Jade Abbott has worked as a software engineer and data scientist in every field, from fintech and non-governmental organisations to start-ups across the continent. In 2019, Abbott cofounded Masakhane, a grassroots organisation that aims to strengthen natural language processing research in African languages – for Africans, by Africans. Abbott is also a machine learning lead at software solutions company Retro Rabbit, where she is responsible for deploying machine learning systems to perform a variety of tasks for real life systems. On her aspirations, Abbot says: “I want to enable African participation to shape and own 4IR technological advances, and move us towards human dignity, wellbeing and equity.” As much as she works with technology, she has found understanding and collaborating with people far more exciting and impactful. “We are only as strong as our community, and we should maintain those relationships and reach out to them when in need.”
I’ve always been so deep into programming that I thought I’d be inventing new algorithms forever, but I’ve found understanding and collaborating with people far more exciting and impactful.