computer science from Cambridge University, her memoir brings together her personal story as a Muslim woman in a coding universe dominated by men, with her pioneering efforts to bring the new universe of Emotion AI into our lives.

In the session, Rana talks about the applications of Emotion AI; her life and career as a female leader in tech; being a Muslim Egyptian person in the US in the wake of travel bans and increasing hostility, balancing her faith, family and work; and the future of communicative technology.

Girl Decoded picks up on some big themes that we have been exploring through Zone’s Book Club as well as key topics that are close to our business.

Firstly, despite driving conversations about gender diversity in tech, women are still hugely under-represented and only make up 16% which has been the same for the last 10 years.

That’s part of the reason why we developed our ‘Women in Digital’ series of events; a programme that actively promotes roles in digital technology and drives awareness of careers for women in the industry.

But we all need to do more and be more visible. At Zone, we’re proud to support programmes that drive the broader diversity and inclusion agenda in technology, not just around gender, but ethnicity, sexual orientation, and neurodiversity too. Aspirational leaders like Rana are vitally important in the industry to keep driving this message forward.

About Rana el Ka

Rana el Kaliouby, Ph.D., is a pioneer in artificial emotional intelligence (Emotion AI), as well as the co-founder and CEO of Affectiva, the acclaimed AI startup spun off from the MIT Media Lab. She grew up in Cairo, Egypt, among a family of educators. Her company now works with more than a quarter of the companies in the Fortune Global 500. An acclaimed TED speaker, Rana was named by Forbes to their list of America’s Top 50 Women in Tech, and Fortune included her in their list of 40 Under 40.

The event was facilitated by Suzanne Bidlake, commercial editor at Campaign.