How AI Can Positively Influence Diversity and Inclusion

March 5, 2019

How AI Can Positively Influence Diversity and Inclusion

Last month news broke that an AI-powered facial recognition technology used by law enforcement was actually biased against, well, pretty much everyone other than white men. This news hit the public like a slap in the face, but it’s something I’ve been seeing behind the scenes for some time now. Artificial intelligence as a technology isn’t good or bad – it just is.

AI, at its core, is like a toddler. Over time it learns and can improve its capabilities, but it isn’t smart enough to know the context and impact of its decisions in most cases. If we use it properly and with care, we can improve outcomes (including those related to D&I). If we use it carelessly, we can hamper our efforts and limit success both for our people and for our organizations more broadly.

In my book, “Artificial Intelligence for HR,” I talk about how employers can leverage AI technology to hire, develop, and engage their people, helping them to achieve the best results. Today we’ll explore some of the insights from my research to make this conversation more concrete and actionable.

Negative Effects of AI

When you think about the negative impacts of artificial intelligence, your mind inevitably goes to something you’ve probably seen in a science fiction movie. Robots. Killer AI It’s a cliché, really, but the AI that I’m talking about today is less overt in nature.

Artificial intelligence algorithms are now being used for everything from child welfare to recidivism rates. If incorrect data are used, or if the algorithm has an underlying bias, then the results could be disastrous for those on the receiving end of the decision.

Within the workplace, AI can cause flaws in recruiting decisions, causing employers to avoid hiring qualified women and minorities. Amazon was courageous enough to come out last fall and share its own challenges with this process. Though some have disparaged the company for its results, I believe sharing the cautionary tale is a laudable act on the company’s part if it helps other firms realize the challenges that may exist.

Positive Effects of AI

At the same time, the positive opportunities presented by AI simply can’t be ignored…. Continue reading and listen to the interview on the WorkHuman site.