In search of diversity, a tech conference invents… fake speakers


By Chloe Woitier

Published ,
Update

The organizers of the DevTernity online conference have decided to urgently cancel the event, originally scheduled for December 7 and 8. Who is Danny – stock.adobe.com

The organizers decided on Tuesday to quickly cancel the event, originally scheduled for December 7 and 8.

The 2023 edition of the DevTernity online conference, which is aimed at software developers, will ultimately not take place. The organizers decided on Tuesday to suddenly cancel the event, originally scheduled for December 7 and 8, after a controversy which led the majority of speakers to cancel. “Imagine a tech conference that attracts some of the most prestigious speakers, as well as three female speakers. Imagine my surprise when I realized that two of these women do not exist…” It is with these words that Gergely Orosz, author of a specialized newsletter, raised a hare on Friday. The DevTernity program also listed a certain “Anna Boyko”, employed at Coinbase. But this person does not exist, and his photo was generated by artificial intelligence. Gergely Orosz noted that the organizer, Eduards Sizovs, had used this technique several times for different fairs. A certain “Julia Kirsina”, developer at Uber, was supposed to participate in conferences in 2021, 2022 and 2023, but always canceled at the last moment. This profile is also a pure invention.«Many prestigious tech speakers refuse to speak at events where only men are invited to speak“, explains Orosz. Inventing the presence of women “was an easy way to handle this problem“.

Organizer Eduards Sizovs explained on Saturday that he had to deal with a bug on the conference website and denounced a“public lynching”without convincing.



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