Diversity Leaders Want A.I. with Both Ethics and Results. Findings Point How to Get There.

Research highlights Chief Diversity Officers’ practical views about Artificial Intelligence applications. Real-world impact demands a high standard.

Recent research has now defined how the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) is growing both the use and understanding of new strategic tools, particularly Artificial Intelligence (A.I.). And, for the most part, CDOs show the same erratic and slow-build knowledge that affects most non-tech business leaders.

True Blue Inclusion, a leader in diversity management counseling, commissioned and managed the research. More than 130 professionals in top diversity jobs across the US and the world were asked to respond to the on-line questionnaire, in the most substantive and in-depth probing of the CDO community ever.

Catherine Cornelius Smith, CEO of True Blue Inclusion, said, “We were not surprised that CDOs saw Artificial Intelligence bringing – and predicting more – solutions to everyday practices in diversity and inclusion. But we were expecting that there is already a considerable degree of CDO urgency to link what A.I. does with social equity and ethics, and this is heartening. It shows some CDOs are getting it.”

Questions documented how diversity leaders see A.I. affecting their world. “Right now, CDOs see A.I. in risk-mitigation clothing. A.I. seems to be bringing a suite of solutions to practical challenges in diversity and inclusion work. People responded with examples particularly in talent selection, resume’ vetting, metric assuredness and similar solid business activities. On a positive note, some 38% of respondents see new and advancing technology reshaping how diversity and inclusion is executed.”

“The work to do,” continued Smith, “has to do with seeing beyond the daily practical values A.I. openly delivers to forging the strongest link to continued ethical behavior in every aspect of the technology. We endorse ways to codify this in business practice appropriate to each company. For instance, CEO’s have endorsed a ‘ground rules’ approach, according to the Wall Street Journal, that includes incorporating transparency, disclosure, privacy, diverse inputs, bias protection, trust, accountability, collective governance and regulation for A.I. within corporate organizations. CDO responses to the survey would endorse codification as both great assistance and necessary oversight.

“To move further on this road, our Master Class workshops for diversity leaders are addressing these needs in their entirety all through 2019. Getting diversity and inclusion managers to participate in A.E. deliberations is essential.

Note: The True Blue Inclusion research was conducted in November, 2018. More information about the study and its results are available through CEO Catherine Smith at catherine@trueblueinclusion.com

Carlton YearwoodCarlton Yearwood is currently Senior Partner at True Blue Inclusion. He supports senior diversity executives, practitioners and staff in the design, development and deployment of next practice D&I initiatives.