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How AI can improve diversity and inclusion

12th May 2021
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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is often touted as a solution for almost every problem facing modern executives, but can it help with diversity? This is an area of business and ethics that is littered with failed diversity projects - the IT industry itself has often been criticised for being too male, so what is the challenge and how can technology itself provide one part of the answer?

If you search online for information on AI and diversity, then you will usually be presented with the challenges AI researchers face. This is often summarised as ‘bias in, bias out.’ So, if you are using Machine Learning to analyse and learn from a situation then the AI will become as biased as the humans that train it.

The Microsoft Tay chatbot is a good example. Microsoft released Tay onto Twitter in 2016 in an experiment that was designed to demonstrate how advanced their chatbots were. This is five years ago, but it was a very high-profile demonstration of how AI can go wrong. The general public were encouraged to talk to Tay so she would learn about the world directly from real people, but a significant group of people shared racist or offensive statements, leading to the bot learning and using these phrases in her own speech.

A more positive example is the language tuition system Duolingo. This app tracks your progress and learns where you need more practice and help so lessons can be designed by AI in real-time. In this case the system is intelligent enough to learn which lessons are going to be more useful for the language pupil.

This is the approach that TTEC has taken with several industry partners. We developed the technology for the Humanify® DEI+ BOT and NXT Generation Training, an emerging leader in sustainable and scalable diversity training solutions, trained it. We believe this bot can be used to help drive a deeper understanding and comfort level with what have often been taboo topics in the workplace.

In the media release announcing the bot, Alistair Niederer, Head of EMEA at TTEC said; “This latest innovative AI-enabled solution is a game changer for workplace learning and will allow us to focus on diversity and inclusion education to retain and develop the brightest and best talent to create a culture of excellence.”

Many organisations recognise the need for improved diversity and inclusion. Advisory companies like the Boston Consulting Group have even estimated the impact of greater diversity on company revenue - 19% higher in their research. This is of particular importance to tech, startups, and industries where innovation is a driver of growth, because diversity directly improves innovation - immediately.

But so many companies launch workshops and courses on diversity, and issues such as unconscious bias, without any ability to measure the real impact of their efforts. With this powerful new tool, TTEC is advancing its market position as a leader in diversity. With this technology, organisations can accelerate their diversity goals and create meaningful change.

There are many sensitive issues raised during diversity training. Many employees feel uncomfortable being asked to answer questions on topics such as racism in a group training situation. Many dislike the role plays and traditional training methods specifically because of the subject matter. Engaging in difficult conversations with an AI, rather than their peers, can be a much more powerful way of helping people to learn more about diversity and inclusion.

This is important because you can teach the principles by asking everyone on your team to read a book or training guide, but that may not inspire them or change their behaviour. The interactive content created for this bot allows trainers and HR professionals the ability to really immerse people into some complex situations with complete psychological support.

The Humanify DEI+ BOT offers 24 digital modules, across 5 courses, for organisations seeking interactive content directly aligned to behaviours that result in successful diversity-related conversations.

Learn more and see how the Humanify DEI+ BOT can help your organisation’s employees and customers.


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